Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Data.Gov Launched

We told you last month that was coming. Now the new site has launched.

From OMB Director Peter Orszag at the White House Briefing Room Blog:

Today, I'm pleased to announce that the Federal CIO Council is launching Created as part of the President's commitment to open government and democratizing information, will open up the workings of government by making economic, healthcare, environmental, and other government information available on a single website, allowing the public to access raw data and transform it in innovative ways.

Such data are currently fragmented across multiple sites and formats—making them hard to use and even harder to access in the first place. will change this, by creating a one-stop shop for free access to data generated across all federal agencies. The catalog will allow the American people to find, use, and repackage data held and generated by the government, which we hope will result in citizen feedback and new ideas. will also help government agencies—so that taxpayer dollars get spent more wisely and efficiently. Through live data feeds, agencies will have the ability to easily access data both internally and externally from other agencies, which will allow them to maintain higher levels of performance. In the months and years ahead, our goal is to continuously improve and update with a wide variety of available datasets and easy-to-use tools based on public feedback and as we modernize legacy systems over time.

Democratizing government data will help change how government operates—and give citizens the ability to participate in making government services more effective, accessible, and transparent.

You can also see a video demonstration of the site. I'm still playing around with it -- it seems to have a nicer interface than, but the "tools" section really just links you to the agency website that has the data -- just like FedStats did (still does, actually).

The "raw data" search function is the most interesting, with data sets available in XML, CSV/Text, KML/KMZ, and ESRI formats -- that's really neat and should be fantastically useful.  "Should be," that is, because right now there's not a lot there.

If you listen to the effusive claims for the new site, pay attention to the key phrase: "is going to democratize data." Right now it's a limited set of data. I'm looking forward to what comes next.


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