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Open Data

Calling all great examples of open government data

There are so many great examples of open government data being published.  We've linked to some of them at, but so many more exist.  What sites do you know of?  Which countries are making their data more open and their operations more transparent?


College Data

We created this student loan calculator, college savings planner and price esitmator using open education data.  It's a new twist on the traditional financial calculator as we're using a database of college prices to pre-populate loan calculations for virtually any school in the US.  Keep up the fine work keeping government data open!

College Data

Using Education Data we built a student loan calculator, college savings planner and future price estimator  Website visitors can navigate to the school of their choice, then we feed the per college data into our caclulators to present school specific financial analysis.  Thanks for sharing all this governent data! 

Over 850,000 datasets from around the world.

I have been remiss in not mentioning this here, but at RPI we have been collecting the metadata for open government datasets from around the world.  At the time of this writing, we have found over 850,000 datasets from 153 catalogs from 35 countries and international organizations.  The metadata itself is downloadable from our site, and we also provide a faceted search tool over a federated catalog of all these datasets.  You can see our work at which will let you explore the metadata and link you to the actual data sharing sites. 

 Please let us know if you know good sites that we are missing, we're driving to reach 1,000,000 sites in the next couple of months, and would welcome suggestions.

(We note that this is an unsupported academic effort, so please let us know if you encounter problems)


Well,  I think it will take me hours, if not days, to really understand how the data were sampled and scored. :)

Flash Animations

Using data for teaching middle school students about statistics

Using census data, I prepared a presentation on inequality in America to teach middle school students about statistics. I gave the presentation to six classes at a school in Watts and it went over so well, I was invited to present at a second middle school in downtown LA. I was very surprised how interested and involved the students were.

It's more than data

All the talk of apps for everything troubles me. Has no one ever heard of a Type I error? The idea that we will have everyone and their grandmother compare X1 -- x9763256   and then leap on the significant results seems like a pretty bad strategy.

Working with data for more than half my (relatively long) life, I think it is more than a cross-tabulation of A and B. For example, I downloaded the TIMSS data on mathematics and science achievement. I think it will take me hours, if not days, to really understand how the data were sampled and scored. Running the programs to merge the datasets and crank out frequencies or correlations I could do in half an hour, but I don't think output of a number is the same as analysis.

I think open data is a GREAT idea but I just don't see many people speaking up and saying, "It's not all that simple to produce usable results."

Praise for Executable English and Suggestion for Comments

Adrian, Great suggestion and example! I have done something similar at Please see if you can extract the data from Spotfire and do the same thing as you did with the DoE data. You can click on the down arrow in the Spotfire Data Table banners to download the data tables as CSV and run your Executable English on them. I look forward to seeing how this works. First I have the Mashup-of-Mashups Catalog which is a federation of the Apps and second the Build Your Own which is a federation of the Catalogs.

Note: Jeanne, It would be nice if one could execute the links in these comments to easy see what is being referred to rather than having to cut and paste the URL.

Executable English

Wondering what happens when there are more Apps than people in the world?  

At the current rate, that could happen soon!

How about a single Meta-App that allows you to write Executable English into a a browser, then run it over databases, and get English explanations of the results?

What if Google searches the Executable English, so that you can find the App that you want?

There's emerging technology that does this, live on the web now.

Here's an example spanning DOE and other data that you can view, run and change using a browser:

and a presentation (Flash video with audio)

There are many other examples online at , and you are cordially invited to write and run your own "EE Apps".

Shared use is free, and there are no advertisements.

List of Open Data Sites

Here's a couple resources I put together

List of governments with open data sites here

List of app contests here


Great ideas--keep them coming

Thanks Ellie, Aftab, Corbett, and Philip.  Great examples, and we'll get these up and linked on the site.

I see we are also missing Finland.  Will update from results from the Twitter feed too.  Thanks!

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