Open data in beta: From to to

Writing at the White House blog, deputy US CTO Nick Sinai and Presidential Innovation Fellow Ryan Panchadsaram explain what’s new behind the next iteration of the federal open government data platform.


The first incarnation of and subsequent iterations haven’t excited the imagination of the nation. The next version, which employs open source technology like WordPress and CKAN, uses adaptive Web design and features improved search.

It also, critically, highlights how open data is fueling a new economy. If you read Slate, you already knew about how the future is shaping up, but this will provide more people with a reference. Great “next” step.

If you have opinions, questions or suggestions regarding the newest iteration, the team is looking for feedback and Project Open Data is encouraging people to collaborate in the design process by creating pull requests on Github or commenting on Quora or Twitter.

MacRae on open sourcing as an open government platform

Andrew MacRae, the program manager for strategy and innovation, spoke about
at Developer Day in Washington about how the General Services Agency (GSA) and India government plan to collaborate on open sourcing the United States federal government’s open data platform.

ExpertLabs: The future of open government is citizen-focused

On Monday, the White House asked for ideas on the National Plan for open government in the Open Government Partnership. (For background on the initiative, read this digest on Open Government Partnership analysis for context.) Specifically, the White House asked for feedback on ideas related to two of the key challenges from the OGP: improving public services and increasing public integrity.

  • How can, one of the primary mechanisms for government transparency and public participation, be made more useful to the public rulemaking process?
  • OMB is beginning the process of reviewing and potentially updating its Federal Web Policy. What policy updates should be included in this revision to make Federal websites more user-friendly and pertinent to the needs of the public?
  • How can we build on the success of Data.Gov and encourage the use of democratized data to build new consumer-oriented products and services?

Today, Clay Johnson offered the White House a deep set of recommendations for open government in response to the three questions it posed, including better ways to use open data, social media, improving regulations, public comment, and the developer community better. If you’re interested in open government, it’s a must-read.

We believe the future of open government is citizen focused — to be open to engagement on the terms that citizens are used to in the venues they’re accustomed to.

The growth of social media since the delivery of the initial open government directive, and its adoption by agencies’ communications departments requires the next step: for social media to also be used in giving citizens a voice in regulatory decisions. We believe the future of open government is about discoverability. Moving data or regulations from print publications to the online world results in a net loss if there are less people viewing them. Government should work hard to make sure that all publicly available information is discoverable by search engines, and via social media.

We believe that the future of open government is through the engagement of open source communities, and that agencies should begin to open up to their participation. Government treats lawyers as experts in the field of law, why not treat developers as experts in the field of processing data? Take the next step and participate with them directly, rather than through independent vessels.

– Clay Johnson (@cjoh), Recommendations for Open Government

For more on the decision to use email in the consultation, read Tiago Peixoto’s post on Google Plus. relaunches as a cloud-based open data platform

There’s a new version of going online. For those keeping track, is the open data website that the United States federal government launched two years ago. The most recent iteration integrates the services of Socrata, a Seattle-based startup that has quietly been helping cities and states around the country to get their data online. For more on the new version of, check out or watch Socrata’s introductory video about the changes.

One caveat: It was only a few weeks ago that Congress cut funding to open government data platforms by 75% – which includes Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has not made any public statements about how the remaining $8 million dollars of the Office of Management and Budget’s e-government funds will be allocated, but given the ongoing revamp of, the smart money, so to speak, looks to be that the premier federal open government website will not only stay online but gain more functionality.

For a more personal look, here’s a video interview I recorded with Allen Vander Wallie, a program manager for at the U.S. General Services Administration, where he talks about the potential for open data.

Google Maps Mashup: World Map of Open Government Data Initiatives

Pretty cool. According to the page, it’s from It’s a good bet that the growth of open data and open government initiatives around the world will be a topic of conversation for the community the International Data Summit this month in Washington, D.C.