New Section Profiles the Companies That Use It

Pavel Ignatov/

There's a push to bring data consumers into the open-data conversation.

The government’s digital information repository launched a new section on Tuesday focused on companies and nonprofits that are using government data to fuel their businesses.

The page titled Impact offers brief profiles of 22 companies that consume open government data, including the companies’ financing and number of employees as well as the federal agencies supplying the data.

The list is broken down into five sectors -- finance, consumer, health, energy and education -- all of which are also data communities on

Erie Meyer, a senior adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy unveiled the new Impact page during a panel discussion on the economic impact of open data on Tuesday hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

The consulting firm McKinsey and Co. has estimated open data provided by government, industry and others could ultimately add more than $3 trillion to the global economy. Thus far, however, federal agencies have a mixed record providing companies and entrepreneurs the data that can fuel their businesses in easy-to-access, machine-readable formats.

President Obama’s Open Data Policy, published in 2013, required agencies to make any new data sets they collected open and machine readable by default unless there was a compelling reason not to. It also called on agencies to gather input from the people and organizations that consume their data about what is most valuable.

The GovLab at New York University sees its job as facilitating those two requirements, according to Senior Adviser Joel Gurin, who also spoke on Tuesday’s panel. GovLab recently published a list of 500 companies and nonprofits that are built partly with open government data.

GovLab plans to host several discussions between government and industry focused on which government data sets are most valuable to the private sector, Gurin said.

“What I’ve found and what a lot of us have found in talking to federal agencies is that there’s a large enthusiasm for this, but it’s very hard to do,” Gurin said. “We believe that by setting up really effective information lanes about the business uses of open data and by bringing government and business together in these roundtables we can help government agencies prioritize the data they think are most important based on user need. That makes the problem of opening this data manageable.”

Nextgov is profiling companies and nonprofits built off open government data. Check out the profiles here

(Image via Pavel Ignatov/