Open Data Initiatives
Data.gov is the open data site of the United States government. It is a flagship initiative under the President’s Open Government Directive and was launched on May 21, 2009 with 47 datasets and features nearly 200,000 today. Data.gov is a key element of the 2013 Executive Order on Open and Machine-Readable Data and the Open Government Policy.
The Data.gov Catalog includes:
- Nearly 200,000 datasets, approximately 6.8 million data resources (similar dataset resources are grouped into collections for the dataset number)
- Approximately 9000 APIs
- 78 agencies, subagencies of the federal government
- 30 non-federal (state, city, county)
- Powered by CKAN, leading open source open data platform (see ckan.org)
User traffic drives approximately 10 million page views in the last year and 2.7 million sessions.
Key Links for Data.gov include:
Subject Areas include:
- See Data.gov Topics for curated content and datasets, for example Climate
- Developers create applications based on open government data. See recent examples: Farmplenty and Elder Care Finder
- Search for government data on the projects discussed today and many more subjects on Data.gov’s Data Catalog.
To build upon these successes as well as launch new initiatives to help fulfill open data’s potential, the United States will:
2.1 Make it Easier for Individuals to Access Their Own Information
In addition to providing protections for Federal information, including information about individuals, the government has certain obligations to give individuals the ability to review information about themselves that the government has collected. When members of the public seek information about themselves from government agencies, they traditionally submit signed statements to authenticate that they are legitimate requesters.
However, as agencies move toward digitization, new approaches can digitally authenticate individuals requesting information. To improve the public’s ability to request and access information about themselves, an interagency team including the GSA, Office of Management and Budget, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce will work to develop new authentication tools to protect individual privacy and ensure that personal records go only to the intended recipients.
2.2 Support Open311 to Enhance Transparency and Participation
Open311 is a transparent, participatory way for governments to deliver services to citizens. Its name comes from the commonly used 311 phone number that residents can dial in some cities to report non-emergency complaints or request services. Open311 is a shared open platform that can be integrated either online through a city’s website or via a smartphone application. It allows citizens to find government services and report problems in the open, providing a simple and consistent way to contact government and get something fixed. To reduce the burden of navigating the separation between local and Federal government, the USA.gov Contact Center at the GSA will use Open311 to expand avenues for public participation and provide more transparency in government service delivery across both local and Federal governments. More than a dozen cities have already adopted Open311 and additional cities are committing to implement it including San Diego, Philadelphia, and New York City.
2.4 Promote Public Feedback Tools to Facilitate the Release of Open Data.
The U.S. Open Data Policy directs agencies to engage with data users to prioritize release of open government data, and agencies approach this requirement in a variety of ways. The Office of Management and Budget and the GSA will work with Federal agencies to promote consistent, customer-friendly feedback mechanisms on opening new datasets and improving existing datasets.
2.5 Launch and Support the U.S. Data Federation
The U.S. Data Federation will support government-wide data standardization and data federation initiatives across both Federal agencies and local governments. This is intended to be a fundamental coordinating mechanism for a more open and interconnected digital government by profiling and supporting use-cases that demonstrate unified and coherent data architectures across disparate government agencies. These examples will highlight emerging data standards and API initiatives across all levels of government, convey the level of maturity for each effort, and facilitate greater participation by government agencies. Initiatives that may be profiled within the U.S. Data Federation include Open311, DOT’s National Transit Map, the Project Open Data metadata schema, Contact USA, and the Police Data Initiative. As part of the U.S. Data Federation, GSA will also pilot the development of reusable components needed for a successful data federation strategy including schema documentation tools, schema validation tools, and automated data aggregation and normalization capabilities. The U.S. Data Federation will provide more sophisticated and seamless opportunities on the foundation of U.S. open data initiatives by allowing the public to more easily do comparative data analysis across government bodies and create applications that work across multiple government agencies.
2.6 Introduce API and other Enhancements to Analytics.USA.gov
In December 2014, GSA’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP) began working with 18F, USDS, and the White House OSTP to create a dashboard for federal government web traffic.
In March 2015, analytics.usa.gov, the first U.S. Federal Government website to display aggregated web analytics data, was launched. The site offers transparency of the pages and sites visited by the public, as well as the technology used and general location of visits for over 5,000 federal websites across 45 agencies. In addition to visualizations of the information, downloads in .json and .csv formats are available so that the public can use the data. Even the code behind the site itself is open-source, and the team regularly implements new features based on public suggestions.
Since launch, the team has continued to open more datasets and expand the breadth of the site, including adding 25 agency-specific pages and dedicated data download pages. In the future, we will implement an API, so that the public will have even easier access to trend information and insights drawn from the web analytics data.