Day by day, we are gaining better maps and tools to navigate the complexities of world around us. The ways that open data is finding its way into the hands of citizens and consumers were described today in a new report from a federal interagency task force on “smart disclosure.”
Smart disclosure, for those unfamiliar, is a term of art for when a private company or government agency provides you with access to your own data in a format that enables you to put the data to use.
When distributed this way, personal data ownership improves market transparency, empowers consumers and drives the nascent open data economy.
According to federal officials, this report from the National Science and Technology Council is the “first comprehensive description of the Federal Government’s efforts to promote the smart disclosure of information that can help consumers make wise decisions in the marketplace.” If you’re interested in the topic, it’s one of the most clearly written government documents I’ve come across lately: give it a read.
As Alex Fitzpatrick pointed out in his post on the ways companies are using government data, however, the report didn’t include the names of specific companies.
Given my research on the open data economy, I think I can fill in a few more of them, looking across sectors. (The administration itself identified Billguard, OPower and iTriage in February, in a post on open government data and jobs.)
In education, check out startups like Better Lesson and SoFi.
In energy, look at WattzOn, PlotWatt, SimpleEnergy and FirstFuel, in addition to OPower.
In consumer finance, evaluate HelloWallet, Brightscope and CalcBench, in addition to Billguard.
In real estate, look to Zillow and Trulia.
The administration’s top IT officials — chief information officer Steven VanRoekel and chief technology officer Todd Park — say that open data is good for America. If its release supports or leads to the creation of more startups that create products and services that improve people’s lives, that assertion will be born out.
If you recognize other startups from the descriptions in Alex’s post, please drop him a comment or a tweet — and if you use open government data in your startup, nonprofit or enterprise, please let us know in the comments.