GSA Launches ‘Federation’ to Standardize Governmentwide Data

Expansion of website is aimed at easing cross-agency comparisons.

As part of the Obama administration’s final push in the open data movement, the General Services Administration on Thursday launched the U.S. Data Federation with the slogan “Bringing together the United States of data.”

The effort supports data interoperability and harmonization across federal, state and local government agencies by highlighting common data formats, application program interface specifications and metadata vocabularies.

It builds on the website launched in 2009 by profiling case studies that demonstrate unified and coherent architectures across different agencies, GSA said. The federation will allow the public to more easily compare data analysis across government bodies and create applications that work across multiple agencies. has grown in seven years from 47 data sets to nearly 200,000 in 70 agencies, in areas such as health, education, transportation and climate change.

“Promoting open data not only improves transparency and innovation throughout the government, it makes us more efficient and breaks down the silos, allowing us to deliver better products and services to the American people,” said GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. “The U.S. Data Federation is one of many initiatives the Obama Administration has launched to support government-wide data standardization, and GSA is proud to be at the forefront of this critical effort.”

As part of the Data Federation, GSA will also pilot “development of reusable components needed for a successful data federation strategy, including schema documentation tools, schema validation tools, and automated data aggregation and normalization capabilities,” the agency said.