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Idea Exchange: What Government Data Would Be Useful to You as a Small Business Owner?

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Idea Exchange: What Government Data Would Be Useful to You as a Small Business Owner?

By AriM
Published: August 26, 2010 Updated: February 9, 2011

In our monthly Idea Exchange, we pose questions to the community about the content, features or services provided by SBA.gov. In July we asked members, 'What Government Data Would Be Useful to You as a Small Business Owner?' Your feedback showed us how important it is to encourage better access to government information.

Open data across government

A new means of improving access to data comes in the form of the Data.gov portal. Data.gov was launched earlier this year by the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to help answer President Obama's call for more openness and transparency across the federal government. The portal currently contains more than 100,000 data feeds available in various formats including RSS, CSV, XML, among others. The data feeds are sorted by agency and category across three sections: 'raw' data, a tool catalog, and geodata. Data.gov is still fairly new, so if what you are looking for is not yet available, keep checking back, or send them a request for what you'd like to see.

Here in Washington DC, the District's Office of the Chief Technology Officer recently sponsored a contest called Apps For Democracy*, which offered cash prizes to users who could make the best use of DC.gov's revolutionary data catalog. Nearly 50 applications were submitted through iPhones, Facebook or web platforms. The contest has inspired planned initiatives in Belgium, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York, and Finland, as governments make use of citizen networks to find new and useful open data applications.

On a more local level, you can visit the U.S. Census Bureau's QuickFacts portal to get data for all states and counties and for cities and towns with more than 25,000 people. As the 2010 Census approaches, expect data collected from this census to become available to citizens towards the end of 2010.

SBA.gov web services

SBA.gov is also responding to call for open data. In keeping with the open data movement, we are in the process of developing web services to allow the public greater access to the data that we use on our website. Web services allow for better machine-to-machine connections so that anyone can take the data we have and manipulate it to create their own data mashups, interpretations, and displays. Our web services will be launching in the coming months, so stay tuned to SBA’s In the Loop blog, where we share the latest news relating to the site.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this Idea Exchange. Please check out our newest Idea Exchange, 'What is the one thing you wish you knew BEFORE you started your business?' and post your comments to help promote discussion in the SBA Community!

* Note - Hyperlink directs to non-government Web site.

Message Edited by AriM on 08-13-2009 01:31 PM

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Ari

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