The new web site

The new web site

The federal government just launched a new web site:  It’s a compendium of pretty amazing (and amazingly huge!) data sets and tools – all free and available to the public.

In the “About” section of the site, they explain that the “open government” priority of the Obama administration is the driving force behind this new site.  It is an attempt to improve access to Federal data and expand the creative use of those data beyond the walls of government.

I’m thinking there might be some good stuff in here for biology teachers.  Here’s a sampling of a few intriguing data sets that I found on the site:

- FluView:  a natioanl flu activity map (there’s also a state-by-state map)

- Cancer Incidence:  Surveillance, epidemiology and end results

- Residential Energy Consumption Survey:  conducted every four years, provides national statistical survey data on the use of energy in residential housing

- American Census Data

- American FactFinder:  a tool designed to search the American Community Survey, Decennial Census, Economic Census, and population estimates.

Fun stuff.  There’s a handy search engine on the home page of the site where you can indicate the kind of data you’re interested in and which federal agency(ies) you want to query.

It’s not perfect (of course).  The data available is limited (they’re promising to add more) and, curiously, there’s nothing from the Securities and Exchange Commission (hmmm…).   I would love to hear ideas about how this might be used in teaching.

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