The data whizzes at the Commerce Department want to help the public make sense of the troves of data produced by the agency.
The Commerce Data Usability Project, announced Thursday, is a public-private partnership aiming to help data scientists, programmers and other users glean insights from Commerce’s high value data sets.
Stood up by the Commerce Data Service — a group like the General services Administration’s digital team 18F deployed inside Commerce to create and develop projects around data — the tutorials offer everyone from students to developers to entrepreneurs a way to discover, process and visualize data.
“We aspire to go beyond just making our data open — we want to make it useful, accessible and actionable,” wrote Tyrone Grandison, deputy chief data officer at the department. “Open data is just the first step to opening up knowledge, and we believe that contextualization and illumination are a critical part of data delivery.”
The project debuted Thursday with four tutorials:
- Analyze the risk of hail damage using NOAA’s Severe Weather Data Inventory.
- Identify patterns in cyber security vulnerabilities using NIST’s National Vulnerability Database.
- Approximate population through nighttime satellite data with NOAA’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite.
- Assist organizations to target communities to serve using Census’ American Community Survey.
Additionally, private companies, including MapBox, Earth Genome, Microsoft and Zillow, plan to create their own tutorials showing how they use Commerce Department data.
The data service says it will roll out new tutorials in coming months.
The department, which Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker calls “America’s Data Agency,” has been aggressive with its data projects over the past year. Since naming Ian Kalin chief data officer last March, the department has revamped its agency data portal, created an advisory committee to help the department find different ways to use the vast data troves it oversees and created the Commerce Data Service.
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