The Future of Open Geospatial Data for Analysis and Mapping
Civic data published by public agencies serves as a valuable asset enabling access to information that may have been previously unavailable, unobtainable or costly. The role of open, publicly accessible data is multi-faceted. This liberated data improves the transparency of government operations and encourages economic and community development by empowering the public to use data as a resource. Additionally, open data can start a dialog between the government and its community which results in the opportunity for important civic collaboration.
Most importantly for cartographic and spatial analysis professionals, freely available open data encourages the improvement of data quality because it provides public oversight in the maintenance and organization of data. If published properly, it can also invite submission of corrections and improvements. Additionally, the accessibility of this data makes it substantially easier to discover and download. This allows analysts to swiftly gather data and craft their spatial questions around these data sets. The public availability of data promotes communication among data providers and public users which can illuminate additional research questions and analysis opportunities.
The high profile release of open data has gained much momentum recently. There are now hundreds of cities, states and countries that operate thriving data portals. The benefits offered – economic development, transparency and citizen engagement – are proof of the value of open initiatives. But what lies ahead for the future of Open Geospatial data? How will cities evolve to meet the needs of both producers and consumers of data? How will data providers share ideas and learn from each other to create a more sustainable and harmonious community around open data? This talk will present specific examples on how open geospatial data is maturing to become a thriving force supporting the analytical and visualization needs of both civic and business partners.