5Things on Friday 35 – OpenData and 5 Awesome OpenData Resources

Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open data movement are similar to those of other “Open” movements such as open source, open hardware, open content, and open access. This week our 5Things on Friday feature has a focus on Open Data – enjoy!

ArcGIS OpenData

In Feb. 2015 Esri announced a new site aimed to help citizens discover organizations sharing open data around the world and provide direct access to thousands of open government datasets. Citizens can search, download, filter, and visualize this data through their web browser or mobile device. Any organization can make its data available through ArcGIS Open Data, and people can now discover this data at opendata.arcgis.com. At the time of launch the site provides access to 23,024 Open Datasets from 1,483 Organizations Worldwide that are using ArcGIS Online to serve and host their data.

arcgis opendata

The US ED Data Inventory

The goal of the ED Data Inventory is to describe all data reported to the Department of Education, with the exception of personnel and administrative data. It includes data collected as part of grant activities, along with statistical data collected to allow publication of valuable statistics about the state of education in this country. The ED Data Inventory includes descriptive information about each data collection, along with information on the specific data elements in individual collections.

Google Public Data Explorer

A little known resource from Google is the public data explorer. The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. This resource seems somewhat like a work in progress or Beta effort, however, even with limited data it does seem quite interesting and useful. Start the search by browsing data providers (roughly 130 at time of writing) with most of the data being from Europe and America. Of interest, the public data explorer allows users to upload and share their data and they provide supporting documentation as well (see http://www.google.com/publicdata/admin)

OpenStreetMap – map of the people

There’s no other single resource that has made an impact on the World and the topic of opendata that OpenStreetMap (OSM)… simply put, OpenStreetMap is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world. The focus, and strength, of OSM is the emphasis on local knowledge and community. Contributors are an army of mapping enthusiasts from all corners of the Globe. According to the official website, OpenStreetMap is open data: you are free to use it for any purpose as long as you credit OpenStreetMap and its contributors.



browse reports, assessments, graphics, visualizations, and indicators of climate change (new!). Plus, find special collections of resources related to climate change adaptation, education, coastal resilience, and impacts on health. This page provides access to select relevant resources generated or sponsored by the U.S. Government and other authoritative scientific bodies.


Data.gov – The home of the U.S. Government’s open data – Here you will find data, tools, and resources to conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, design data visualizations, and more. The heart of the portal is the Data section which, at the time of writing, contained links to more than 90,000 datasets made available by 229 organizations. Data range from documents to geospatial data products. Typically, data are provided as downloadable files in html, WMS, CSV, JSON, XML and other popular data formats. In addition to data, Data.gov also houses applications and pointers to apps developed using opendata. A developer section houses APIs, links to related open source projects, information about competitions and hackathons, and links to downloadable products on Github. The site itself is opensource and complete source code has been made available at https://github.com/GSA/data.gov/ – imagine creating your very own opendata portal based on Data.gov! Twitter: @usdatagov

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GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.

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