Environmental data is collected and used by researchers, regulatory agencies, communities, and businesses for a variety of purposes, though much of it only in single projects or to check regulatory boxes. While more data is being shared than ever before, spurred on by recent open data policies, increased availability does not guarantee that those who might use it can find, access, understand, or apply it in new contexts, nor that such data will be governed ethically.
Open Environmental Data Project convened stakeholders from government, academia, environmental nonprofits, journalism, community organizations, and the private sector to discuss the challenges and promising solutions they've faced in sharing, using, and reusing environmental data. Four major needs emerged: findability and accessibility, data formats and infrastructure that enable interoperability, high quality or detailed enough data to answer different questions, and user capacity to understand and analyze the data. This brief offers nine opportunities to address these needs, each building on or leveraging existing efforts.