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Know why open data is essential for informed public

In an exclusive interview with GeoBuiz, Ivan B. DeLoatch, Executive Director of Federal Geographic Data Committee, U.S. Geological Survey explains how open data is essential for informed public. The Open Data Initiative was launched to share and expose data and to allow additional use by citizens, companies and other federal agencies. Following the Open Government Initiative, the Obama administration launched the Open Data Initiative again with the idea of having transparency. There are some data that are bound by a license agreement, and some of those license agreements allow share the information. There is uptake of information and is going to be an area of continuous growth. Legislation is before the Congress to establish the Open Data Act which would make machine-readable data available by the law. By codifying that data, we can expect to see more growth in this space.We are witnessing economic growth from open data and repurposing it for other uses. We definitely need some enhancements in existing framework. The challenge lies in taking the data, processing it and providing it in a way that is digestible by the everyday citizenry.We need to be mindful that there will be some people who will try to use information in inappropriate ways. By exposing the information, it leaves us vulnerable in some cases. We are only making that data open which we were already collecting. We are leveraging investments to repurpose data in a way that can really help inform our citizenry again. Currently, we are assisting with identifying data sets that can be used for the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals.We are in a process of identifying where are the gaps that need to be filled. Forum should be constituted to have discussions about what is available and what is not including cost associated with that. By exposing, sharing and making information available on the Internet, we are starting to see a huge uptake in the number organizations. Open data across the boundaries is something where government need to take stand.