Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A blueprint for making government data reusable online

US federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, has outlined a blueprint for government data at the 2009 Government Web Managers conference.

As reported in GCN, Kundra advised that,
Government data prepared for public reuse should be offered in multiple-formats, be machine-readable and adhere as closely as possible to lightweight standards
This is likely to be a guiding principle for the upcoming site, which has the express purpose of making US government data available for citizen reuse as a governmentwide repository of data feeds.

This vision goes far beyond merely making a limited set of US government information publicly available in proprietary formats. In Kundra's words, “We need to make sure that all that data that’s not private can be made public”.

Per an earlier GCN article,
By opening vast realms of data that federal agencies are now keeping in-house, Kundra hopes to spark new ways of using that information to better serve citizens and even create new industries.

In principle that would be a fantastic outcome for any government to achieve for its country - but is it realistic?

Kundra has addressed this topic as well,
Kundra cited examples of how the publishing federal government information has already “fundamentally transformed the economy” in certain areas. When the National Institutes of Health published its results from mapping the human genome, the agency “created a revolution in personalized medicine," in which hundreds of new drugs were created. When the Defense Department opened Global Positioning System readings for public use, an entire new industry of geolocational devices was born.

In Australia we're beginning to see governments unlock their vaults of data, with services such as CData from the ABS being one of the most impressive steps.

However in this, as in most other areas of egovernance, there's many challenges to overcome before either the US or Australia can fully realise the potential benefits of allowing the community to innovate with public data from a range of agencies.

No comments:

Post a Comment