Open Data Gets Boost from Obama’s 2016 Budget Proposal


Obama’s 2016 federal budget proposal (Photo courtesy of

By Drew Bush

Lost in the details of a $4 trillion budget plan proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama are several provisions that seek to increase public access to government data, strengthen government analysis and collection of data and improve data-driven government decision-making, according to a story first reported in the Federal Times.

Released on February 2, Obama’s proposed 2016 budget for the federal government will likely meet strong resistance from a Republican controlled Congress. However, of more interest to the Geothink audience is the administration’s continuing support for programs which help collect, analyze and share the petabytes of data which the U.S. Government collects each day

“The administration is committed to continuing cost-effective investment in federal statistical programs in order to build and support agencies’ capacity to incorporate evidence and evaluation analyses into budget, management and policy decisions,” the budget reads. “The 2016 budget includes a package of proposals that would make additional administrative data from federal agencies and programs legally and practically available for policy development, program evaluation, performance measurement and accountability and transparency efforts.”

In terms of numbers, the proposed budget would increase funding for statistical programs by 2.5 percent, from $4.2 billion in 2015 to $5.2 billion in 2016. One of the largest shares would go to the U.S. Census Bureau which would receive $10 million to continue building out its collection of datasets and the infrastructure that allows users to collate, analyze and share data.

The funding would also help the federal government acquire state and municipal datasets that could then become accessible to the public. Furthermore, an additional $2 million would raise the General Service Administration’s E-Government initiative to $16 million. This program seeks to “develop and provides direction in the use of Internet-based technologies to make it easier for citizens and businesses to interact with the Federal Government, save taxpayer dollars, and streamline citizen participation.”

The administration has also supported the creation of a legislative commission proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to examine ways to use government data to improve federal operations and support private research and industry.

If you have thoughts or questions about the article, get in touch with Drew Bush, Geothink’s digital journalist, at