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Why We Support AccessLand

February 18, 2015

Recently, we at Fulcrum came across the AccessLand initiative to provide open data and APIs for “our nation’s parks, forests, monuments, campsites, cabins, and tours.”

The current risk is that only a single company will be able to access the data for these areas and book reservations for their use. AccessLand instead advocates “Open Data for Open Lands”; opening up the data and APIs for use by anyone.

Opening the data will enable people, including you and I, to use it in new ways others haven’t thought of. Opening the APIs will enable people to integrate it with other websites and services. You won’t be limited to asking the government (or their contractor) to add some functionality you want, because you’ll have the opportunity to create it yourself.

Yosemite Valley part of a national park

By Mark J. Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Here at Fulcrum, we regularly use and support open data, APIs, and software to help our clients collect better data and make better decisions. We fully support this vision of open data and booking APIs. The lands are public, so shouldn’t the data about them also be public? We sure think so!

Both Denver and Colorado offer open data portals, which is a fantastic way to encourage interest in what the city and state are like, what we have going on, and to get even more value from money the government has spent collecting data. We encourage the federal government to open the parks data and APIs to encourage more use of and interest in the public lands throughout the nation.

There are some other articles which detail additional benefits of an open platform for accessing this data.

If you want to make sure the system the government builds is an open one, voice your opinion. You can find the contact information and example comments on the AccessLand site.