Israeli-based technology company Apertio has launched a new search engine that the company says overcomes some of the limits currently associated with searching open data portals.
Aperito is using metadata enrichment technology to deal with open data search issues including distributed information as well as the lack of standardized classification. The company has launched its first version of the search engine using US open datasets. It plans to add global open data over time.
Aperito’s Deep Search is in some ways a response to Google Dataset Search, which launched in September. Similar to how Google Scholar works, Dataset Search lets you find datasets wherever they’re hosted, whether it’s a publisher’s site, a digital library, or an author’s personal web page. Google built Dataset Search using the Schema standards and works with any dataset that has also used the Schema standards. However, those standards aren’t yet widely adopted. Google is encouraging open data providers to adopt the Schema standards, but in the interim, there are considerable gaps.
Individuals who use Aperito’s search engine will be able to narrow results by name, location, or keyword without ending up with a whole bunch of irrelevant results. “AI analytics technologies have come a long way, but eventually you’re only as good as your data,” says Assaf Katan, CEO of Apertio. “Open Data, the data published by government authorities at all levels for public use, represents a market opportunity of billions of dollars in strategic planning, cost efficiencies and productivity – if the data can be properly discovered and utilized. Google’s recent launch of its Dataset Search is a step forward but it’s very limited – it relies on the publishers’ classification and does not read the files themselves, merely utilizing their descriptions. Consequently, many of the relevant and valuable datasets cannot be found.”
Visitors to the Aperito page will see popular datasets as well as options for filtering by topic including environment, finance or public safety. Searching and getting results is a bit more intuitive and comprehensive than you’ll find doing general searches for open government data on Google or in libraries, but the lack of a universal open data standard still makes it challenging to really interact with the search results unless you’re pretty data savvy.
Aperito says it has plans for future versions that in addition to having global data, will also have tools for making it easier to interact with open datasets, beyond just basic search.