For this topic area post your best ideas on Data.gov and its capabilities, including data management, dissemination, search, semantic web, evolving core modules (shared services), data infrastructure and visualization tools and more.

Solution Architecture

Definitions for every column

I just downloaded some energy data from data.gov on nuclear reactors and one of the columns is:

"NRC Unit"

I have no idea what that means? Every column or field of data should have a definition and that should be available on data.gov or in a standard format with the dataset. In this case, the data dictionary field that the catalog record links to does not have the definition of this field.

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73 votes

Solution Architecture

Custom Notifications/RSS Feeds for New Datasets

An API to provide customizable RSS feeds should be considered, to allow users to subscribe to specific thematic areas, geographic areas and so on. This way, if for example someone was interested in data on aquatic resources in the Chesapeake Bay, they could subscribe and apply filters by custom search terms, by geography of interest, thematic keywords and so on. This could either provide notices via e-mail, or by ...more »

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47 votes

Solution Architecture

Improve Browsing of Data.gov

While there are quite a few discussions on this site about search; I would like to see improved browsing via a robust taxonomy/folksonomy of topic areas. In fact, I would recommend both a top-down/bottom-up approach where you begin with a top-down taxonomy but allow it to be extended via topic area suggestions and popular keywords. As a citizen, I don't always know what I want but want to browse and see what is available. ...more »

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24 votes

Solution Architecture

Super Crunching

Require agencies to submit datasets in standard format with common metadata fields, including short and long descriptions to improve user understanding of data-set. Create a user interface that enables users to easily graph multiple time-series data sets (simple trend graphs). This will let them visually compare different data sets on relative scales. By aggregating all government data into a standard format and enabling ...more »

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23 votes

Solution Architecture

Systematically Track How People Are Using Data from Data.gov

There's no question that open data can provide citizens with more information and transparency about how government is operating and the results it's getting. But that's only half of the equation: We believe that open data produces not just more informed citizens, but also, ultimately, better government. To make that equation come true, though, we have to be vigilant about tracking how people are using data, and incorporating ...more »

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22 votes

Solution Architecture

Merge Geospatial One Stop and Data.gov

Geographic referencing adds critical context to data. It helps users quickly and easily determine whether a dataset pertains to their specific area of interest, and in the event that it does, empowers users by immediately allowing them to visualize that data, perhaps coupled with addtional datasets for informing context. Both Geospatial One Stop and Data.gov are citizen centric initiatives. Migrating and consolidating ...more »

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21 votes

Solution Architecture

Facilitate Access to Agency Web Services via Aggregation

In addition to providing Agency metadata and facilitating informed discovery of datasets, there may be a good role for Data.Gov to serve in also serving as a clearinghouse for discovering and facilitating access to datacentric agency web services, e.g. Open Geospatial Consortium Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Feature Service (WFS). In many instances, these types of services may lie scattered across and within agencies, ...more »

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23 votes

Solution Architecture

Data Hosting for National Datasets

Have Data.gov serve as a platform for serving national data. In addition to serving as a catalog, provide actual data hosting capability, e.g. hosting national framework data layers to support a wide variety of mapping (ala The National Map). Additionally, this may be of particular value to support collaborative and cross-agency efforts such as Imagery For The Nation – Imagery For The Nation (IFTN) is an attempt to ...more »

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18 votes

Solution Architecture

Add collaborative/social aspects to data.gov

In addition to the search options currently on data.gov and the spatial search capabilities discussed in other ideas, I suggest considering a third alternative: ask-a-friend. Like any forum, I post a question (for a specific dataset/service) and other users of the site may help me by pointing me to it. I could share my favorite (bookmarked) datasets with others or browse through their bookmarks to find data someone found ...more »

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14 votes

Solution Architecture

Let Collaborative Tools Drive Future Contributions

The "Collaboration" section that starts on page 9 of the draft is a great start. Over at http://groups.csail.mit.edu/haystack/blog/2009/11/23/building-a-social-data-commons/ I've listed a few more. Summarized here: 1) For each data set, provide a set of developer-generated recipes for data manipulation so that future developers can stand on the shoulders of previous users of this data set by sharing tools and techniques. ...more »

