Open Data

Pritzker touts open data in policy speech

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced plans to expand her agency's release of government data as fuel for economic growth in her first policy speech since assuming the post in June.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a Commerce Department component, is taking the first step with the announcement of a public/private initiative to release more of the data collected by the weather agency. Currently, NOAA is able to release 2 terabytes of the 19 terabytes of data it produces on a daily basis.

"Those 2 terabytes alone power a multibillion-dollar industry -- everything from the Weather Channel to your smartphone weather apps," Pritzker said during a speech Nov. 14 in Washington. The additional 17 terabytes "will help more entrepreneurs launch businesses using public information about our oceans, climate and weather."

Another Commerce component, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will take the lead in developing open-data standards, while the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the International Trade Administration, and the Bureau of Industry and Security will be test beds for the deployment of new standards and best practices, according to a Commerce fact sheet that accompanied Pritzker's speech.

"We will work throughout our department, across government, and with industry to make even more data standardized and easy to use," Pritzker said.

She also pointed out that when some of the government's data was not available during the recent shutdown, including highly anticipated reports from Commerce, it was missed.

"Data does not get a lot of attention until it is not available," Pritzker said. "Businesses depend every single day on the rich data we provide."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is a staff writer covering Congress, the FCC and other key agencies. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.

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