Data.gov Turns Six!

This blog was orginally posted on Data.gov.

Today is the sixth anniversary of Data.gov. Data.gov was launched on May 21, 2009 with just 47 datasets. It currently features over 130,000 datasets from across the country including those from 83 Federal agencies and sub-agencies. Since the landmark 2013 Executive Order, which made federal data open and machine-readable by default, we have added over 50,000 datasets1. Annual page views on Data.gov are about 8.5 million and it has more than doubled in the past two years. As it enters its next phase of growth, Data.gov has proven that the open data movement is here to stay.Data-dot-gov-rtb-2

In February 2015, Data.gov was recognized for its technological innovations by placing in the top eight of more than 100 submissions at the ACT-IAC Innovation Awards. Data.gov was honored for its innovative transformation in the last year from a central metadata catalog (to which agencies submitted datasets one-by-one) to a data harvesting hub (where agency datasets are now automatically gathered on a daily basis). This provides a more structured and efficient way to share and discover federal open data and ensures that users can count on Data.gov as an up-to-date source for such data.

Data.gov uses open source technology to power the website (WordPress) and the data catalog is developed using CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network). Using open source technology allows developers from around the globe to give input, and for others to re-use the code. This technology also results in greater integration with state, city, and county catalogs. Data.gov currently syndicates 37 local government data catalogs and more are added every month.

Data.gov is bringing transparency to the Federal Government’s open data efforts. Through the Project Open Data dashboard, anyone can see the performance of federal agencies in meeting the Open Data Policy requirements. The public can also weigh in on issues, and see how agencies are responding to recommendations, creating greater accountability as well.

Data.gov has launched several new features this year. To improve public engagement on open data, Data.gov launched its open, API-driven, customer service platform, the Data.gov Help Desk, which allows for the public to submit issues, improvements, and requests for government data. The status of all data issues can be publicly tracked.

Another new feature is the integration of data visualization tools, giving Data.gov users the option to open datasets using third party tools like plot.ly and CartoDB.

In the year ahead, Data.gov will continue to work with agency partners to take open data to another level. We will expand the scope of the catalog and improve the quality of metadata. We will develop and launch additional tools to enable agencies to release even more of their data, so that government data can continue to inform citizens and improve their daily lives.

From the example set by the U.S. and Data.gov in 2009, there are now over 75 national open data sites. Data.gov will continue to set the lead unleashing the power of open data around the world.

1A note on metrics: There are many nuances associated with the number of datasets on Data.gov since it syndicates many types of data from many different sources. Some datasets are grouped into collections and each dataset can include multiple resources. In total, there are currently over 4 million resources (such as individual download links) cataloged on Data.gov.  Since the first milestone of the Federal open data policy, there have been over 50,000 Federal datasets updated on the site using the metadata management process established by the policy, but many local governments have used the same metadata standard to syndicate to Data.gov as well. In total there are currently over 98,000 Federal datasets currently on Data.gov and over 30,000 from local government sources including over 10,000 using the same metadata standard as the Federal government.