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Data.Gov Gets Massive Facelift on First Birthday

The Redesigned Data.Gov
One year ago this Friday will mark the one year anniversary of Data.gov, the Fed's repository for public databases and information that is the centerpiece of Obama's push for open government. When the site launched on May 21, 2009, it was home to 47 sets of data, and in the ensuing 365 days that followed, that number ballooned to more than 250,000. But one criticism that has persistently followed Data.gov is, in the words of Federal Computer Week, it fails "the mom test."

With that in the back of their minds, United States CIO Vivek Kundra and his team have completely redesigned Data.gov and the new version will go live on its first birthday. The site will still be host to the same deep databases and graphs of extensive amounts of information, but navigating both the site and the data will be greatly simplified. So, for example, you'll run comparisons of data from the National Weather Service against FEMA disaster declarations. Additionally, the government plans to launch tools that will make it easier for the average Web user to take data and create mashups, using other online services like Google Maps.

Everything from obesity rates to average flight delays and even data about how people are using Data.gov can be browsed at the site and exported for use elsewhere. The Data.gov model has proven effective and popular enough that other countries are emulating it, including Australia, Canada and the U.K. While it might not get as much attention as health care reform, perhaps one of the most important legacies Obama will leave behind is opening government data to public use and scrutiny. If you've never checked out Data.gov we highly recommend perusing it when the redesign goes live. It's a little on the nerdy side, but endlessly fascinating. [From: Wired]

Tags: Barack Obama, BarackObama, data, data.gov, government, politics, top, vivek kundra, VivekKundra, web