The U.S. government's open data site, Data.gov, has blazed a trail for openness, transparency, and innovation. With 105,000 data collections from 250 federal agencies, U.S. cities and states, and research organizations, the U.S. open data platform provides a wealth of information for citizens, researchers, and entrepreneurs.
Two primary components lead to the ability for people to be able to find the data they seek: high-powered, open source technology; and distributed communities that vet and put the data to use. This blend of data, information, and knowledge management principles and practices provides a platform for innovation and a set of deep resources for data-driven research.
One expression of this is the Data.gov communities--20 topical areas focused around national priorities like energy, health, and education. These communities (like Safety.Data.gov) allow collaboration amongst researchers, developers, analysts, data journalists, government officials, and business owners to get data into the hands of citizens to make better-informed decisions. Sharing such data allows us to make rich comparisons that could never be made before and helps us to better understand the data and support decision-making. In creating Data.gov, digital democracy was front and center, and in fact an international collaboration provides the source code behind the platform as open source on Github.
All of this leads to a better understanding of the changing global landscape of data sharing and the role that open data, open source, and new technologies are playing in it.