Whatever the industry or discipline, big data is there to help glean the future. And now big data pioneers can open their data and get even broader insights, sharper views, and a significant competitive edge. According to a recent Gartner report, open data is more important and more valuable than big data alone. The Gartner analysts go on to say that big data certainly makes organizations smarter, but open data does more to increase revenue and business value.


Open Data


According to Open Definition, a piece of content or data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike. Across the U.S. and across the globe, open data initiatives are being introduced, and governments are leading the way.


Open Government


President Barack Obama introduces Digital Government with the challenge, "I want us to ask ourselves everyday, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives?" And the White House has outlined a strategy focusing on open data to help drive the Digital Government agenda.

The three main objectives in the strategy are:

  1. Enable the American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device
  2. Ensure that as the government adjusts to this new digital world, we seize the opportunity to procure and manage devices, applications, and data in smart, secure and affordable ways.
  3. Unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across our Nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.

The strategy is funded with an estimated $73 million annually for research grants.

Open data as a spectator sport


Governments and businesses are promoting innovation through competitions using open data.  Illinois launched an Open Technology Challenge and is offering $75,000 in prize money. Kaggle Competitions hosts game show style competitions with up to 57,000 contestants to solve problems using open data. Europe's Open Data Challenge offered 20,000 Euros to the winners of their open data competitions


Someone is always watching


You can do more than wonder if that ticket you got was because a law enforcement officer was trying to make his quota,  A student intern used open data to glean the patterns of traffic citations issued by police in the city of Baltimore. His home-grown study reveals a connection between the days at the beginning and end of the month, and the number of tickets issued:


Anyone can access data on science.gov. They even offer developers an API to search government, federal, and science databases, and you can surf their open data from the convenience of an Android app

Need more data? Data.gov offers open data sources, open data communities, and open data platforms. The resources for open data are vast and growing.