White House adds project open data


Last week CivSource reported on a new Executive Order from the President establishing federal open data policy for the government agencies. Officials are now adding to that work with Project Open Data. Project Open Data is an open source project on GitHub for users to help make improvements to government open data work. The White House has an official blog post out on it and say they want to create a culture of “continuous improvement.”

According to the blog post, the GitHub project will have plug and play tools that agencies and offices can use to meet the requirements of the new open data policy quickly, and with the help of developers who make changes to the tools there. One of the tools automates database conversion to APIs.

The project has been live on GitHub for over 24 hours and so far a few dozen downloads have been requested by the public. Anyone can create an account and view projects listed on GitHub, they then download the tools, and can alter project code to make improvements. Once those changes are made, they submit their own work to the project.

Adding a government policy announced only one week ago to a repository like GitHub with early stage tools demonstrates a commitment to both timeliness and policy we don’t often see from government. According to the blog post, changes will be reviewed on a regular basis by government officials and added to the newest versions of the tools. Meatier requests with substantial changes will be reviewed as part of periodic “stand ups.” Specific timelines for those were not offered, but frequency will have an impact on the success of the project.

Project Open Data is managed by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).