Socrata Launches the Open Data Network to Unleash the Full Potential of Government Data and Drive Sustained Prosperity in Connected Communities All Over the World

Posted July 15th, 2014

By Bill Glenn

Cloud Software Company Will Be the Convener for the Open Data Network to Help Governments, Companies, Citizens, Entrepreneurs and App Developers Form Vital Data Ecosystem

Leading Real Estate Marketplace, Zillow, to Serve as Charter Partner in the Open Data Network’s Housing and Real Estate Industry, Focused on Standardizing and Contextualizing Key Datasets

Seattle – July 15, 2014 – Socrata (www.socrata.com), a Seattle-based cloud software company focused exclusively on democratizing access to government data, today announced the launch of the Open Data Network, which will unleash the full potential of government data and help drive sustained prosperity in connected communities all over the world.

Bringing together a vast and connected ecosystem of participants – governments that are open data publishers and consumers; businesses that incorporate and use government data; citizens; and civic developers and entrepreneurs who use open data to build service delivery apps – the Open Data Network will encompass 25-30 industries, each with its own unique and valuable dataset.

Ultimately, the Open Data Network’s participant base will increase and include a host of new and different participants – educational institutions and healthcare providers, for example – in addition to governments, companies, entrepreneurs and civic developers.

The first Open Data Network industry to roll out will be housing and real estate; over time, this will be followed by financial, citizen services, public safety, health, environment, education and transportation. Eventually, each industry will become its own network as it adds legions of participants, and the Open Data Network, itself, will become a network of networks. 

Open Data – Moving From Digital Catalogs to Technology Platforms to Connected Networks

“The Open Data Network represents the next phase of the open data continuum,” says Kevin Merritt, founder and CEO of Socrata. “Open data has grown in utility and value over the past decade. It started out as a basic digital catalog; then it developed into a broader-based technology platform; and now it’s going to become the life-blood of connected networks. Thanks to the concentrated critical mass of 150 blue-chip government customers who rely on our open data platform, and the data we’ve collected, enhanced and enriched through the platform, Socrata will be the convener for the Open Data Network, helping governments, companies, entrepreneurs and app developers form vital data syndication alliances. These companies, in particular, are eager to leverage this government data and incorporate it into their business and consumer services.” 

Adds Safouen Rabah, Vice President of Product at Socrata: “In launching the Open Data Network, Socrata is spearheading a significant technology disruption, which means that we can help define the open data consumer experience going forward by connecting multiplying end points and allowing publishers and consumers to come together and form a network. We’re taking a much larger pool of open data and maximizing its network value for government, business and citizens.”  

Opening, Publishing and Contextualizing Government Datasets for Housing and Real Estate

Zillow®, the leading real estate marketplace on mobile and the Web, will be Socrata’s charter partner in the Open Data Network’s housing and real estate industry.

Zillow was a pioneer in bringing public data about homes to consumers, and the company continues to innovate in that space. Through the Open Data Network, Zillow will have the opportunity to access more varied datasets and continue its work of turning data into knowledge for consumers. 

“Homes are so much more than just places to live,” says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “They are the building blocks of our communities. Bringing not just real estate data, but all public data, out of the shadows and into the light is critical in ensuring our communities remain vibrant and healthy. We are excited to work with Socrata and other open data pioneers in ensuring that data is not only opened, but also standardized, made useful, and given important context so it can empower consumers, policymakers and academics to make the most informed decisions possible.”

Other housing and real estate industry partners participating in Socrata’s Open Data Network include: SiteCompli, Civic Insight, Appallicious, BasicGov, Ontodia, DRiVEdecisions, and Buildingeye.

“Socrata has been an instrumental part of the movement to make government data accessible to the public,” says Ross Goldenberg, Co-Founder of SiteCompli. “The Open Data Network is the next logical step as it helps unite stakeholders, empowering them to collaborate and realize the maximum value of the data for them, government and citizens. SiteCompli is excited Socrata has created this well-needed piece of the puzzle and is excited to be a part of helping move the open data initiative forward.”

The first three Socrata government customers to become members of the Open Data Network are the cities of San Francisco, Dallas and Kansas City, Missouri. Each will contribute its open data specific to the housing and real estate industry.  

“Open data helps people accomplish their goals,” says Bill Finch, Chief Information Officer for Dallas. “We believe that sharing data within a network of innovators makes our data more useful and more valuable to citizens, companies and communities.”

Supporting Network Standards To Make Open Data Sharable, Comparable and Benchmarkable

Socrata – as well as its partners and customers – will join forces to support standards for the Open Data Network. The ultimate goal is to make the open data sharable, comparable, inter-operable and benchmarkable across governments. In the end, entrepreneurs, companies and app developers must be able to efficiently access open data on both a national and global scale.

In the meantime, Socrata and its partners will stimulate a powerful multiplier effect for participating governments through the Open Data Network. This multiplier effect will be generated by:

  • Providing not only data, but also technical resources and commercialization opportunities for app developers.
  • Developing a web-scale data syndication pipeline to consumer Internet services used by millions of people every day. 
  • Creating network data products that bring the latest innovations in big data analytics to every government organization on the network. 

“Socrata serves multiple industries with our Open Data Network strategy,” explains Merritt, Socrata’s CEO, “and we continue to add increasingly more value to the data that we handle through curation, normalization, connection via APIs, mash ups, feeds, benchmarking and analytics, for example. The depth and breadth of our open data services are significant.”

A Key Open Data Network Objective – Creating a Three-Dimensional Approach to Government

A key objective with the Open Data Network is to create a three-dimensional approach to government, so that the public sector is no longer just a service dispensary.

The Open Data Network’s first dimension of benefit is for government itself. Socrata’s new Open Data Network will help the public sector achieve even greater operational efficiency and data-driven decision-making, fueled by better and broader access to its own data, which will now be extracted from silos.

The Open Data Network’s second dimension of benefit is for citizens. Socrata’s new Open Data Network will drive critical government data into their daily lives and activities.

And the Open Data Network’s third dimension of benefit is economic impact. By building out the new Open Data Network, Socrata hopes to stimulate significant job creation, as well as the development of new companies and the emergence of entirely new industries for the 21st century.

“The conventional view right now is that the public sector trails the private sector when it comes to innovation in the 21st century,” says Robert Runge, a member of Socrata’s Board of Directors. “But we believe that government is leading, not lagging, the new economy – and the reason is its adoption and distribution of open data – as well as its willingness to join the Open Data Network.”

About Socrata

Socrata is the cloud software company focused exclusively on democratizing access to government data. Its solutions help government leaders improve transparency, modernize citizen access to information and bring facts into every decision – all with unprecedented speed and cost savings. Delivered as turnkey cloud services, Socrata’s data consumerization products unlock data in enterprise silos and transform it into useful information that everyone can easily access, visualize, share and reuse. To learn more about Socrata, visit www.socrata.com or follow us on Twitter @socrata.

Contact

Bill Glenn
VP, Marketing
Socrata, Inc.
bill.glenn@socrata.com
206-465-3228