Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker used the 2014 Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) International User’s Conference taking place this week in San Diego to unveil several new initiatives under way at the department, including the launch of the International Trade Administration (ITA) Trade Developer Portal, designed to make its data more open and accessible to the public.
Part of the Obama administration’s Open Government Initiative and the Commerce Department’s strategic plan, the portal is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow software developers to create web and mobile applications using information produced by ITA and other trade promotion agencies.
“Making its data public to software developers is one more way ITA is helping U.S. businesses export and enabling foreign investment in American companies through the use of cutting edge technologies,” states a department press release. It goes on to explain that the portal “helps fulfill the Department’s top priority of making federal data open and available to third party developers in order to foster economic growth.”
Currently, the portal includes: access to information about trade events; market research; trade leads; locations of domestic and international export assistance centers; and trade news and articles. In the next few months, the department plans to add APIs around business opportunities, tariff information for goods and services covered under Free Trade Agreements, and frequent questions asked by exporters.
A department report released this week called Fostering Innovation, Creating Jobs, Driving Better Decisions: The Value of Government Data, claims government data helps private firms generate revenues of at least $24 billion annually, at a cost to the government of $3.7 billion to collect and process the data.
Use of the APIs and other data sets is free of charge and allows unlimited access. For now, registration to use the APIs is not required, but in future developers will be required to register and receive a development key in order to obtain continued free access.