March 23, 2010
By: Chris Vallance
The US technology chief has called on developers to build the “YouTube” of government data.
Vivek Kundra told the BBC that he envisaged a world where anyone could “slice and dice” government information and share their results.
Mr Kundra is in charge of the US data.gov website, which gives citizens access to reams of official statistics.
People can use the data to create mashups and web applications to reveal new patterns and carry out analysis.
“Imagine a world where you have a YouTube for data where anyone of us could slice and dice this data and share it with our family, friends and policymakers”, he said.
He envisaged that the tool would allow anyone to explore data and see whether it was relevant to them at a local, national or global scale.
Data.gov is part of President Barack Obama’s larger push to make the US government more open and transparent.
For example, it has just launched Opinion Space – a website where people around the globe can submit their thoughts on US foreign policy.
Data.gov was launched in May 2009 by Mr Kundra in an effort to “unlock” the vast databases of information held by the US government.
It holds information on everything from agriculture and education to budgets and crime statistics.