May 21, 2009 By Matt Williams
It's apparent that Data.gov is only in the initial state of development. Day one featured an eclectic assortment of data sets, such as the locations of the world's copper smelters, National Weather Service advisories and weekly reports of earthquakes. Web site widgets for the FBI's 10 Most Wanted and the H1N1 swine flu virus are also featured.
Kundra championed a similar Web site in his former position as the CIO of Washington, D.C.: The District of Columbia Data Catalog contains more than 275 data sets -- everything from the locations of road kill pick-ups to crime incident reports. Like the D.C. Data Catalog, datasets available on Data.gov are retrievable in different formats like XML and ESRI Shapefile.
Kundra has said that the aim of Data.gov will be to improve government transparency by releasing these data sets so that citizens are able to analyze them and build mash-up applications.
Not all government data will be released on Data.gov, though. According to a policy statement posted on the Web site, all information must comply with privacy regulations. National security information will be unavailable.
President Barack Obama has made transparency and open government one of his central themes. Shortly after taking office, Obama ordered a 120-day review that will set the recommended parameters of an open government directive for the entire federal government. But that hasn't been released yet, in part because national CTO Aneesh Chopra is awaiting confirmation by the Senate.
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