DOT and Data.gov: Nice Job Being Responsive

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I am so pleased to see the Department of Transportation and Data.gov being so incredibly responsive to the concerns we brought up regarding the lack of DOT data posted on the Data.gov platform. While we were initially disappointed that the data sets had not been posted in a timely manner as promised, it’s nice to see those in charge accepting the responsibility and taking immediate steps to fix it.

Not only has DOT posted numerous data sets less than a week after we initially brought the data discrepancy to light, but we have been publicly thanked and thoughtfully responded to by people from Data.gov and DOT.

While speaking on a panel at the Open Government Data Camp 2011 in Poland, Jeanne Holm, the Communications and Collaborations Lead for Data.gov, publicly thanked Sunlight for pointing out their error and giving them the necessary push to get the DOT data uploaded.

Daniel Morgan, a contractor who works on DOT and Data.gov, responded via Twitter, indicating that even more data sets are on their way.

This case study has demonstrated the impact and improvement that can happen literally over night when government entities are responsive. One not-so-simple investigation by an outside watchdog was all it took, and DOT and Data.gov significantly increased the accessibility of 80 DOT datasets in the space of 24 hours.

Judging on the page views as recorded by Data.gov, the 80 new datasets collectively received 73 views in the first 24 hours they were online, and 335 views within a week. That right there is a tangible, meaningful, measurable impact. And it’s only been one week.

The other three data sets, which have been on Data.gov since February 18, 2011, have collectively had almost 10,000 views. Now there are 80 data sets. Were the ratio of data sets to page views to remain the same, that would suggest that within the next eight months the new data sets will have gathered 270,000 page views.

I’m not necessarily saying that will happen, but it could not be any more clear. People are using Data.gov, and we need to ensure that it remains a top priority for funding in FY2012.

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