Posted at 3:24 PM
Commerce Department data—from the Census Bureau’s economic and demographic statistics to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) weather and climate information—touches every American and informs business decisions every day. As part of the overall focus on improving access to its data, the Commerce Department today announced a redesigned section of the website to better integrate the overall data catalog, a list of our publicly available data sets, into Commerce.gov via Data.Commerce.Gov. This redesign is part of the Department’s Open for Business Agenda to make more of our data easier to access, and our overall commitment to continue to improve our users’ experience on any device, anywhere, anytime.
Part of improving that experience is a continual release of new functions and sections of the website. While there are still elements in need of further development, this new platform improves on the previous data portal in a number of ways, including:
- More direct search integration with Data.gov, the data portal for the full Federal government;
- Improved feedback mechanisms for users to more clearly state what data they are looking to use;
- Better integration with the Commerce.gov user interface;
- Cleaner description of the data goals of each of the 12 Bureaus within the Department of Commerce; and
- Stronger functionality for software engineers in that any new data set uploaded to the portal by Commerce employees can now have automatic API-accessibility and also stronger in-browser visualization tools, both of which will be free for public users.
Data.Commerce.Gov is still a work-in-progress and there are many additional improvements that are still on the horizon. For example, the new layout has the data organized in the organizational structure of the Department of Commerce (e.g. Census Bureau, Patent & Tradework Office, etc.) and not necessarily how data customers want to interact with the data (e.g. Housing assistance, climate change resiliency, etc.). Additionally, savvy data consumers will notice that the individual Bureau catalogs do not roll up perfectly to the catalogs on Data.gov. Given the size of our full data catalog, the entire Department of Commerce is working hard to increase this public inventory. Finally, we expect to continue to improve the mobile experience on this section of the website in the near future. Bucking previous tradition of how massive technology deployments were done in the past, the Department of Commerce is launching this improved data portal as part of a developing tradition of rapid, technology iterations.
In the coming weeks and months, the Department of Commerce is considering additional improvements to Data.Commerce.gov. These include a more comprehensive data inventory, improved metadata and API accessibility, clearer descriptions to aid in the consumption of data, and other improvements built on top of a stronger technology enterprise architecture. All of these improvements will focus on the existing and growing community of data customers. After all, the Department of Commerce's data is only valuable if it can be found and used. If you have any suggestions for improvements, please let us know.