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Digital Government Strategy Brings Big Changes to the Commerce Department

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Digital Government Strategy, an effort by the Administration to transform public-facing government services in line with 21st century expectations. The Department of Commerce has made some big strides in providing better information to citizens in a timely manner through multiple formats and increasing access to services on mobile devices. The goal is to make citizen services and information available anywhere, anytime, and on any device, and in formats that facilitate additional use by public developers and entrepreneurs.

Technology is changing so rapidly that nearly 50% of American adults own a smart phone today, up from 35% only one year ago. To help keep pace with the rapid deployment of mobile technology, Commerce is working hard to ensure our services and data are available to citizens in whatever format and on whatever device they prefer. For example, earlier this week, NOAA released a mobile app to provide free nautical charts for recreational boaters to ensure safer and easier boating. NOAA is putting the finishing touches on the iOS version of their Shortfin Mako Shark Live Release app for public release next week. The success of these apps builds upon the America’s Economy app from the U.S. Census Bureau that already has more than 90,000 downloads.

We also have released the additional data for public consumption. For example, the International Trade Administration has released an application programming interface (API) for Export Trade Events so that data can be used by other organizations to pull the most relevant events for their members. The Department's Bureau of Industry and Security created the Commerce Control List Order of Review Decision Tool, a new web-based tool to assist exporters in understanding changes being made as part of the Administration's Export Control Reform Initiative. All information available for public use is on Data.gov and also on our new Developer page. The release of this data and APIs is intended to provide developers, researches, entrepreneurs and others with the ability to access government data in ways that make it easier to use and program.

And that is just the beginning. The Bureau of Economic Analysis will be releasing a new developer interface in June. Commerce.gov will undergo a redesign in the third quarter of the year that will provide developers and the public with a content API. It will also render correctly on mobile devices to improve the customer experience. Census will be adding more data to its API throughout the rest of the year that will provide further value to developers and consumers already using their information.

Innovation is an important aspect of our country’s future. The release of this data, in alignment with the new Open Data Policy, will help achieve the goal of making previously inaccessible or unmanageable data easily available to entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers, and others who can use those data to generate new products and services, build businesses, and create jobs.

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