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18 votes

Solution Architecture

Don't Inflate Counts! (aka let a Dataset contain multiple files)

When searching for interesting datasets it can be very frustrating to see identical datasets (except by year) cluttering the search results. To me, this seems like just an attempt to inflate the counts by treating separate years or geography as separate datasets. Here is my proposed simple rule: If the dataset metadata fields (i.e. like "Coverage Date") are the same, it is the SAME dataset. Just because the instance ...more »

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10 votes

Solution Architecture

Data.gov Dashboard - Use FEA BRM/SRM to model dashboard measures

I would like to recommend that the Data.gov dashboard be developed (aligned) with the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Business Reference Model (BRM) and Service Component Reference Model (SRM). The BRM provides a view of the federal government’s core lines of business (the products and services it delivers to its citizens, the private sector, and other government agencies), and the SRM classifies the internal ...more »

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9 votes

Solution Architecture

Have Datasets Divided by Geography Appear as one set in search.

Data.gov would be more usable if there was not so many entries on the catalog search page taken up by one dataset which is divided up geographically. A single row in the search results which indicated the geographical divisions of the data and allowed the user to drill down to the geographic specific files would make data.gov more usable. Similarly, different versions of a dataset release on different dates (such those ...more »

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8 votes

Solution Architecture

A micro-format tag set to describe data resources on the web

We need as many on-ramps for Agencies to get data assets represented on Data.gov as possible (see my On Ramps Idea). How about a micro-format (aka small light set of tags) that could help humans, search engines and other tools identify and aggregate data resources...this could be as simple as an adapted Dublin core set. This markup could be carried on the human documentation page, or on a separate page ala sitemap.xml. ...more »

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4 votes

Solution Architecture

Make RSS Feeds Available

This entry is a consensus recommendation of seven organizations that work on government transparency of which OpenTheGovernment.org is one.

Consider making some of the datasets available as feeds that are constantly up to date, rather than as static datasets that are pulled down and then reposted on an occasional basis.

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11 votes

Solution Architecture

Data Enhancement/Manipulation Capabilities

Provide basic capability toward data enhancement/manipulation/packaging - Here, the idea would be to provide reusable infrastructure that can be used by data stewards for data enhancement, and potentially conversion and packaging. Sample use case: Data steward uploads an Excel spreadsheet containing his data, which also includes addresses and - and then uses tools provisioned by Data.gov to geocode the dataset to ...more »

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8 votes

Solution Architecture

Remove and Guard Against (Validate) "Junk" Records

I tried to download a dataset that interested me called the "Occupational Outlook Handbook". The data.gov "record" says that it is a CSV dataset. However, when you click the csv link you go to a website that does not allow you to download the dataset! The data.gov link is: http://www.data.gov/details/336 This is a failure of the simplest validation possible - a link that is supposed to be to a dataset must be tested ...more »

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7 votes

Solution Architecture

Data sets should be extensible like XBRL or RDF/OWL

Data sets should be extensible or flexible, similar to the characteristics of XBRL or RDF/OWL, rather than fixed schemas. This flexibility allows the data sets to evolve, it allows others to connect additional information to existing information. The notion of "linked data" as used by the Semantic Web people. Both XBRL and RDF/OWL are modeled as graphs which are extremely flexible. Combine these graphs with the ...more »

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7 votes

Solution Architecture

Make web-based interfaces available for public use

This entry is a consensus recommendation of seven organizations that work on government transparency of which OpenTheGovernment.org is one. Some of the currently posted files are quite large, ranging upward to several hundred megabytes. Their large size undermines their usefulness for most people or organizations. The large number of currently posted datasets also makes it difficult to find a particular database of ...more »

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7 votes

Solution Architecture

Social Media support for Executable English Q/A

Data by itself is necessary, but not enough, for practical applications. What's needed is knowledge about how to use the data to answer questions -- such as, "how much could the US save through energy independence?" There's emerging technology that leverages social media for the huge task of acquiring and curating the necessary knowledge -- in the form of executable English. One can Google "executable English" to find ...more »

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4 votes

Displaying 1 - 25 of 39 Ideas