#opendata2013: A First-Time Washington Conference

Governing produces a lot of data. Governments generate, collect and compile vast amounts of data continually through activities such as collecting vital statistics, administering the tax system, recording government operations activity, managing public infrastructure and natural resources, surveying and recording public and private lands, processing regulatory requirements and managing social service delivery. Add to this flood of new digital data the large stock of previously collected data – stored in warehouses and filing cabinets in non-digital forms and archaic computer systems – and the challenges of governing in a complex environment don’t seem to reside in a lack of data. Rather, the challenge seems to be how to share that data with the public and convert it into usable information, and how to apply knowledge to the interpretation of that information.

A major focus of the GovLab’s work is open data: studying how governments and institutions can share data with the public to help citizens develop innovative solutions to seemingly intractable challenges, make improved decisions, and participate more meaningfully in governance.

Toward that end we are delighted to support tomorrow’s Data Transparency 2013 Conference, hosted by the Data Transparency Coalition. According to their program the Conference will:

  • “Examine the open data impact. Executive and legislative branch leaders will explain their ongoing efforts to open up federal data sets in key domains – including federal spending, regulation, and management – and preview future initiatives and mandates;
  • Explore the open data opportunity. Tech innovators will showcase new search, publication, and analysis tools that streamline federal processes, illuminate waste, fraud and abuse, and deliver actionable intelligence to investors, watchdogs, and voters.
  • Forge an open data agenda. In cross-cutting breakout sessions, public and private sector stakeholders will collaborate on specific policy steps to open up change-resistant areas of the federal government’s data portfolio.”

The conference will be keynoted by Nick Sinai, Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. in the White House, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, as well as Republican Congressman Darrell Issa and Democratic Senator Mark Warner, co-sponsors of the DATA Act.

The GovLab has helped support the work of the Coalition and will have a presence at the conference. Beth Noveck, founder and director of the GovLab, is on the advisory board of the Data Transparency Coalition. Joel Gurin, senior advisor at the GovLab, will be a speaker on the opening panel. Joel has also interviewed Hudson Hollister on the DATA Act for his website, OpenDataNow.com; you can read his interview here.

The GovLab is also embarking on a new comprehensive new research project on Open Data. At the conference we will be announcing our attempt to create the OPEN DATA 500: The first comprehensive census of U.S.-based companies using open government data. The goal of the Open Data 500 is to understand how companies use open data in their business, how it can be made more useful, and how it can help promote innovation. Toward that end, we need your help!

  • Tell us about innovative companies using open government data in groundbreaking ways! Recommend a company
  • Tell Us About Your Company: If you are using open government data to build your company or start a new one, tell us about it here! Submit Your Company

Finally we would be delighted to meet you at our booth at the conference to learn about those Open Data initiatives that inspire you.

See you at #opendata2013!

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