The first question most open data advocates hear is, “Why?” Whether you’re trying to make the case within government or coming in from the outside, many, many advocates spend a lot of time justifying open data’s potential instead of playing with its possibilities. OKF compiled a roundup of talking points to help unpack each open data challenge.
Although the data captured on election day will always remain primarily for the use of electing the public’s preferred candidate, an important secondary consideration is aggregating and publishing data that can be used more widely.
A new report from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers finds that open data initiatives are advancing at all levels of government in the United States. States and local governments in particular have partnered with industry to create innovative ways to deliver data to individual, business and government consumers.
The transparency movement is growing across the world. From government to corporate data, and healthcare especially stands to benefit, even as traditions are broken and openness leaves some incumbents perhaps a little uncomfortable.
Open-data advocates, such as President Barack Obama’s former information chief Vivek Kundra, estimate a multibillion-dollar industry can be spawned by taking raw government data files on sectors such as weather, population, energy, housing, commerce or transportation and turn them into products for the public to consume or other industries to pay for. They can be as simple as mobile phone apps identifying every stop sign you will encounter on a trip to a different town, or as intricate as taking weather and crops data and turning it into insurance policies farmers can buy.
Transparency in government, particularly through ensuring that the data it collects and generates are easily accessible to the public in machine readable formats can only be a good thing. A great example of how open data can directly benefit citizens is using it to avoid a potential parking ticket.
Open government does not end with setting up an open data portal, Philippine Government officials learnt during a week-long data skills training session organized by Open Data Philippines, Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) and the World Bank.