Digital Gov

Obama administration rallies new open data push

Shutterstock image: underlying data.

President Barack Obama is aiming to boost Americans' financial mobility with a new open data push dubbed "The Opportunity Project," the White House announced March 7.

The broad-based initiative includes work from federal agencies and the private sector alike, centered on getting actionable federal and metropolitan data into the hands of citizens who can use it.

The new website Opportunity.Census.gov will serve as a central hub for such datasets and projects.

With a focus on cultivating knowledge of educational and professional "opportunity," the released datasets include health, commercial and agricultural data. In September, the USDA Office of Rural Development will sponsor focus groups meant to encourage rural youth to build digital tools that, in turn, could help promote development that would keep youth from leaving their rural communities.

Nine cities, including New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have joined the project, releasing datasets of their own.

Opportunity Project data will be incorporated into several coding boot camps.

Private-sector partners including Zillow, Redfin and Esri have produced tools that leverage data on housing prices and commuting times in different U.S. regions.

Accompanying the data and tool release is a call to action from the administration, urging Americans to continue developing data-driven tools to understand our economic realities and potential.

The announcement comes on the heels of a presidential address praising Internet-powered innovation, and days before Obama plans to deliver a keynote address at the annual SXSW tech conference.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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