July 9, 2012
Panelists and presenters at last week's Open Government West 2011 conference in Portland, Oregon tackled the topic of government sponsored app contests. Attendees asserted that not all app contests are designed the same way and there are different benefits and drawbacks with each kind. An overarching issue seemed to be the value returned to the public on government investment in app contests. Governments are looking for the best way to offer services to the public in the face of budget cuts and are eyeing citizen generated apps.
Building on Barack Obama's push for a transformational process for the Federal Government, momentum is building in terms of how citizens view the government's role as a data steward and data provider. The numerous Federal agencies concentrated in Washington, D.C. and around the country maintain a massive amount of data that, as of today, is largely inaccessible either through lack of entry points or through lack of gateways for distribution. Consequently, how to provide the public with access to "the people's data" has emerged as an important topic amongst technologists and freedom of information advocates, especially now that the U.S. has a president who included transparency as a core element of his campaign platform.