U.S., India officially launch ‘ in a box’


The governments of the United States and India on Monday officially launched the Open Government Platform that combines and expands the best features of and India’s

The platform, thought of as “ in a box,” will be offered to other governments free of charge using the open source community to provide future technology enhancements, open government implementation plans and technical support. It will be managed by the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.


OGPL has been developed to be a completed package for nations from around the world to implement an open data service, which includes government data, documents, tools and processes. This takes into account developing countries, small government entities and those who may be part way through the open data process.

The product is currently in beta release, but as it moves to pilot, the OGPL team is seeking an interested country to be an early adopter and testers for the first implementation of OGPL.

The purpose of the platform is to enhance access and use of government data to foster innovation; improve delivery of government services for interested countries and cities around the world; and promote government transparency, accountability, and public participation.

OGPL’s initial release will contain the essential features for a government to establish an open data capability. It is expected, using open source methodologies, that the global developer community will continue to expand and evolve the initial release to bring in improvements and new functionality.

Initially, OGPL will provide:

  • The ability to publish government data, documents, and processes from multiple departments within a government
  • Web 2.0 open source technologies for low-cost scalable infrastructure in each country
  • Publicly available application programming interfaces, and other tools to add external software modules for data visualization, wizards, other purposes
  • Case studies such as a white paper on India’s National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy that will serve as a model for other countries of both the process and content of a national policy to make data from various government agencies readily available to the public
  • An internal workflow process for approvals and management of datasets
  • Differing agency policies and capabilities via a metadata and data registry approach—each country can devise its own process for data set approval or restrictions for security/privacy reasons
  • Content rich and interactive areas, including “Send in Your Ideas”, “Learn” (for schools to use in their teaching materials), “Developers Corner,” and “Linked Data”
  • The ability to create data-rich community spaces around topics of national priorities
  • The ability for end-users to share datasets via social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • A visitor relationship module that routes all feedback to a single dashboard, which tracks pending items and actions taken
  • Country-by-country cloud-based architecture, with sovereign control of a national cloud
  • Supports cloud-based operation at multiple levels of government, with the ability link data from federal, central, state, district, municipal, and local levels
  • Self help and on-line documentation

The beta code, developed by a team of 20 programmers from India and the US, is available on Github. Additional code releases are expected in the spring and summer of 2012 by the joint U.S. and  India team and as the global open source community works to improve and expand OGPL.

The core of OGPL is the data, documents, tools and processes that governments will share and applications that are created by developers around the world.

Governments will be able to implement:

  • Web applications and mobile apps to view, use, and merge various datasets
  • Challenges or competitions to accelerate and promote applications and new businesses around government data
  • Online citizen services such as forms, registrations, and applications
  • User-friendly links to regulatory, statistical, and other information compiled by government agencies. For India, this would include all the documents already made available by and other GOI sites
  • Similarly, the U.S. implementation of OGPL will host’s 450,000 high-value agency datasets on such diverse subjects as health care, energy, law, public safety, education, and research

Developers will be able to develop applications to view, use, and merge various datasets building from:

  • OGPL’s open source architecture to create new ways to view, compare, and use governance data enabling web-based innovative applications and lower cost, rapid development
  • Merging geographic data with agency data to create easy-to-understand maps showing employment, environmental, community health, or other data

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