Virginia officially launched a new open data portal last week.
The site, data.virginia.gov, will include data sites from a variety of state agencies including the Department of Education’s State Report Card on school performances, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s database of board and commission openings, and the Department of Transportation’s traffic data from across the state.
“Virginia is generating more data on a daily basis than ever before,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe. “Much of that information is intended for public access, but is often buried and hard to find. With this new initiative, Virginians will have a one-stop shop to get access to data from a variety of sources. That’s empowering data that can be used by citizens to make more informed decisions, by innovators to build cutting-edge applications, and by community stakeholders to plan smarter projects.”
In addition to serving as a central repository for open data, the site will also serve as an information clearinghouse for the state’s big data initiatives, including the new Virginia Longitudinal Data System, a project that makes use of a variety of education and workforce development datasets.
McAuliffe also said the security of personal information will remain a priority as electronic data held by the state is subject to federal and state laws, protecting especially sensitive data.
Virginia also has an extremely high-level of security in a top-rated data center with security operations that monitor network traffic 24 hours a day, every day. Tax identification, Social Security and credit card numbers and health and other personal records are protected by even more stringent security standards, officials said.
“Traditionally, data has been used to solve a single problem,” McAuliffe said. “Now, through big data and analytics, we can analyze large quantities of information from a variety of sources more efficiently and develop better insights and solutions to our challenges. Several Virginia universities have established big data initiatives, and we need to expand and institutionalize the use of data analytics across the commonwealth.”