Archive for the ‘eGov’ Category

White House to open source Data.gov as open government data platform

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

White House to open source Data.gov as open government data platform by Alex Howard.

From the post:

As 2011 comes to an end, there are 28 international open data platforms in the open government community. By the end of 2012, code from new “Data.gov-in-a-box” may help many more countries to stand up their own platforms. A partnership between the United States and India on open government has borne fruit: progress on making the open data platform Data.gov open source.

In a post this morning at the WhiteHouse.gov blog, federal CIO Steven VanRoekel (@StevenVDC) and federal CTO Aneesh Chopra (@AneeshChopra) explained more about how Data.gov is going global:

As part of a joint effort by the United States and India to build an open government platform, the U.S. team has deposited open source code — an important benchmark in developing the Open Government Platform that will enable governments around the world to stand up their own open government data sites.

The development is evidence that the U.S. and India are indeed still collaborating on open government together, despite India’s withdrawal from the historic Open Government Partnership (OGP) that launched in September. Chopra and VanRoekel explicitly connected the move to open source Data.gov to the U.S. involvement in the Open Government Partnership today. While we’ll need to see more code and adoption to draw substantive conclusions on the outcomes of this part of the plan, this is clearly progress.

Data.gov in a boxThe U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government, which represents the U.S. commitment to the OGP, included some details about this initiative two months ago, building upon a State Department fact sheet that was released in July. Back in August, representatives from India’s National Informatics Center visited the United States for a week-long session of knowledge sharing with the U.S. Data.gov team, which is housed within the General Services Administration.

“The secretary of state and president have both spent time in India over the past 18 months,” said VanRoekel in an interview today. “There was a lot of dialogue about the power of open data to shine light upon what’s happening in the world.”

The project, which was described then as “Data.gov-in-a-box,” will include components of the Data.gov open data platform and the India.gov.in document portal. Now, the product is being called the “Open Government Platform” — not exactly creative, but quite descriptive and evocative of open government platforms that have been launched to date. The first collection of open source code, which describes a data management system, is now up on GitHub.

During the August meetings, “we agreed upon a set of things we would do around creating excellence around an open data platform,” said VanRoekel. “We owned the first deliverable: a dataset management tool. That’s the foundation of an open source data platform. It handles workflow, security and the check in of data — all of the work that goes around getting the state data needs to be in before it goes online. India owns the next phase: the presentation layer.”

If the initiative bears fruit in 2012, as planned, the international open government data movement will have a new tool to apply toward open data platforms. That could be particularly relevant to countries in the developing world, given the limited resources available to many governments.

What’s next for open government data in the United States has yet to be written. “The evolution of data.gov should be one that does things to connect to web services or an API key manager,” said VanRoekel. “We need to track usage. We’re going to double down on the things that are proving useful.”

Interests which already hold indexes of government documents should find numerous opportunities when government platforms provide opportunities for mapping into agency data as part of open government platforms.

Code For America

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Code For America

I hesitated over this post. But, being willing to promote topic maps for governments, near-governments, governments in the wings, wannabe governments and groups of various kinds opposed by governments, I should not stick at nationalistic or idealistic groups in the United States.

Projects that will benefit from topic maps in government circles work as well in Boston as Mogadishu and Kandahar.

With some adaptation for local goals and priorities but the underlying technical principles remain the same.

At 9/11, the siloed emergency responders could not effectively communicate with each other. Care to guess who can’t effectively communicate with each other in most major metropolitan areas? Just one example of the siloed nature of state, local and city government (To use U.S.-centric terminology. Supply your own local terminology.)

Keep an eye out for the software that is open sourced as a result of this project. Maybe adaptable to your local circumstances or silo. Or you may need a topic map.

Decision Support for e-Governance: A Text Mining Approach

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Decision Support for e-Governance: A Text Mining Approach by G.Koteswara Rao, and Shubhamoy Dey.

Abstract:

Information and communication technology has the capability to improve the process by which governments involve citizens in formulating public policy and public projects. Even though much of government regulations may now be in digital form (and often available online), due to their complexity and diversity, identifying the ones relevant to a particular context is a non-trivial task. Similarly, with the advent of a number of electronic online forums, social networking sites and blogs, the opportunity of gathering citizens’ petitions and stakeholders’ views on government policy and proposals has increased greatly, but the volume and the complexity of analyzing unstructured data makes this difficult. On the other hand, text mining has come a long way from simple keyword search, and matured into a discipline capable of dealing with much more complex tasks. In this paper we discuss how text-mining techniques can help in retrieval of information and relationships from textual data sources, thereby assisting policy makers in discovering associations between policies and citizens’ opinions expressed in electronic public forums and blogs etc. We also present here, an integrated text mining based architecture for e-governance decision support along with a discussion on the Indian scenario.

The principles of subject identity could usefully inform many aspects of this “project.” I hesitate to use the word “project” for an effort that will eventually involve twenty-two (22) official languages, several scripts and governance of several hundred million people.

A good starting point for learning about the issues facing e-Governance in India.

Design: Build the Mobile Gov Toolkit

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Design: Build the Mobile Gov Toolkit

Tim O’Reilly tweeted this link.

Deadline for comments: 2 September 2011

From the post:

Your recommendations will help build an open, dynamic toolset–on a public wiki–to help agencies create and implement citizen-centric mobile gov services.

We are focusing on five areas.

  1. Policies: Tell us about policy gaps or ideas to support building mobile programs.
  2. Practices: What would jumpstart your efforts? Templates? Standards? Examples? Can you share your templates, standards, business cases?
  3. Partnerships: With whom and how can we work together?
  4. Products: What are your ideas for apps, mobile sites, text programs, mashups?
  5. Promotions: What are some great ways to spread the word?
  6. Do you have another category? You can add that, too.

What should we tell them about topic maps?