White House Orders Agencies To Follow New Open Data Standards

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | May 9, 2013

Government agencies must collect and publish new information in open, machine-readable and, whenever possible, non-proprietary formats, according to a White House executive order and open data policy published Thursday.

The new policy also gives agencies six months to create an inventory of all the datasets they collect and maintain; an updated list of datasets that are open to the public; and an online system to gather feedback from users about how they’d like such information to be presented.

The idea behind the initiative is that information the government collects for the purposes of management, regulation and security can also be used by private sector and nonprofit entrepreneurs to build products that aid consumers and turn a profit. A billion dollar industry, for example, has been built on government-supplied Global Positioning System information, most notably in the mobile apps market.