U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Expansion and Enhancement of Commerce Data Programs

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Submitted on July 14, 2014 - 4:38pm

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Monday, July 14, 2014
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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Expansion and Enhancement of Commerce Data Programs

Department will hire first-ever Chief Data Officer

As “America’s Data Agency,” the Department of Commerce is prepared and well-positioned to foster the next phase in the open data revolution. In line with President Obama’s Year of Action, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced a series of steps taken to enhance and expand the data programs at the Department.

“Data is a key pillar of the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” and for the first time, we have made it a department-wide strategic priority,” said Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “No other department can rival the reach, depth and breadth of the Department of Commerce’s data programs. The Department of Commerce is working to unleash more of its data to strengthen the nation’s economic growth; make its data easier to access, understand, and use; and maximize the return of data investments for businesses, entrepreneurs, government, taxpayers, and communities.”

Secretary Pritzker made a number of major announcements today as a special guest speaker at the Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (Esri) User Conference in San Diego, California. She discussed the power and potential of open data, recognizing that data not only enable start-ups and entrepreneurs, move markets, and empower companies large and small, but also touch the lives of Americans every day.

In her remarks, Secretary Pritzker outlined new ways the Department of Commerce is working to unlock the potential of even more open data to make government smarter, including the following:

Chief Data Officer

Today, Secretary Pritzker announced the Commerce Department will hire its first-ever Chief Data Officer. This leader will be responsible for developing and implementing a vision for the future of the diverse data resources at Commerce.

The new Chief Data Officer will pull together a platform for all data sets; instigate and oversee improvements in data collection and dissemination; and ensure that data programs are coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic.

The Chief Data Officer will hold the key to unlocking more government data to help support a data-enabled Department and economy.

Trade Developer Portal

The International Trade Administration has launched its “Developer Portal,” an online toolkit to put diverse sets of trade and investment data in a single place, making it easier for the business community to use and better tap into the 95 percent of American customers that live overseas.

In creating this portal, the Commerce Department is making its data public to software developers, giving them access to authoritative information on U.S. exports and international trade to help U.S. businesses export and expand their operations in overseas markets. The developer community will be able to integrate the data into applications and mashups to help U.S. business owners compete abroad while also creating more jobs here at home.

Data Advisory Council

Open data requires open dialogue. To facilitate this, the Commerce Department is creating a data advisory council, comprised of 15 private sector leaders that will advise the Department on the best use of government data.

This new advisory council will help Commerce maximize the value of its data by:

  • discovering how to deliver data in more usable, timely, and accessible ways;
  • improving how data is utilized and shared to make businesses and governments more responsive, cost-effective, and efficient;
  • better anticipating customers’ needs; and
  • collaborating with the private sector to develop new data products and services. 

The council’s primary focus will be on the accessibility and usability of Commerce data, as well as the transformation of the Department’s supporting infrastructure and procedures for managing data. 

These data leaders will represent a broad range of business interests—reflecting the wide range of scientific, statistical, and other data that the Department of Commerce produces. Members will serve two-year terms and will meet about four times a year. The advisory council will be housed within the Economics and Statistics Administration. 

Commerce data inform decisions that help make government smarter, keep businesses more competitive and better inform citizens about their own communities – with the potential to guide up to $3.3 trillion in investments in the United States each year.

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