Blog produced by: Census
Bureau’s Open Government Senior Leader
At the Census Bureau, we
collect data— you may have evenparticipated in some of our collection efforts, like the decennial census, the American Community Survey or the Current
Population Survey. But did you know that data dissemination
is an equally important responsibility? Right now, we are working on several
initiatives aimed to make our data more accessible than ever before. Everyone
from survey respondents, researchers, developers and members of the public rely
on Census Bureau statistics, and we must meet all of their needs.
One way that many Americans interact with
Census Bureau data is through our website. This year, we redesigned Census.gov to make it easier for you to find what you
need. We found that our customers wanted to browse information by topic, so we
updated the site’s navigational features. We also released new interactive data tools, like the revised Population Clock and Census Flows Mapper. One particularly exciting change is the improved search function — users
now can search population, poverty and income for a desired location and get
statistics within the search results. Whether
customers are looking for quick facts or detailed information for their
communities, we have a tool for them to find the information they need. And
even more improvements are on the way.
improved search function is one example of a feature that is possible because
of our Open
API — a set of programming
instructions and standards for accessing data. We launched the API in 2012 to
give developers access to high-value data sets from our surveys and other key
economic indicators, and we are continually adding new data sets.
The API delivers
easy access to our data and allows developers to combine it with other sources
to create tools that benefit the public. For example, My
Congressional District, a
tool on census.gov, provides users with statistics about congressional
districts by pulling data from the Census Bureau’s API. We are continuing to
solicit feedback from developers to improve the API and often attend local meet
ups and hold internal codeathons to generate ideas.
As the authoritative
source for legal and statistical geographic boundaries in the U.S, our Topologically Integrated
Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) suite of products
provides another example of how we are innovating to disseminate data. TIGER is
a digital geographic database that automates the mapping and related geographic
activities required to support the Census Bureau’s census and survey programs. We recently launched TIGERweb, a set of APIs,
services and a Web application for disseminating and visualizing geospatial
data. TIGERweb allows our customers to easily use Web map services directly in
their applications and contains scores of detailed geographic layer data.
Through these and other innovative tools, the Census Bureau
continues to lead the way in Open Government goals and objectives. We have also
held recent webcasts that allow the public to
learn first-hand how and why we collect data. We are committed to developing more and better ways to
make data accessible to our diverse range of customers, anytime, anywhere, and
on any device.