Data Innovation Summit: Taking Advantage of Boston’s Big Data Movement


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Post by Dr. Mark Doms Under Secretary for Economic Affairs

Under Secretary Mark Doms Speaks at the Big Data Innovation Summit in Boston, MA

Cross-posted from

I was honored to deliver the keynote address this morning to over 800 of today’s data leaders.  In preparation I had one goal: to tell the story of data -- how far the Department of Commerce has come and it’s potential for the future. These are exciting times. Over the past decade, jobs in data fields have grown at a rate 6 times faster than the economy as a whole, and these jobs pay 73% more than the typical American job.

The federal government provides fundamental statistical building blocks about our population, our economy, and our climate. This information is so pervasive that people often are unaware they are using government data. For instance, one survey found 301 billion weather forecasts are consumed per year -- information that is delivered by an array of sources, but begins with the National Weather Service, part of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Indeed, many of the companies attending the Big Data Innovation Summit today in Boston rely heavily upon government data.  

Since 1790, when the first Census occurred, our government has taken the time to collect information that tells the demographic and economic story of our nation. We take this commitment very seriously at the Department of Commerce and we welcome user input.  

As I have seen in meetings across the country and as is clear here in Boston today, we are not alone in this mission. Government at all levels - cities, counties and states - is realizing the power of open data. A few select cities such as Boston have been at the vanguard for a number of years and we stand to learn a great deal from them. In that spirit, I look forward to meeting one-on-one with specialists, startups and other government agencies, to ask Bostonians their thoughts on optimizing federal data. We are committed to making our data more interoperable, more discoverable, and better documented.

Big thanks to everyone who contributed to the conversation today. I received great feedback from the participants; our work is not done. I am truly looking forward to the innovative ideas and discussions that will continue not only today but going forward.

Data Geeks, our time has come!

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Last updated: 2015-03-16 15:08

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