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Maryland Governor O’Malley Launches a Central Data Panel for the Public

ANNAPOLIS, MD  – Governor Martin O’Malley today officially launched – Maryland’s first statewide open data portal that will provide researchers, entrepreneurs, public servants and citizens with a wide variety of data to support transparency and innovation in government. Data such as vendor payments, vehicle accidents, licensed veterinary clinics, GIS mapping data, and per capita electricity consumption will all be made available and housed in a central place for the public.

The Governor made this announcement at a panel discussion hosted in conjunction with the Future of Information Alliance (FIA) – a transdisciplinary partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park and 10 founding partners. The panel featured “futurists” and over 120 students, entrepreneurs and public servants who spoke about the importance of big data to better serve and inform the public.

“Big Data is forever changing the way we manage, market, and move information, and in Maryland, it is also changing the way we govern with better choices and better results,” said Governor O’Malley. “Together, we set public goals, relentlessly measure government performance on a weekly basis, broadly share information, and put it on the internet for all to see. We publicly identify our problems and crowd source the solutions with open access to data. That’s why today we’re launching – a movement away from ideological, hierarchal, bureaucratic governing and toward information-age governing that is fundamentally entrepreneurial, collaborative, relentlessly interactive and performance driven.”

Governor O’Malley and the State of Maryland joined the Future of Information Alliance in February 2012. The panel discussion today is one of many hosted by the Alliance throughout the year.

“Big Data can affect all of us in some way- both in terms of opportunities and challenges,” said Senior Vice President and Provost at University of Maryland Mary Ann Rankin. “The University of Maryland’s partnership with the Governor’s office through the Future of Information Alliance continues to be an important mechanism seeding conversations and spurring collaborations that may lead to strategic research and critical insights beneficial to the State and nation.”

As FIA “Future-ist in Residence,” and Google’s Director of User Happiness, Dan Russell points out, “Big data isn’t just a good thing to have – it’s critical to the way Google and all modern internet companies work. Large amounts of data deeply change the way we can provide services.”

“Big data isn’t just about having vast quantities of numbers in a table–it’s really a different way of looking at, analyzing, and ultimately understanding what those data are trying to say to you. A big data scientist is really a ‘data whisperer’ and has a deep empathy for the tones and semitones in the melody of the numbers. What are they saying to us?  How can we best listen?  That’s what we do – pick out the parts that make sense and tell others what we’ve heard.”

With the launch of, the O’Malley-Brown Administration continues its commitment to transparency, openness and accountability. Through StateStat, modeled after then-Mayor O’Malley’s award-winning CitiStat program, Governor O’Malley is making Maryland’s government work again for the people of our State. StateStat’s tenets are:

  • Accurate & timely intelligence, shared by all
  • Rapid deployment of resources
  • Effective tactics and strategies
  • Relentless follow-up and assessment

Bios of “Futurists” (panelists) who attended:

Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he is also Entrepreneur in Residence and is seeking to foster a culture of innovation.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, Oxford Internet Institute. He is the co-author of Big Data: Revolution that will Transform How We Live, Work, & Think.

Dan Russell, Google’s “director of user happiness,” who is this year’s FIA “Future-ist in Residence” and will provide an overview of the new world of big data and moderate the discussion.

Jennifer Golbeck, director of UMD’s Human­Computer Interaction Lab and author of Analyzing the Social Web, who will respond to the presenters with the observations and questions.

About the Future of Information Alliance
The Future of Information Alliance was created to serve as a catalyst for dialogue across disciplines and to promote research on issues related to the evolving role of information in our lives. By identifying shared challenges and encouraging innovative solutions, the Future of Information Alliance seeks to facilitate a future in which information in all its forms can be an effective resource for all. FIA spawned out of a campus-wide event in 2011 where participation was achieved from every department at the University. Founding partners include: Governor Martin O’Malley and the State of Maryland, The Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, the Newseum, Sesame Workshop, the U.S. National Park Service, the Barrie School, the Online Academy, and WAMU 88.5. Foundation support is provided by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. Corporate support is provided by Google.

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