Data.gov: Opening Government Data to Fuel Innovation and Problem-solving

Original Post by Steve VanRoekel and Todd Park on July 08, 2013 at 01:49 PM EDT

President Obama highlights innovations taking place in our government that are already making a difference:

Digitizing disaster recovery: FEMA use of data analytics and internet/mobile apps to deliver better results: In response to Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partnered with the U.S.Geological Survey, Civil Air Patrol, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to utilize imagery and data that identified inaccessible and destroyed homes, which enabled FEMA to expedite assistance funds to eligible applicants. FEMA has also succeeded in getting 304,000 survivors (57% of applicants) registered for assistance following Hurricane Sandy through internet and smartphone apps. The FEMA disaster recovery app also tell users how to assemble basic emergency kits and help them locate disaster recovery centers and apply for financial assistance following a disaster. This has enabled better, faster service delivered at lower costs.

Ushering out old technologies, bringing in new: The Administration has eliminated duplicative systems and accelerated the adoption of new technology used by agencies through “PortfolioStat” —a comprehensive look at agencies’ IT portfolios to identify savings. To date, the initiative has identified more than $2.5 billion in cost reductions. Read more about this effort in this blog post.

Opening government data to fuel innovation and problem-solving: For the first time in history, the Administration opened up huge amounts of government data to the American people, and put it on the internet for free. At Data.gov, you can search through and download more than 75,000 data sets – data on everything from what different hospitals charge for different procedures, to credit card complaints, to weather and climate measurements. And entrepreneurs and business owners are using that data to create jobs and solve problems that government can’t solve by itself. Learn more about the Open Data Initiative in this blog post.

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