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Drowing in Data: How Data is Changing Government
Tagged: Big Data
November 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm #236115
To the average person, the first line is an incomprehensible series of zeros and ones. To a computer programmer or any IT professional, that series of numbers signifies a specific computer code. It is a distinct, clear message.
For me, the zeros and ones make my head spin. As does most data. But in our technology-driven, open-government world, those zeros and ones hold a lot of power. And understanding how to use and organize these numbers to our advantage is especially important.
When looking beyond basic coding, classifying different types of data can also cause confusion. Specifically, open data and big data are particularly challenging to distinguish, and people often interchange the two terms. As government becomes more open, understanding the differences, similarities and relationship between open data and big data is necessary to ensure the secure exchange of information. According to GovDelivery’s guide “The State of Data: How Data is Changing Government,” although big data and open data differ, they intersect with open government to create the following six subtypes of data:
1) Big Data — Not Open Data: Non-public data for national security, marketing, and business analysis
2) Open Government Data — Not Big Data: Citizen engagement programs that are not based on data, such as websites for petitions
3) Open Government Work — Not Open Data: Large datasets from non-governmental sources, such as social media or scientific research
4) Open Data— Not From Government, Not Big Data: Public data from federal, state and local government, such as budget data
5) Big, Open, Non-Governmental Data: Business reporting other business data through information exchange
6) Big, Open, Government Data: Large public government datasets, such as census, GPS, SEC, healthcare, or weather data
Big data and open data are used to tackle real-world government situations. For example, cities like Chicago and New York are trying to modernize their health inspection protocol with big data. Chicago is experimenting with a new technology to guide where food inspections should occur based on factors such as past health code violations, current weather, and nearby construction. The Chicago Department of Public Health is still testing the food inspection model until the algorithm is more refined. New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is testing software that is designed to scan online reviews from websites and flagging any mentions of potential food-poisoning incidents.
In terms of open data, initiatives are being implemented across the country that will ultimately supply city governments with more synthesized feedback on their performance. Washington, D.C. is assigning letter grades to its city services and agencies through sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis develops open data from opinions that are publicly posted on social media, and this information then becomes available for government and public use. In Chicago, it was mandated that every city agency contribute data to the city’s Open Data Portal. Since 2010, Chicago’s open datasets have received over 15.6 million page views, and this large number signifies major citizen participation.
For more information on how big data and open data are transforming government, read GovDelivery’s guide, “The State of Data: How Data is Changing Government.”
- This topic was modified 4 years ago by Corinne Stubbs.
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