Open data gets a boost from the president


President Obama has issued a new executive order on open data. In it, the President says that it should be the default position of the government going forward to make data open and machine readable. The Order also includes some specific policy requirements focused on opening current and future government data to the public.

Writing in the order, the President says, “Decades ago, the U.S. Government made both weather data and the Global Positioning System freely available. Since that time, American entrepreneurs and innovators have utilized these resources to create navigation systems, weather newscasts and warning systems, location-based applications, precision farming tools, and much more, improving Americans’ lives in countless ways and leading to economic growth and job creation. In recent years, thousands of Government data resources across fields such as health and medicine, education, energy, public safety, global development, and finance have been posted in machine-readable form for free public use on Entrepreneurs and innovators have continued to develop a vast range of useful new products and businesses using these public information resources, creating good jobs in the process.”

The two policies included in the order give tight timelines for implementing open data once agencies adopt the policy. Once an open data policy is issued, agencies will have 30 days to create an online repository of open data. Agencies are also mandated to provide regular updates to that open data repository.

Other points in the order call for the creation of success metrics to ensure that information is being released and updated. The order follows another open government directive from last year that saw some effort but not much.

Transparency watchdog, the Sunlight Foundation has also authored a lengthy blog post on the evolution of open data policy in the White House and government in the US overall. They, like us, welcome the push for greater access to high value government data.