When I moved overseas, data.gov had just launched in the U.S., and I found similar initiatives in New Zealand during my time there.
Digital New Zealand, an initiative funded by the government, created web-based means for people to create mashups that make existing digital content from government and elsewhere more accessible. DigitalNZ and data.gov goes to show the desire to make government data more accessible spills beyond political boundaries, much like the web itself.
To a certain extent I missed many of the ups and downs in America over the past few years I was away. To a certain extent I didn’t. For years I’ve lived overseas in New Zealand and during that time America was certainly a distant country out there among many across the globe, but it could easily not feel far away, and that’s the important point. From one side of the globe to the other is really far. Really really far. It’s easy to imagine the difficulty of communicating across the globe in the not too distant past. But the internet has changed all that. Global communication is now instantaneous, realtime, and media rich. It’s also personal, as the means to connect across communities and in different ways is accessible to anyone with an internet connection and the right software.
At a certain point I looked back across the globe and saw that I was in a position where I could return and contribute toward building the right software to connect people for the good of whole communities.
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