At the Technology Alliance annual luncheon in Seattle earlier this month, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra explained how the open government movement was “collapsing a lot of the complexity” that had previously made federal, state and local collaboration difficult. In particular, Chopra called out the efforts of Seattle startup Socrata, which is helping bring transparency to government information through data.gov. And now Socrata has introduced a new data.gov Web site designed to help government agencies publish and distribute data in new ways, including interactive charts, maps and lists.

Socrata wants to make access to government data as easy to filter, sort and analyze as a pair of loafers on Zappos.com.

“It is now as easy to analyze data as it is to buy a pair of shoes or a TV online,” according to an introductory video describing the new data.gov service.

“You want to make your data easy-to-use and re-use, and the new data.gov platform can help. Anyone can embed your data in their Web site and blog by simply copying a little snippet of HTML code and dropping it into your content management system. It is just like embedding a YouTube video.”

Founded in 2007, Socrata is led by software entrepreneur Kevin Merritt. The company — originally founded under the name blist — is backed by Frazier Technology Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures.

The release of new data.gov service comes amid budget cuts for open government platforms, with Alex Howard of O’Reilly Media noting that the revamp of data.gov indicates that the Web site “will not only stay online but gain more functionality.”

In his talk earlier this month, Chopra spoke in detail about the importance of the data.gov effort and how it could give rise to a “new industry of information intermediaries.”

“Kevin is one of the them at Socrata, but there will be many others whose job it is to harness all of this information and make it relevant for you,” said Chopra. “We see entrepreneurs who actually see this as an active ingredient for new products and services in ways we haven’t even imagined.”

[Hat tip to City of Seattle CTO Bill Schrier]

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-Starbuck/500012914 Bryan Starbuck

     Huge congrats Kevin and the rest of the team!

  • Guest

    Socrata’s funding of only $6.5M is comparatively cheap compared to the $18M spent on the relatively simplistic recovery.gov site. Just goes to show you that private industry can do something far more ambitious and complicated for one-third the money than a Federal government project.

  • http://twitter.com/kmerritt Kevin Merritt

    It’s nice to wake up and see some positive news on Socrata. Landing data.gov is a significant milestone for the team here at Socrata but perhaps what the local tech community doesn’t yet know is that Socrata has quietly established itself as the clear Open Data market leader. Besides data.gov and a number of federal agencies, King County, Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma and other state and local governments all rely on the Socrata Open Data Platform to not only make their data accessible and useful, but as a platform it allows these organizations to deliver services much more cost effectively. Recovery.gov cost $18M because it’s a fully isolated, independent, self-contained “government program.” But what progressive government organizations like our customers are now recognizing is that sites like recovery.gov should simply be low-cost, service delivery apps on top of a data sharing platform like Socrata. 

  • http://www.puzzazz.com Roy Leban

    Kevin, congrats to you and the whole team! Great to see you succeeding like this.

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