government, open data, space

Open Government Data Working Group

An important meeting took place in Sebastapol last weekend (I didn’t know about it in advance, but I did wonder at the time why several folks in my Dopplr list were in Sebastapol concurrently!) to advance the cause of openness and accessibility of government data.

Good timing– the CoLab team just spent the past two days at NASA Headquarters running into and occasionally constructively running through cultural brick walls, many of which derive from the lack of perception inside NASA Headquarters of demand from the public for making government data open AND accessible. In the case of NASA, which has a massive trove of data to share, the latter is often a bigger challenge than the former.

The clear articulated set of principals for data openness and accessibility that came out of the Sebastapol meeting- and a clear public demand by highly credible citizen “customers”- will go a long way towards validating the problem statement that we attempted to convey to management at NASA HQ. Content and data managers from across Federal Agencies are beginning to network and share problems and solutions and new precedents amongst themselves, so this is a potent time to propose, implement, and then propagate change regarding government data inside Federal Agencies.

Thank you for the help, Sebastapolians! And one friendly suggestion/critique– get some people to the next meeting who are actually working on causing change on these issues from inside government– your invite list for this kickoff meeting didn’t appear to include anyone who is actually managing data or setting policy for same inside a government entity! 🙂