Opening up on 'Open Data' | Business Spectator
"Open data initiatives being embraced by governments around the world will generate major economic and social benefits, but the process must extend beyond simply releasing gigabytes of raw data. Each year, governments collect vast quantities of information as a by-product of programs undertaken and services provided. The resulting data sets cover everything from population demographics and health records to business and trade trends. As part of a growing belief in the benefits of open data, these massive data stores are being made available to the private sector and general public. It's been shown that such openness can lead to insights and advances that would previously have been impossible. Business consultants McKinsey & Co estimate open data initiatives could unlock more than $US 3 trillion of economic value through stimulation of innovation and improvements in decision making. In Australia, the Federal Government is pursuing an open data agenda. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged that, to be useful, data released must be free to use, easily discoverable and machine-readable. Just last week the Minister launched a study, The Open Data 500, to explore how Australian organisations are using government data sets to generate new business, develop new products and services, improve business operations or create social value. However, to truly deliver the promised benefits, governments must do more than simply open the data floodgates. They need to invest in platforms that enable intelligent analysis of that data. An example is the popular online tool offered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The tool allows users to create tables, maps and graphs using data from a diverse range of official sources—primarily census data but also statistics on topics such as migration, healthcare, crime, education and employment. Users can slice and dice data sets and combine statistics from different areas to create unique insights ..."