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Data, Apps, and Maps: Working Toward a GreenGov

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced new features to, the open government platform for citizens and software developers to engage with energy- and environment-related data, apps, maps, and challenges.  The new features were announced at a Council on Environmental Quality three-day conference called GreenGov, which is focused on, you guessed it, making the Federal Government more energy efficient.

The improvements include:

  • The release of historical energy use and cost data for the Federal Government for the fiscal years 1975 through 2007;

  • Over 100 new data sets to, including data on natural gas, coal, nuclear plants, and energy efficiency;

  • A new Apps tab, with a collection of smartphone and web applications; and

  • A new Maps tab, with a collection of static and interactive maps from multiple agencies, including the Departments of Energy and Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

These data, apps, and maps are complemented on the online platform by a growing set of prizes, challenges, and competitions from a variety of agencies – including America’s Home Energy Education Challenge, the Rooftop Solar Challenge, and Battle of the Buildings.  Speaking of data-fueled competitions, the Apps for the Environment Forum is being held next week, where EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will celebrate software developers who find new ways to combine and deliver environmental data in exciting new applications.

But energy data isn’t just held by the Federal Government.  That’s why the Administration is  working to inspire and encourage utilities to make detailed energy usage information to their own customers, via one click of a “Green Button”.  In fact, I’m excited about California, where the three largest utilities there are working to make the Green Button a reality by the end of the year.   

Article by Nick Sinai, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer