Data.gov begins move to cloud to allow social sharing, more visualization tools
- By Alice Lipowicz
- May 18, 2011
The Obama administration has begun transitioning its primary open-data website onto a cloud-based platform as Data.gov Next Generation.
However, the change brings some questions about when the move is officially happening and whether it's fully funded.
Data.gov offered a sneak peek into its cloud platform today with an introductory video that highlighted new features, such as the ability to share and contribute to data, visualize data with charts and maps, and share data via social networks.
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“Government agencies will now find it easier to share their public
data,” according to a statement on the Data.gov website. “Agencies can
upload their data to the FISMA-compliant Data.gov cloud platform, link
it in real time to systems of record, or even federate data from their
own sites. Data.gov brings it all together into one virtualized
Developers will find it easier to use the data on the website because it
relies on open, nonproprietary and standards-based application
programming interfaces (APIs), according to the statement on the
Features of the next iteration of Data.gov are also being highlighted on
a website hosted by Socrata, an open-data company. Socrata was among
the vendors that were awarded a $46 million blanket purchase agreement
in October 2010 to deliver dataset hosting services for Data.gov. The
other vendors are CGI Federal, Eyak Technology, Smartronix and Qbase.
Socrata has published several Web pages about the next-generation
Data.gov on its site, including additional information about the catalog
and interface, APIs, maps and charts, and social media sharing
Despite the publicity for the new platform, it was not immediately clear
if the new Data.gov was actually available. Officials at the General
Services Administration and Socrata declined to respond to requests for
additional information or say whether Data.gov has received sufficient
funding to complete the transition to the cloud.
Under the fiscal 2011 budget appropriation approved by Congress, GSA’s
E-Government Fund, which supported Data.gov in the past, was reduced
from $34 million last year to $8 million.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.