Policy

It is the law that Federal government data be accessible and inventoried

Recent laws have the potential of creating a smarter and more efficient government by properly managing and openly sharing data, which will enable better decision making.

The Geospatial Data Act of 2018 and the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act of 2019 (also known as the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policy Making Act) have created a new playing field for data creators and users. The old days of leaving to chance or goodwill the availability and usefulness of all our good data have now been replaced by the creation of a regulatory framework. These acts address the importance of sharing data, making it openly available and usable, and applying it to inform decision-making.

Geospatial Data Act

The Geospatial Data Act’s key purpose is to make sure these data are managed as a strategic asset, openly shared and usable. Implementation is government-wide, and each agency shall have open standards and formats. These standards ensure interoperable sharing of these data.

OPEN Act

The OPEN Act’s key purpose is to ensure all data is open, machine-readable, standards based, secure, and accessible. This applies government wide and requires each agency to make their data open unless there is a good reason why it should not be. 

The OPEN Act says that all designated departments and agencies will develop and maintain a comprehensive data inventory for all data assets created by or collected by the agency. These data inventories will feed into a government-wide data catalog, which will be available to entities both inside and outside the government.

Agencies are also required to designate a Chief Data Officer who shall be responsible for lifecycle data management and other specified functions. 

Another important purpose of the OPEN Act is to use data, statistics, and analysis to inform and evaluate policies. Each agency shall have a chief evidence officer and identify "evidence-building" data for use in policy-making.