Open Data in Action

Over the past few years, the Administration has launched a series of Open Data Initiatives, which, have released troves of valuable data in areas such as health, energy, education, public safety, finance, and global development. 
And every day, entrepreneurs and business owners are using these freely available data to solve problems and to build new features, apps, products, services, and even new companies. Fueled by open data, these enterprises are creating jobs in cities and towns across the country.  In fact,  a recent report found that open data can generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional economic value across seven key sectors of the global economy, including education, transportation, and electricity.
Today, in furtherance of this exciting economic dynamic, The Governance Lab (The GovLab) —a research institution at New York University—released the beta version of its Open Data 500 project—an initiative designed to identify, describe, and analyze companies that use open government data in order to study how these data can serve business needs more effectively. As part of this effort, the organization is compiling a list of 500+ companies that use open government data to generate new business and develop new products and services. 
This working list of 500+ companies, from sectors ranging from real estate to agriculture to legal services, shines a spotlight on surprising array of innovative and creative ways that open government data is being used to grow the economy – across different company sizes, different geographies, and different industries. The project includes information about  the companies and what government datasets they have identified as critical resources for their business.
Some of examples from the Open Data 500 Project include:
  • Brightscope, a San Diego-based company that leverages data from the Department of Labor, the Security and Exchange Commission, and the Census Bureau to rate consumers’ 401k plans objectively on performance and fees, so companies can choose better plans and employees can make better decisions about their retirement options.
  • AllTuition, a  Chicago-based startup that provides services—powered by data from Department of Education on Federal student financial aid programs and student loans— to help students and parents manage the financial-aid process for college, in part by helping families keep track of deadlines, and walking them through the required forms.
  • Archimedes, a San Francisco healthcare modeling and analytics company, that leverages  Federal open data from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, to  provide doctors more effective individualized treatment plans and to enable patients to make informed health decisions.
You can learn more here about the project and view the list of open data companies here.
We look forward to seeing what other new products, services, and companies get created by American entrepreneurs as they innovate using open government data as fuel.  Projects like the Open Data 500 can help raise awareness and  make it easier for potential users to find out about the value of open data.
We will continue to work with agencies across the government to unleash the power of open data and to make data more accessible and usable for companies, entrepreneurs, citizens, and others.  We know that open data is good for the American people, and good for American business. 
Nick Sinai is United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Erie Meyer is Senior Advisor to the United States Chief Technology Officer .

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