The Government of India launched the presentation layer of the Open Government Platform, a joint product from India and United States to promote transparency and greater citizen engagement by making more government data, documents, tools and processes publicly available. The site is currently available in a limited alpha release.
Thought of as “data.gov-in-a-box,” the platform is part of President Obama’s U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government that details the steps the United States will take in meeting the Open Government Partnership, an initiative that secures concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
By making this available in useful machine-readable formats it allows developers, analysts, media and academia to develop new applications and insights that will help give citizens more information for better decisions.
In using an open source method of development, the OGPL community will provide future technology enhancements, open government solutions and community-based technical support.
OGPL’s initial release will contain the essential features for a government to establish an open data capability. It is expected, using open source methodologies, that the global developer community will continue to expand and evolve the initial release to bring in improvements and new functionality. Initially, OGPL will provide governments the ability to:
- Publish government data, documents, apps, tools & services from multiple departments within a government
- Build on Web 2.0 open-source technologies with low-cost scalable infrastructure
- Engage Citizens in their open data initiatives for better understanding of their needs
- Provide publicly available application programming interfaces (APIs) and other tools to add external software modules for data visualization, wizards, and other purposes
- Create data-rich community spaces around topics of national priorities and international interest
- Empower end-users to share datasets via social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
The United States deposited the code for the Open Government Platform to the open source repository Github in December, marking the first major benchmark in developing the product.
In an interview with FedScoop at the time, Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said the code deposit announced today mirrors the back-end data set management system of data.gov. The government of India is now working on the presentation layer of the project, VanRoekel said. There is also a massive amount of work being done to localize the platform, making it available in a wide-variety of languages used around the world.
VanRoekel told FedScoop it is important to use open source for this project to help with licensing it across the globe, but also to inspire a spirit of collaboration.
“We encourage people to take the source code we upload and help make modifications, contribute to it and focus on a spirit of global continuous improvement,” VanRoekel told FedScoop.