The Year of Outreach and Accessibility
The last few weeks have been extraordinarily busy at Data.gov, and in the next few weeks – and throughout the year – you will see the results of these efforts.
As Data.gov puts the data to work, we have been deeply mindful of the hard economic times that have engulfed our nation. Free public data offers opportunities for innovation, education, and entrepreneurship, and we are working to make the data as accessible as possible to support Americans now and in the future. For Data.gov, this will be the Year of Outreach and Accessibility.
Last month, we added to our roster of communities with the Data.gov Health Community. This will be a one-stop shop for health data not only across the Federal Government, but from other sources as well. This site targets developers and researchers, and we hope the health-data community uses its blogs and forums to exchange ideas and information that use this data to create value.
This week we launched Law.data.gov, the definitive destination for authoritative legal interpretations, administrative decisions, and agency directives. With 93 newly released datasets and many more on the way, the Law community is helping to bring transparency and insight into government actions.
In the coming months, you’ll find new communities around education, human rights, and other topics, which will drive innovation among American businesses. These communities will highlight data and apps around these subjects, and help to bring more data from within the government to the public.
Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, speaking to the Data.gov agency points of contact about the new communities
In the global economy, bringing data together from across the Federal Government can give us a clearer picture of our foreign trade. Later this year, Data.gov will launch a community focused on United States’ foreign trade products, pulling together not just data but people from across Federal agencies to better understand these products and U.S. participation in international trade. Where do we stand today? Where are we going? How can we do better? Data + Engagement = Knowledge.
At Data.gov, we’re working to support future generations as well. On the education front, we are also developing a K-12 education campaign to bring open government data into classrooms. For America to be competitive in the global economy, our children must be educated in the STEM curriculum: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We’re collaborating with the Society for Science and the Public to integrate open government data activities into the curriculum of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair – which every child and parent knows as the “National Science Fair.” There are so many ways kids can use Data.gov’s data to understand their world and develop their analytical skills, not to mention to create useful applications, visualizations, games and mashups. It’s fun, too!
Kids and families enjoying Data.gov apps at the USA Science and Engineering Festival on the Mall in Washington DC
The Year of Outreach – and Accessibility. The free public data on Data.gov should be available 24/7, wherever you are. In 2011, Data.gov will encourage mobile apps that make free Federal data available on the devices that are increasingly becoming our go-to tools for many aspects of our lives. You’ll find APIs and challenges that will, we expect, provide the inspiration that leads to the perspiration that Thomas Edison said produces genius – heavy on the perspiration (99%, he said).
In 2011, Data.gov will also continue to aid government transparency and accountability. This year, Data.gov’s expanding the open door on the Federal government to extend to Congress. Just as the White House Visitor Logs are now visible to all, so will Data.gov open up the Congressional visitor logs, along with applications that make them easier to see and understand.
We are pleased that in President Obama’s Government Reform Fact Sheet accompanying his State of the Union address, he listed Data.gov as one of the most successful initiatives in increasing public participation in government and making government more accountable to the American people. Free government data is a public resource, just as our natural resources and public airwaves are for the benefit of all, and we’re here to make that resource as accessible to you as possible.
Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia