This page gives an overview of Open Government Data. For more detailed information, see the [Open Data Handbook](http://opendatamanual.org/)
## What is Open Government data?
* By “open”, we mean data that is open according to the [Open Definition](http://www.opendefinition.org/1.0/). In essence, “open” data is free for anyone to use, re-use and re-distribute.
* By “government data” we mean data and information produced or commissioned by government or government controlled entities.
## Why is it important?
Open government data is a tremendous resource that is as yet largely untapped. The government collects a vast quantity of high-quality data as part of its ordinary working activities. If this data is made open, it can have huge potential benefits.
Part of the beauty of open government data is that it is impossible to predict precisely how it will be used to create value. The nature of innovation is that developments often appear in unlikely places.
Some areas in which open government data is already having a positive impact include:
* Transparency and democratic control
* Civil participation
* Improved and new private products and services
* Governmental efficiency
## What is the Open Government Working Group?
The Open Government Working Group is a group for everyone interested in Open Government Data. To find out more and get involved, see [here](http://opengovernmentdata.org/working-group/)