Open Data Could Improve Access to the Great Outdoors
Our Coalition focuses on pursuing open data in two key areas of the U.S. government's information: federal spending and financial regulation. We think transforming these two areas from disconnected documents into open data will create huge benefits for government and society.
Not everybody agrees that government information is most valuable when it's published online as machine-readable data. In both our key areas, supporters of data standardization and publication have had to overcome entrenched opposition
Would you believe the same is true of the U.S. government's camping information? It is.
On October 8, the United States Forest Service posted a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for “Recreation One Stop Support Services (R1S)
.” The draft RFP seeks a private contractor to build software for a new reservation system covering campsites, cabins, and tours at all federal parks. The contract will span up to 11 years, over $1 billion in revenue, and critically define how our nation will access public lands for years to come.
As written, the draft RFP places a single contractor in charge of managing campsite availability and reservation information rather than releasing all that information as open data.
If campsite availability and reservations were published as open data, entrepreneurs could build competing platforms to help campers make reservations and advocates could track campsite use. These are the types of innovations envisioned in President Obama’s May 2013 Open Data Policy
, which pushes all agencies to “default to open.”
Read the rest at the DTC Blog