As we started building data products out of open data we became aware of the increasing availability of data that wasn’t necessarily “open” (i.e. not released by governments) but was obviously useful. After spending two years talking about the benefits of open data, we suddenly came to realize that it was only one piece of the puzzle.
A big part of this was showing off data sets that we built both for clients and for ourselves. After we standardized spend data from every government agency to provide the Treasury Board with an overarching view of government spending, we put the resulting data set – Canadian Procurement – into the Marketplace. Every time we made a great data set we’d show it off in order to demonstrate the types of problems we were solving. After a while, the marketplace started looking less like a search engine and more like a place where you could connect to pre-built solutions.
This is a problem because one of the great benefits of data is that a single data set can be used in so many different ways. Although oil is the most frequently cited analog for data, one of the major differences between the two resources (and there are a few) is that once oil is used, it’s used up. The same petroleum that powers your car can’t be used to heat your house or make plastic. Data (a resource that actually creates more of itself as it’s being used) can do many different things for many different people, models, or applications simultaneously. By using the Marketplace to show off the products we’d already built, we were putting the data in a box and suggesting that this was its sole use.
As a company, we want to help more people do more with data (unleash the data scientist!) and in order to do that better, we thought it was important to provide our users with the ingredients they can use, rather than show off the meals we’re making.
Roughly 10% of government data is published as open data. Add to the mix the availability of public (non-government) data, and the piece of the pie that open data represents becomes vanishingly small. It is with this in mind that we reconfigured the Data Marketplace to show off the sources of data that we’re connecting to.
Browse our sources and providers and find new data you might never have seen before. Or use our search function to get results from our massive repositories of refined and open data.
Also, don’t forget that we’re always interested in finding new sources of data – if you want to become a data provider or to recommend a data source, you can do it right in the Marketplace, or contact us here.
Namara is constantly evolving. The more people we reach, the better we can understand what they need; the better we understand what they need, the better Namara gets.
Check out the Marketplace; it’s just one of many improvements coming to Namara in the near future. We hope that with every iteration, we’re better able to suit your needs and that we continue to help you get the most out of data.