Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has launched Data.gov, serving up federal datasets in standard formats like XML, CSV and geo-formats KML/KMZ and ESRI.
Discussing the site in the Times, Saul Hansell notes:
The value of this, of course, is that when information is made available this way, then anyone can analyze it or write a program to do so. The Sunlight Foundation is running a contest to find the best applications that use this data.
There’s been some criticism of the site because it is starting with a rather small number of data sets. (A private site, USGovXML.com, has already accumulated more links to government data in XML formats.) But there is a difference between someone accumulating a list of data already published and the White House putting its weight behind an initiative to unlock government information in standard formats.
This is just data, of course. Citizens need apps. Hence Apps for America 2, a contest for developers to do something will the released data. Sponsors include Google, O'Reilly, Craig Newmark, and Gov 2.0 Expo.
OK, get to work.