Washington, D.C. October 28, 2016 – The Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC) today delivered to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker recommendations on how to best advance the Commerce Department’s data mission at the Council’s final meeting of 2016 (view the meeting live), held at the U.S. Department of Commerce. See the Council’s recommendations report.
“In just a year and a half, CDAC has proven to be an indispensable partner in advancing the Commerce Department’s open data efforts. As top experts from across the public, private, and non-profit sectors, their ideas have helped make stronger data collection and dissemination part of our Department’s DNA– now and in the years to come,” said Secretary Pritzker.
"As Commerce advances our mission to democratize our data for people from all walks of life – the fuel of the Digital Economy and opportunity – and promote data equality in America, we deeply appreciate the advice, counsel and outside insight from CDAC that reflects some of the digital sector's top thought leaders," said Justin Antonipillai, Counselor to Secretary Penny Pritzker and leader of the Department’s Data Strategic Plan. "It’s heartening to see that for many of CDAC’s recommendations, we are already advancing along the right path. These recommendations will further strengthen our efforts now and into the future."
Listed below are highlights of actions the Department has undertaken in recent months that are in line with the CDAC recommendations:
- Dramatically expand access to raw data.
Commerce is preparing to release the first ever US-EU open data project; a new library in the R coding language which will allow apples to apples comparisons of economic activity down to the regional level. The new tool will make it easier for economists, journalists, businesses and the public to analyze and create visualizations, for a better understanding of our economic connectivity and opportunities.
Recently, the Bureau of Economic Analysis also launched its own open-source library for GDP and other key economic figures using the statistical programming language “R.” This new “bea-R Library,” allows economists, data scientists, and academics to obtain, combine, and analyze information from multiple datasets more efficiently.
- Make Commerce data more useable.
We have held a hackathon to create “skills” for Amazon’s voice operated Alexa operating system, making Census’s aggregated economic and demographic data available to millions of Americans to help answer almost any question users of the Amazon Echo and other products can throw at them.
By leading the Opportunity Project, Commerce is bringing federal agencies, local governments, and businesses like Zillow and Redfin together to integrate open data sets and create tools that increase economic mobility in our communities. For example, in cities like Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, the Opportunity Project is providing digital tools that enable Americans to find information about schools, social services, and job opportunities.
- Make Commerce data more accessible.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been a leader in this regard by making its 225 years of data easier to access and explore through its innovative Developer Hub and its latest project called PatentsView.
- Make data part of every bureau’s institutional muscle memory.
At today’s CDAC meeting, attendees will learn about the Search String Analysis product which provides our patent examiners access to a more powerful, Google-like search tool for the review process on cutting-edge patent submissions. Also, the Economic Development Administration’s new Grants Viewer is helping grant managers within the department better visualize and understand where our federal grant dollars are going and their impact on our communities.
Over the last year, the Department of Commerce, through the Economics & Statistics Administration, has launched:
- The Commerce Data Service, our own internal incubator focused on building world-class software products and digital tools to maximize the value of our data across our 12 bureaus;
- The Commerce Data Academy to train our employees on data skills;
- The Commerce Data Usability Project to make our data more accessible, usable, and valuable to the public.
Justin Antonipillai serves as Counselor to Secretary Penny Pritzker, with the Delegated Duties of the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs and leads the Economics & Statistics Administration (ESA). The mission of ESA is to provide high-quality economic analysis and foster the missions of the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Join us on the web at www.esa.gov; find us on Facebook, and on Twitter @ESAJustinA. Sign up to receive the latest economic indicators: https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/USESAEI/subscriber/new/