The motivation with this diagram is that the government open data movement has largely failed to live up to its early hype though there’s still tremendous potential. That may sound harsh though if we’re honest with ourselves the explosion of apps promised in the original Obama open by default EO didn’t happen.
There was a lot of consensus at the first CKAN summit in the US earlier this year though that we’ve gotten through the “trough of disillusionment” in the standard hype cycle and are on to the plateau of productivity. Lots of less sexy though subtle open data wins.
Particularly at the local government level that requires collaboration across municipalities to provide technical capacity (only 0.64% of cities have an open data portal) to deploy the data infrastructure required to make this work not another burden of civil servants.
There’s lots of exciting projects to securely share the raw, often PII underlying data (UCLA Policy Lab, CUSP data facility etc) which provides the infrastructure for more meaningful open data as well as lots of research benefits – like ARGO’s “California model” for data collaboratives.
Those computational social science research benefits aren’t as sexy as a shiny new app though have huge long term benefits in achieving delivery driven government. Getting that deep data infrastructure can also enable streamlining the existing reporting required of muni’s. For example:
-See here for the three separate sets of reports that California urban water utilities are required to submit
Every local gov across the country is required to submit a consolidated annual financial report (CAFR) per the government accounting standards board (GASB) rules. GASB is just an NGO though adherence is required by the muni financial markets. The open data work in this space led by Socrata / Open Gov etc (note all private vendors, which is a whole other issue) hasn’t gotten as deep as CAFRs yet, they’re still doing budgeting data stuff
Those are some early thoughts and greatly appreciate feedback as we’d like to sharpen this notion of the iceberg of open data to be most useful to the community. Thanks much!