Commerce creates new 'chief data officer' post to help better leverage information

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Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said July 14 that the department is hiring its first-ever chief data officer to help it "develop, test, and grow the next phase of the open data revolution."

"Our chief data officer will pull together a platform for all of our data sets; oversee improvements in data collection and dissemination; and ensure our data programs are coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic," she said in prepared remarks. "Put simply, our chief data officer will hold the key to unlocking more of our government data.

Commerce houses several agencies - such as the Census Bureau, Patent and Trademark Office, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - which collect massive amounts of data.

Pritzker made the announcement at a conference hosted by Esri, which supplies geographic information system software and applications.

She also made several other announcements during the conference.

She said the International Trade Administration has launched a portal that will house diverse sets of trade and investment data in one place to make it easier for businesses to mine information.

The department is also creating a data advisory council of private sector leaders that will advise Commerce on how best to use government data. Its intent is to improve how data is used and shared to make businesses and governments more responsive, to better anticipate needs, and to develop new data products and services in collaboration with the private sector.

The secretary said Commerce has released a new report about the value federal statistical programs that help governments and businesses gain more value and investment, "with the potential  to guide up to $3.3 trillion in investments" annually in the U.S.

"Our report makes another essential point: the cost of government data is small relative to its benefits," she said. "The federal government spends roughly three cents per person, per day, collecting and disseminating statistical data. In other words, when it comes to data, taxpayers get tremendous bang for their buck."

For more:
- read Penny Pritzker's prepared remarks at the Esri conference
- read about the Commerce Department's new report about data

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