White House preparing Data.gov 2.0

White House officials plan to release Version 2.0 of the new government data portal, Data.gov, in the next couple of months, federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra said today.

The federal Web site, which makes government data available for public reuse, will likely feature new tagging capabilities and an expanded array of information tools, Kundra said.

Data.gov, which debuted May 21, has 87,000 data feeds from various government agencies. That number is expected to top 100,000 by next week, Kundra said.

Speaking at a demonstration of Data.gov at the Office of Management and Budget, Kundra acknowledged that the number of data feeds remains relatively small and that it will be some time before agencies are in a position to adapt or upgrade their aging systems to export data easily to Data.gov.

“We have 10,000 systems and millions of business processes,” he said. He added that much of the data is presented in its raw form, which means many of the site’s visitors might have trouble making sense of it.

Still, Kundra was enthusiastic about the number of applications designed to highlight government data that have been already been added to the site. He was surprised in particular by the level of interest and even competition coming from within government agencies to develop such applications.

He cited an application now available from the FBI that lets users download the Top 10 Most Wanted list to their Web site or even their iPhone. Another application allows users to download a national map showing the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, based on the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data.gov is already generating a significant amount of feedback, with the help of a rating tool that lets users rate the usefulness of agency data feeds and various tools. “In the same way we’re allowing feedback, we want to encourage tagging so we can crowd source” as a way of adding value to the content for users, he said.

In the long run, Kundra wants to continue to move agencies away from warehousing the data they collect and toward a model in which agencies can publish data in real time, much like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does now with its weather data.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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