Open data is relatively new, but it is already being used and transformed in many exciting ways. For example, here’s an interesting open data-based geo-spatial mashup I saw the other day. If I was shopping for a house in San Francisco, this is the kind of stuff I would like to know before I make my final choice.
I applaud the world of open. It makes governments more transparent and accessible. It gives the public access to data that, technically speaking, they have paid for with their tax dollars. And it creates an environment in which new ideas and new applications of existing information can emerge.
Of course, not all government data would be of interest to the general public, or be suitable for dissemination. Crime data, for example, would need to be scrubbed of names and other sensitive information before anyone could use it. Other privacy concerns undoubtedly exist as well.
It will be interesting to see where open data takes us. Surely the collective intelligence of the general public will find a ton of uses for it that were never dreamed of by the government that created that data. Time will tell.