Data.gov Keeps on Giving Gifts to Gumshoe Reporters

May 30, 2012

Federal databases are a trove of often still-unexploited riches for environment and energy reporters. Database journalism has won many an investigative reporter a national prize — but it has also helped small-outlet journalists find local stories. Over the past three years, the federal site Data.gov — while hardly perfect — has bloomed with data riches.

President Obama ordered federal agencies to start publishing more of their valuable datasets online in 2009, and in response the Data.gov website went live with a boatload of new data from a wide range of agencies. Since then, good databases have continued to accumulate on the site, and its managers have made it easier to find and access what you are looking for.

Data.gov is especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Today, an increasing proportion are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. Here are just a few randomly  chosen examples you may not be aware of:

Go look at Data.gov. There's more.