Agencies Team up to Co-Host myAmerica Developer Summit in April; Release Recreation Data API
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2015 – As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to making government information more readily available and useful, and in an effort to help more people discover public lands and waterways near their own communities, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced today they will host a developer summit to expand the use of federal information about America’s lands and waters.
The myAmerica Developer Summit, which is scheduled over the weekend of April 11 and 12, 2015 at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., is meant to make recreation data more accessible and user friendly to all Americans.
The myAmerica initiative reaches out to federal agencies, private industry, academics, entrepreneurs, and others to develop trip-planning tools, enhance current online resources and cultivate methods for sharing data more easily – all in the name of improving access to America’s federal lands. The summit will support this effort by bringing together people with experience in technology, development, outdoor recreation, government, academia and industry to build products that leverage available data sources and other technological resources to help promote and protect America’s public lands.
“The myAmerica initiative will unlock the creativity of the private sector to make it easier for people to discover and experience America’s natural and national treasures,” said U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “Engaging entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to help transform disparate sources of information on public lands into useful, user-friendly formats will inspire visitors to explore our public lands and resources, while boosting tourism, outdoor recreation, jobs and economic activity in local communities.”
According to the most recent visitor and economic data available, national parks, wildlife refuges, monuments and other public lands managed by Interior hosted an estimated 407 million recreation visits in 2013. These visits alone contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy, supporting approximately 355,000 jobs nationwide.
“Our goals for this summit are to improve access to federal recreation information,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By working with innovative and creative experts from the technology industry, we hope to make it easier to find a campground near your favorite fishing hole, discover for the first time a beautiful lake just an hour from your home, participate in a ranger-led tour of an elaborate system of caves, and so much more. Travelers from around the world will have the potential of more travel planning options to discover the special places that make up the fabric of the natural, historical and cultural heritage of America.”
In advance of next month’s summit, this week, DOI and USDA also collaborated on an initiative to make it easier to access current recreation data using modern technology. The Application Programming Interface (API) for the Recreation Information Database (RIDB) allows the public to request data in very specific ways – by date, state, activity, keyword, organization, proximity, and timeframe – and is able to effectively provide all RIDB data in fully machine-readable and filtered data feeds or downloads, once again meeting the Obama Administration’s request for more open and transparent access to government data. The RIDB API is built out of data from several federal agencies and is considered the authoritative source of federal recreation data.
Those interested in more information on the myAmerica Developer Summit and how to participate should visit http://openglobe.github.io/myamerica-devsummit/