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special report

Open Data

President Obama signed an executive order in May 2013 requiring federal agencies to make all the data they collect in the future, open and machine readable by default. This will force a major shift in the way some agencies produce and share information. The administration hopes it will also be a cash cow for entrepreneurs looking to build businesses off data the government is collecting anyway.

President Barack Ob, ... ]
President Barack Ob, ... ] // Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Hipcamp founder Alyssa Ravasio

An Outdoorsy Plea for Open Federal Campsite Data

November 3, 2014 needs an API requirement, outdoorsy companies say.

 A medical worker sprays people being discharged from the Island Clinic Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Data-Driven Disaster Management

October 29, 2014 The Ebola outbreak has shone a spotlight on how open data can be used in the aftermath of disaster.

What ‘America’s Data Agency’ Should Be Doing With Its Data

October 17, 2014 Lessons from an open data roundtable at the Commerce Department.

Feds Buy Back USASpending Website After Contractor Bankruptcy

October 10, 2014 Move finally opens federal contracting data.

What We Know About Coming DATA Act Standards

September 29, 2014 The pile of data needed to track federal spending is an unwieldy, nonuniform mess.

Archives Hackathon Wants to Make Wikipedia Even Better

September 12, 2014 Everyone’s invited to the Open Government WikiHack later this month.

Unlocking Government Data Poised to Create Whole New Industries -- And Make Washington Work Better

September 3, 2014 Open data can transform government from a mere service dispensary to a breakthrough innovation accelerator.

IT Needs Audacity, Adaptiveness and Engagement

August 8, 2014 Today's IT leaders need to think big.

Government-as-a-Platform: Why Agencies Must Embrace the Strategic Value of Open Data

August 7, 2014 Open data provides governments an opportunity to become innovation catalysts.

HHS Announces New Open Gov Projects, Wants to Know What You Think

July 15, 2014 New initiative will make federally funded research journals more accessible to the public.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

Commerce Has the Best Data, Will Hire Chief Data Officer, Secretary Says

July 14, 2014 Penny Pritzker was speaking at a conference in California.

We're No. 7!: US Drops Two Spots in E-Government Rankings

June 26, 2014 U.S. trails behind leaders South Korea and Australia, among others.

NASA Taps Citizen-Scientists to Find Novel Ways to Use Earth Science Datasets

June 25, 2014 The space agency hopes to get the public's help in figuring out innovative ways to use climate and Earth science datasets.

Survey Identifies Old IT Culprits As Top Barriers To More Open Government

June 10, 2014 Data sensitivity, a perceived lack of funding, and privacy concerns remain challenges to unleashing more government data. Turns Five

May 21, 2014 The public repository for government data sets is nimble because it’s had to be.

Can Anyone Actually Use the Data Your Agency Has Opened?

May 9, 2014 Five tips for better government APIs.

Mining Federal Procurement Data for Companies and for Profit

May 8, 2014 GovTribe sees an opportunity in helping firms navigate the messy world of government contracting.

Want To Pay Less for Drugs Under Medicare?

May 8, 2014 One company is crunching government data to help seniors make more informed decisions when selecting insurance plans.

Why Does the IRS Make It So Tough to Rat Out Tax Cheats?

May 5, 2014 A new Web service lets people report tax avoiders anonymously and online.

Consultant Lists DHS’ Most (and Least) Annoying Contracting Officers

May 2, 2014 GovTribe has produced scorecards for government acquisition staff.

Want to Know How Developers Use Your Agency's Data? Ask Them.

April 21, 2014 An upgraded site will ask users to volunteer what they’re using HHS data for.

How Government Data Could Make College Cheaper

April 16, 2014 The Education Department is asking developers how they could use APIs to make college a better value for students.

New Section Profiles the Companies That Use It

April 8, 2014 There's a push to bring data consumers into the open-data conversation.

Leaders Split on Whether the Obama Administration Can Accomplish Its IT Goals

March 31, 2014 Only 32 percent of surveyed tech leaders say their agencies are up to the task.

The White House Wants More Fossils and Moon Rocks Online

March 21, 2014 Agencies have six months to develop draft policies for expanding online access to scientific collections.

White House Releases Climate Data Set, Challenges Developers to Use It

March 19, 2014 The first data set focuses on coastal flooding and sea level rise.

Harvard's Houghton Library

Harvard's Looking for a 'Wikipedian in Residence'

March 14, 2014 The school's Houghton Library is seeking someone to help make its collections as accessible as possible.

Private-Sector Technologists -- the White House Wants You

March 6, 2014 The third group of Presidential Innovation Fellows will focus on open data and crowdsourcing.

How Canada Plans to Fuel Its Economy With Data

February 27, 2014 The country is investing $3 million in a program to get government and private data into the right hands.

How Government Data Is Fueling a New Economy

February 20, 2014 Entrepreneurs tell us what’s working and what isn’t in the drive to open up government data.

How to Outfox a Broken Procurement System and Other Digital Government Lessons from the U.K.

February 13, 2014 Agencies could learn a great deal from Mike Bracken, director of the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Senator 'Won't Back Down' Despite White House Efforts to Weaken Federal Spending Transparency Bill

January 31, 2014 Obama officials want to roll back a DATA Act requirement for common spending codes across agencies. Mark Warner, D-Va., disagrees.

Warren Buffett Uses Open Government Data

January 23, 2014 Other large open government data consumers include Google, Yahoo and Deloitte.

A man sits atop a pile of rubble after a tornado came through Oklahoma in May.

Government Data Saves Lives

January 14, 2014 Open data is helping people find their way out of disaster zones and beware of unsafe products.

Commentary: Transparency Is Overrated

January 13, 2014 In a representative democracy, data only goes so far—and knowledge is no substitute for real regulation.

The Top 5 Government Tech Stories of 2013

December 30, 2013 Disasters at and the possibility of major IT buying reform top the list. chief Jeanne Holm

Q and A: What Feds Can Learn from Cities' Open Data Experiences

November 27, 2013 chief Jeanne Holm, who works out of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles, talks about the challenges cities are facing with open data.

Collecting Better Data to Drive Smarter Spending, L.A. Style

November 15, 2013 City residents will be able to have something like an Amazon purchase history of their interactions with the city.

Feds Could Exploit Open Data Policies to Improve Management

October 22, 2013 At Nextgov Prime, we'll explore how agencies can take advantage of APIs to operate more effectively.

In-Q-Tel Investment Signals Intel Community Focus on Data Sharing

September 3, 2013 Deal with Socrata could help intelligence agencies share information more efficiently.