Which restaurants violate health codes and other insights from open data

Open data initiatives are all the rage among governments around the world, meaning the answers to lots of interesting questions are at your fingertips

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The city of Amsterdam makes data like the locations of green rooftops available

Image credit: amsterdam.nl

Last week the Obama Administration announced its Open Data Policy, which requires federal agencies and departments to make their data available in machine readable formats and is meant to make government more open and accessible through technology. A number of federal agencies have already made their data available in this way, and many others are in the process of doing so. It turns out that similar open data initiatives have also been put in place by local and foreign governments.

At the local level here in the U.S., 39 states and 35 cities and counties have begun to make government data available through open data web sites. They allow us to answer questions such as:

Outside of the U.S., 41 countries and 133 regional governments have created open data sites of their own. You can find some interesting stuff amongst all those data such as:

Even some international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union are making data available in this way. Their data will let you answer some broad demographic questions like:

You get the idea. Thanks to these initiatives there are quite a bit of data now freely available and easily accessible for people to study, create apps with or simply peruse for pleasure on a rainy day. Have at it! 

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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