The Open Government Initiative ushered in many new projects geared toward making government information more accessible to the public. With Data.gov, many government datasets were made easily accessible to the public. Ideally, access to this information would promote citizen innovation as datasets were utilized by the public singularly, or as mash-ups, to create valuable applications.
Brand Niemman, the Director and Senior Data Scientist at SemanticCommunity.net, spoke with Christopher Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER to discuss the movement toward open data and its unrealized potential. From his perspective, Niemman has not seen the data published become easier to utilize, and also questions whether the data made public is truly high value.
As he states, high value information, such as the Census Bureau’s data, should be the target of the open data initiative. He discusses how the Census Bureau’s data is used for redistricting and appropriations decisions; this kind of data is statistically assured, and is utilized by the government for decision-making functions. According to Niemman, the data currently provided is overall, neither high in quality nor high in value.
As Open Data continues, Niemman recommends that data scientists lead the movement toward building a data community within the government. He states that the data science community would be able to best identify data that is both high value and quality. While the Open Government Initiative has done a great job pushing toward open data, he says the next step beyond quality assurance is putting that data to work.
To listen to Brand Niemman’s full interview you can catch the entire radio show at GovLoop Insights.