Open Data: Your Future, Your Now
I spent a lot of time this summer focused on our curriculum for pass-through entities (PTE) and recipients alongside implementation of the DATA Act. This past Wednesday, I took the opportunity to reflect on these topics while I attended the Data Transparency 2016 + White House Open Data Innovation Summit. I approached my day from the perspective of what can I share with non-Federal entities (NFE).
Here are my key takeaways:
- Open Data in Ecosystems. The question of the day seemed to be, “we have the data, now how do we use it.” From the White House Chief Technology Officer to the most junior participant, there was a strong understanding that open data has to be made and used in ecosystems. We know that ecosystems are made of people and it’s a good reminder that data by itself is worthless unless it’s used. That means you need to seek ways to share your data, and find users. It also shows how important leadership, communication, and collaboration skills are in this space.
- NFEs can (and should) participate in DATA Act implementation efforts. In case you didn’t know, gov is in beta testing now. I was able to add my small suggestion of what I want changed and then I had a great conversation with some members of the USAspending.gov team. I found out that I could help with some of the beta testing….and so can you. Think about what you’re not getting out of the data now, log onto the beta site, and be an active stakeholder.You also still have time to participate in the Section 5 Pilots. The HHS DATA Act Program Management Office (DAP) continues to seek feedback on the proposed improvements on the Federal Financial Report, Single Audit, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research library, Notice of Award, and Learn Grants. So if you have any issues with definitions or forms, speak up.
- So many resources are available to use now. One thing that I have found hard is figuring out what to do about the DATA Act now, besides keeping up-to-date and participating in pilots, if you’re a NFE. Part of the impact of the DATA Act and the open data movement in government is already available in the form of publicly available information. NFEs need to learn more about these data sets. Many of us know that the Census Bureau has many data sets available for you to use in your grant applications and project approaches. Or if you’re a pass-through entity, information to help inform your subrecipient risk assessments.
Here’s some of what I found just by walking around the information tables:
- gov – 200K+ searchable data sets (start here)
- Global Innovation Exchange – Brings together information on funders, innovators, and resources in the development area; and not just US sources
- EPA Environmental Dataset Gateway – Information on climate change resources, maps and other information supportive of research and environmental justice
- Transportation Secure Data Center – Wide range of transit, energy, and homeland security information in one place
With so much data available and crisp fall air moving in, pour yourself a nice cup of tea and explore visualization tools and resources to increase your knowledge of the varied uses of data.