FIOA Mapper is a project that aims to make it easier for people find public data and make Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests more transparent and accessible. The project is a winner of the 2016 Knight News Challenge on Data, an initiative of Knight Foundation.
Government agencies store an enormous amount of data in offline databases, far more than what is available online as open data. And in theory, anyone has the right to access it through a Freedom of Information request. However, the catch is that most government databases are not documented online, so there is no practical way of knowing what to ask for.
The goal of FOIA Mapper is to make government more transparent by collecting information about these opaque offline databases and organizing it into a searchable catalog - basically a search engine for offline government data. The tool comprises a catalog of government information systems, descriptions of the records they contain, and documentation of the language needed to request them.
The tool is developed by Max Galka, an entrepreneur and independent data journalist (Metrocosm).