Leveraging “Open Data” to power your app

How free open data is an invaluable resource for online products.

Open data belongs in the same family as open access and open source when it comes to the underlying idea of making information available freely for the public to consume.

There are 8 underlying principles that define the open data movement; data should be complete, primary, timely, accessible, machine-processable, nondiscriminatory, nonproprietary and license-free. As a result of this movement governments around the world have taken initiative and made data available for researchers and entrepreneurs to use in their pursuit of innovation.

Open Data has the potential to unlock 3–5 trillion dollars in value across major industries. The following are some examples of companies that use open data to provide important services:

AccuWeather

You might rely on Accuweather to deliver up to date weather information so that you can plan your day week or month. Their user-friendly interface has brought millions of users to their platform in recent times. Little known fact is that they heavily leverage open-data from the national weather service as well as their own proprietary data to successfully deliver their core product.

CarFax

Carfax provides vehicle history reports for used cars for millions of North American consumers every single year. They pull information from DMV’s across 50 states as well as federal data from both the national highway traffic safety administration as well as the department of transportation to provide a service that has become an absolute necessity to protect consumers who purchase used vehicles. Carfax could not exist without the large amount of data available to the public today.

Flight Aware

FlightAware provides live flight data, airport delays, fuel prices, FBO reservations, weather maps, flight planning, flight routes, oceanic tracks, and navigation charts, as well as aviation news and photos to over three million users a month via the FlightAware.com web site as well as apps for iPhone/iPad and Android. FlightAware leverages data available from the department of transportation as well as the FAA to provide accurate and up to date information to it’s users on a daily basis.

Open data is evidently transforming the landscape as far as creating apps that provide necessary information to hundreds of millions of users worldwide. As far as the potential for the initiative is concerned the sky is the limit!

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