I thought it was only fair to make some comparisons. Because ESRI's user base and audiences are large, I decided the best comparison is Data.gov. The only drawback is that Data.gov has been in existence longer.
Of course, open data is important regardless of the platform. Moreover, open data can be imported into any free and open source GIS.
"[Open data's] impacts include... cost savings, efficiency, fuel for business, improved civic services, informed policy, performance planning, research and scientific discoveries, transparency and accountability, and increased public participation in the democratic dialogue." - Data.govOne big difference between the sites is ESRI's contains lots of data from States vs. federal (state, and local) data found in Data.gov. ESRI touts that it works with more than 380,000 organizations across the globe, so more open data is on its way!
|A table comparing ESRI's Open Data vs. Data.gov|
Data.gov's metrics pages are really neat including one on data sets published by agency by month: . Most data sets come from NOAA and USGS, which can be accessed in several different ways. Obviously, a lot of the pages linked from Data.gov either use ESRI formats or are driven by ESRI products. For developers it is also important to note that Data.gov has challenges/competitions. So be sure to check their website and social media!
|Data.gov helps you get started with browsing categories.|