The Year in Review | The Most Interesting Open Data Articles in 2016

With only hours left of 2016, we can look back at another big year for open data. 2016 showed an increased focus on using data to inform the decision-making within governments, a bigger desire to encourage collaboration around data within government agencies, and great efforts on making data more engaging through data storytelling. We have gathered some of the most interesting data articles from 2016.

U.S. Chief Data Scientist, DJ Patil, talks about Obama’s biggest achievements in tech. 

As the Obama presidency is coming to an end, FedScoop interviewed the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist, DJ Patil, about his most important takeaways from his time in government. Patel highlights how data and technology have been a force multiplier from the beginning of the Obama campaign and points to that as the reason Obama has been so effective in bringing technologists to the table—“suddenly you get a much different approach of potential ideas” according to Patel. The articles mentions how Obama has looked to data and technology in general to support real-world problems from health care to policy-making. The increased focus on data has spread to other federal agencies and more than 24 agencies now have some type of chief data official. Read the full article here.


Open Data & APIs: Collecting and Consuming What Cities Produce

This article by describes how more and more cities are opening up their data. In a lot of the cases the cities are even making data available through APIs that allow developers to connect with the data and develop new uses for the data. The idea of open data and APIs has spread throughout the public sector and made governments more transparent and information easier to disseminate. Other benefits include empowering citizens with more information, fostering innovation and jobs, and assisting citizens and policymakers in assessing problems. The arrival of open data and APIs has helped launch the notion of cities being “smart” and create an economic potential of $3 trillion in added value to the world’s economy.  Read the full story here.


The Pentagon Experiments with Open Data

On December 14th the Department of Defense launched the open data portal The site was created in an effort “to jumpstart the notion within the Pentagon that open data is worth investing in”, according to Mary Lazerri who is part of the Defense Digital Service. The site started with a dataset called the Theater Historiy of Operations (THOR) “a painstakingly cultivated database of historic aerial bombings.”. The site includes data from World War I, World War II, The Korean War and the Vietnam War, with more to come in the future. The site doesn’t just show data sets, it includes stories to help explain the context of the data and examples of different use cases for it. Defense Digital Services partnered with LiveStories to create a site that doesn’t look like a traditional DOD web page and encourage adoption of open data within the DOD. Read the full story here.


What do you think are the most important developments in open data in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.