The Open Government Initiative calls for technology leaders to help harness the power of open data. But what does that mean for people who actually want to dig into the data for real insights?
One example is eRegulations Insights, a set of online public dashboards and visualizations designed to help anyone understand the tone of public response to regulations and legislative proposals, recognize issues of concern within public responses and identify primary influencers who are mobilizing public engagement around proposals.
ERegulations Insights includes more than 1.1 million public comments submitted on Regulations.gov from January 1, 2012, onward, and it is updated daily as new comments are made available.
So what insights can been found in this public data?
- More than 356,000 comments were received in the first quarter of 2014, compared with 408,476 comments for all of 2013 and 372,525 in 2012.
- Nearly 40 percent of all comments since 2012 were driven by just three issues: preventive services under the Affordable Care Act, guidance for tax-exempt social welfare organizations on candidate-related political activities, and national interest determination for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline.
- The National Park Service receives the highest positive sentiment score of any federal agency.
The dashboards were built by Splunk4Good, the social responsibility initiative at Splunk, in response to the Data to Knowledge to Action initiative led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).