Top 3 Open Data/Open Government Tools

Open data and open government invariably make people ask questions. How much money does it save? Where is it located? What is it doing? These three online tools help put the overall movement into perspective.

• Open Government Portfolio Public Value Assessment Tool

Open government has the ability to drastically reduce government operating budgets and foster unlimited entrepreneurial start-ups. But how does that work out in dollars and cents, exactly? Now there is a tool to help individuals measure the fiscal impact of a given open government initiative or plan, based not only on traditional ROI, but on less tangible concepts such as overall strategic, social, or political values. The tool itself is not technologically advanced — it still uses a spreadsheet base to provide its calculations — but the service it offers is on the cutting edge of where the open government movement needs to go.

• Open Data Search (

In many ways, Open Data Search is the first phonebook for the open data era. Open data has been springing up in a variety of different global locales. Some of these sites are very well known; others are still in their obscure beta phases. Open Data Search helps users find out whether their municipality hosts open data, and what form that data takes, from Excel to Plain Text to a RDF/XML file. The site aims to keep up on developments around the world and eventually provide a larger hub for all relevant sites.

• Innovation Nation (

Perhaps one of the best organized and most graphically sophisticated of the U.S. based open data sites, Innovation Nation lists information about each state’s online services, transparency sites, governance models, and transactions per capita. It’s a fascinating and detailed glimpse into how the U.S. is slowly (and unevenly) evolving into the open government age. The site solicits visitor feedback in the form of a list of design priorities, such as security, privacy, accessibility, and content management. Most amusingly, the site also “grades” states by how well they are doing relative to their previous performance in this area. The scorecard goes from an “A” to an “F.” Luckily, no states received a failing grade this year, but South Carolina, Indiana and Idaho received a troublesome “C-.”

As first read on Technorati – Open Data/Open Government Tools

Christopher Smith. Canadian. CEO of We provide enterprise content management solutions for governments around the world.

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