Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker, Print Industry Analyst

Guess what? Your tax dollars just bought you more data — or at least better access to data. That’s the hope anyway.

Unlocking Data

Last week, President Obama signed an executive order, with the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy released an “open data policy” declaring that data gathered by the government is a national asset and should be easily accessible by the public. Much of this information is available already, but the goal, according to the administration, is to make it even more so.

In a press release, the White House Press Office gave several examples of how open data has spurred innovation and product development that ultimately has helped the economy. Examples include the economic sector of agricultural advisory services stemming from government weather satellites and ground stations (something we can thank for The Weather Channel, too) and commercial GPS-based products resulting from the release of formerly military-only data.

While much government data is already available to the public, the White House is declaring its continuation of this commitment and intent to make the data even more accessible. As part of this commitment, you can watch for a re-invigorated and improved data.gov (the central hub for open government data), including new services such as easier navigation, better mapping tools, and robust API access for developers.

For XGPPN members and print providers alike, this is an open invitation for your business development and IT staff to poke around and see what business opportunities you can generate. You’ve been handed a treasure trove of data at absolutely no cost, and over time, that treasure will become increasingly easy to use. What will you do with it?

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