Open Data

GSA toots’s horn

file folders on a background with binary code

The website launched in May 2009 has seen almost five million visitors in the last three years and has more than 105,000 data sets, up from 47 at the site’s inception.

The site was built to become a repository for government information and to make available to the public any data that is not covered by privacy laws or restricted for national security reasons.

The last three years, according to a May 20 blog post on the General Services Administration's website by Jeanne Holm, the White House's open data evangelist, have resoundingly answered some of the initial questions about site. was an experiment in a wider plan to open up federal data holdings to the public, Holm said. The government didn't know if people would use the data or if agencies would even share it.

In just the last three years, according to Holm, has grown to include data sets provided by 227 federal organizations -- and has served 4.5 million unique visitors.

As further evidence of the site's success, Holm noted the Open Data 500 study that graphically illustrates how private industry continues to harness government data. The study, begun in 2012 by the GovLab at New York University, crunches the numbers on which public sector industries are using which federal agencies' data.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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