Open Data is “going to help launch more startups. It’s going to help launch more businesses. . . . It’s going to help more entrepreneurs come up with products and services that we haven’t even imagined yet”—President Barack Obama, May 9, 2013.

This is the quote that starts the book Open Data Now by Joel Gurin.  But, what is Open Data, anyway?

According to the DATA Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on May 21, 2013 (1), Open Data is a movement towards more government and corporate data transparency.  It consists of data captured by the government or other sources, made free to the public.  While this is a basic definition, you may still be wondering, “What types of data is this?”  This venn diagram may be able to shed some light.While Open Data is a growing and ever more accessible free resource, many have trouble envisioning ways that it can help businesses and start-ups grow.  Check out how these revolutionary companies are harnessing Open Data.

(1) Data Act; Data Transparency Coalition