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RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- Va. Governor McAuliffe announced Friday the launch of Data Virginia, a new online portal that will provide easy access to Virginia's open data and keep Virginians informed about major initiatives that take advantage of big data.

The governor's office said the new portal will increase transparency, push innovation and enhance state operations.

Governor McAuliffe had the following to say about the new initiative: "Virginia is generating more data on a daily basis than ever before. Much of that information is intended for public access, but is often buried and hard to find. With this new initiative, Virginians will have a one stop shop to get access to data from a variety of sources. That's empowering data that can be used by citizens to make more informed decisions, by innovators to build cutting-edge applications, and by community stakeholders to plan smarter projects."

Data that will be available through the Data. Virginia portal include the Department of Education's State Report Card on school performances, the Secretary of the Commonwealth's database of board and commission openings, and the Department of Transportation's traffic data from across Virginia.

The portal will also serve as clearinghouse information for the Commonwealth's big data initiatives, the office said. Big data, with the common characteristics of volume, variety and velocity is the collection and analysis of large amounts of electronic information.

The office said Va. initiatives that use big data include the new Virginia Longitudinal Data System, a project which makes use of a variety of education and workforce development datasets and uses analytics to come up with data-driven solutions that make student outcomes better.

"Traditionally, data has been used to solve a single problem. Now, through big data and analytics, we can analyze large quantities of information from a variety of sources more efficiently and develop better insights and solutions to our challenges. Several Virginia universities have established big data initiatives, and we need to expand and institutionalize the use of data analytics across the Commonwealth," the governor said.

The office said they will keep security of personal information a priority. Electronic information that the state has is subject to federal and state laws, protecting especially sensitive data.

Governor McAuliffe stressed the importance of Data. Virginia: "By adopting a two-pronged approach for harnessing Commonwealth data, we will not only enhance the way we use big data internally, but we will also make it easier for our citizens to access information. It is through initiatives such as Data.Virginia that Virginia will continue to be a nationwide leader in innovation, smarter government, and increased transparency."

You can visit the new portal by going to: Data.Virginia.gov

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