The primary goal of Data.Gov is to improve access to Federal data and expand creative use of those data beyond the walls of government by encouraging innovation. As a priority Open Government Initiative for President Obama’s administration, Data.gov increases the ability of the public to easily find, download, and use datasets that are generated and held by the Federal Government. Federal, Executive Branch data are included in the first version of Data.gov.
In a recent interview on NextGov.com, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra shed some details on Data.Gov & Open Government Initiative. "We recognize the power of tapping into the ingenuity of the American people and recognize that government doesn’t have a monopoly on the best ideas or always have the best idea on finding an innovative path to solving the toughest problems the country faces. By democratizing data and making it available to the public and private sector … we can tap into that ingenuity."
Combining the open data available at this site along with modern presentation technologies (mapping, filtering, drill-down and roll-up) and delivering these over scalable cloud infrastructures provides a new model for policy analysis and public discourse about the state of the modern union. We have seen examples of this with ARRA. As more data is published in standard formats I expect this trend to continue. For today’s developers, a competition to publish the most innovative new applications.