The Washington Post reports that Vivek Kundra, CTO of the District of Columbia, will be Obama's new Federal Information Officer. The Post: "He also will be charged with using technology to lower the cost of government operations and making government data more accessible to citizens, two things he championed as the District's chief technology officer." They add that he encouraged use of YouTube and set up an internal wiki.

And, we may add, his office used Tableau. Here's one of their visualizations:

District of Columbia CTO office

a movement, not just an appointment

This appointment is not an isolated event:

So welcome, Vivek! We're big admirers of your & DC's work, and we're here to help bring public data to the public. Here's to transparency in government.


Wow! I sure hope this helps you all expand and dominate the Visual Analysis world!

Excellent. Great to see the Obama administration leveraging technology + actually understanding the power that it can bring, particularly in communicating information!!! Yeah!

The NY Times blog has an interesting extra snippet....

 'Another initiative will be to create a new site,, that will become a repository for all the information the government collects. He pointed to the benefits that have already come from publishing the data from the Human Genome Project by the National Institutes of Health, as well as the information from military satellites that is now used in GPS navigation devices.

'“There is a lot of data the federal government has and we need to make sure that all the data that is not private, or restricted for national security reasons, can be made public,” he said.' is an index of publically available web services and XML data sources provided by the US government. It includes detailed descriptions of the data sources and their operations. Links to the host systems for documentation, tech support, etc. are also available. Source code snippets are provided to help developers better understand how to use the data sources. Web based applets, for use by mobile devices (i.e. SmartPhones), have also been provided. The mobile applets are available at

Just found this post and find it interesting.
I appreciate the opportunity to be a curmudgeon and set the record straight.

Most of the information in this post is not accurate.
Vivek Kundra managed to take a lot of credit for things others did.

For example, I introduced Tableau to the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) in 2006 while working there as a contractor on the citywide data warehouse project that was in the works under Kundra's predecessor.

This data warehouse was used to publish city data through the city's web site for at least a couple of years before Kundra was appointed.

He is similarly not responsible for introducing wikis. They were in use, and providing great value, as early as 2005. As the project manager for an online permitting application-WEPS-for the D.C. Department of Transportation, under contract to OCTO, I insituted the use of a wiki as the main mechanism for building the essential body of knowledge, where it was a primary factor in our delivery of the application on schedule (which was a nearly unique occurrence in that organization).

I applaud every and all efforts to bring government data to the public, but I hate the claiming of credit by, or assigning credit to, someone who hasn't actually done the work. And someone who lets unwarranted credit accrue to their benefit is no better than someone who robs it directly from the person, or persons, who justly deserves it.

There were, and are, good people at OCTO. They were happy to see him leave.