Engineering needs to watch this trend line - - making official data public could spur lots of innovation, especially in urban environments. A paragraph to ponder from the May 18, 2013 issue of The Economist (A New Goldmine):
On May 9th Barack Obama ordered that all data created or collected by America's federal government must be made free to the public, unless this would violate privacy, confidentiality or security. "Open and machine-readable", the president said, is "the new default for government information."
This is a big moment for Big Data and engineering. Experts are speculating that all private companies will utilize and profit from some form of public sector information. Look for engineers to excel at the art of synthesis (combining multiple sources and forms of public information) for improved analytics and better decision making.