U.S. Department of State Launches Open Government Initiative

Media Note
Washington, DC
December 9, 2009

The Department of State is releasing unprecedented new information about conflicts in Africa, making it possible to analyze sub-national and transnational areas of armed conflict, inter-communal strife, and political violence. This work represents only the beginning of an ongoing commitment across all fifteen cabinet-level agencies to create a culture of openness in government in response to the President’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

Conflict mapping can be used to visualize the relationship between conflict and other geo-spatial attributes, such as topography, natural resources, population and demographic distribution, environmental hazards, epidemic zones, natural disasters, infrastructure, and livelihoods. The conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan is a recent example of how information is used to identify and evaluate a specific year or range of years in which damage or destruction occurred. This enhanced information: (1) includes the location of each village, a name when available, an approximate count of the number of structures destroyed in each location, and a specific year or range of years in which damage or destruction occurred; and (2) identifies villages determined by the U.S. Government to have no evidence of damage at the time of evaluation.

The Department of State is committed to the Open Government Initiative program and is exploring high-value data sets the Department could release to the public.

PRN: 2009/1252