Turning Government Data into Private Sector Products Is Complicated Business

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | February 9, 2012

The government launched its massive data set trove Data.gov in 2009 with a clear mission: to put information the government was gathering anyway into the hands of private sector and nonprofit Web and mobile app developers.

Once that data was out, the White House imagined, developers would set about turning it into useful products--optimizing Census Bureau statistics for marketers; Commerce Department data for exporters; and Housing and Urban Development Department information for building contractors, mortgage brokers and insurance adjusters.

When necessary, the government also would be able to prime the pump with agency-sponsored code-a-thons and app development competitions sponsored through Challenge.gov, a White House initiative that paid out $38 million to prize-winning developers during its first year, which ended in September.

But turning government data into private sector products has proved more complicated in practice...


Implementation & Communication are Key

Data.gov is great and many groups are now generating useful tools, but communicating about the new tools and where to find them is key. See http://government.cositech.net