We are excited to share ArcGIS Open Data to the public. Starting today any ArcGIS Online organization can enable open data, specify open data groups and create and publicize their open data through a simple, hosted and best practices web application. Originally previewed at FedGIS ArcGIS Open Data is now public beta where we will be working with the community on feedback, ideas, improvements and integrations to ensure that it exemplifies the opportunity of true open sharing of data.
There are two sides to open data, sharing and using, and something we continuously considered in designing and developing capabilities.
Sharing Open Data
For you Data Providers, you can participate in open data in a few ways. Foremost you can specify open data groups and items in your organization. By doing so, you indicate to the community that this data is open to be shared, downloaded, and reused in other open data sites and applications. You don’t need to actually host your own site for your data to be valuable to others.
Secondly, for Data Providers that want to have branded and specific view to your open data, you can configure one or multiple sites and make them public for anyone to discover and explore. And because you can include groups from other organizations, it means that you can leverage the global community of open data that may be relevant to your users.
Read the docs on how to get started. You really can do this in a few minutes. This new application leverages your ArcGIS Online organization subscription and can also connect in with the open-source GeoPortal Server if you have more metadata needs. Try it yourself or talk with your account manager.
Using Open Data
On the other side, Data Consumers such as citizens, businesses and developers can begin using their local open data sites to quickly access and download data in a variety of common formats: KML, Spreadsheet (CSV), Shapefile, GeoJSON and GeoServices. As the US Open Data Institute recently noted suggested the impact to opening government data if software had ‘Export as JSON’ by default. That’s what you now have. Users can also subscribe to the RSS feed of updates and comments about any dataset in order to keep up with new releases or relevant supporting information.
As many of you are likely aware, the reality of these two perspectives are not far apart. It is often easiest for organizations to collaborate with one another by sharing data to the public. In government, making data openly available means departments within the organization can also easily find and access this data just as much as public users can.
Data Driven Detroit a great example of organizations sharing data. They were able to leverage their existing data to quickly publish open data such as census, education or housing. As someone who lived near Detroit, I can attest to the particular local love and passion the people have for their city and state – and how open data empowers citizens and businesses to be part of the solution to local issues.
You can also explore Open Data from Esri to see the application in action and get some data to use in your applications. A number of government agencies are already configuring their sites and will be public soon. And if you want data from your local government, make sure to tell them to checkout ArcGIS Open Data – it’s by far the easiest way for them to share it with you.
As we mentioned, this is just the beginning. We are sure that as you start exploring sharing open data in your groups, publicizing open data sites, and exploring and downloading data that you will have a lot of ideas for what could be better. Please join our forums to share your thoughts and feedback.
There are also a lot of other features under the hood that we’ll be highlighting in some follow on articles.