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 executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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