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United States Department of Commerce

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) is a cabinet-level bureau of the United States federal government tasked with the promotion of U.S. businesses domestically and internationally. The DOC is responsible for collecting, processing and disseminating approximately 36% of the federal government's open data. Related duties include:

  • Collecting data on the economy.
  • Collecting data on demographics.
  • Issuing patents and trademarks.
  • Enforcing intellectual property (IP) laws.
  • Enforcing trade regulations.
  • Regulating the export of technology and sensitive goods.
  • Overseeing measurements and standards.
  • Overseeing oceanic and atmospheric research.
  • Forecasting weather.

The Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC) was formed in 2015 to improve collection and dissemination of data, especially data about trade, income and patents. Council goals included developing data tutorials to educate DOC staff about how to ingest, scrub, analyze and visualize data, as well as initiatives to integrate data across DOC bureaus.

United States Department of Commerce history

The DOC was founded in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt as the Department of Commerce and Labor before the departments were split in two. The DOC’s history of restructuring, as well as the relationship of both offices to the economy, resulted in the current department’s variety of responsibilities. As of this writing, the DOC is divided into five bureaus to achieve its tasked duties:

Air and Water

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Weather Service
  • National Ocean Service
  • Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
  • Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
  • Office of Program Planning and Integration

Numbers

Patents, Trademarks and Licenses

  • Patent and Trademark Office
  • Bureau of Industry and Security

Helping Business

  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration
  • International Trade Administration
  • National Technical Information Service

Helping the Poor

  • Economic Development Administration
  • Minority Business Development Agency
This was last updated in September 2017

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