By Ashley Woods and Kate Abbey-Lambertz, HuffPost Detroit, January 28, 2013
Alsup and Paffendorf said there are many possible uses for their improved site. Detroiters could visualize the privately created Detroit Future City framework, which provides a road map for city development over the next four decades, using WDWOT’s data. Community organizations could build private maps to keep track of abandoned lots in their neighborhood. Organizations working on foreclosure prevention may find the data to be more proactive.
But not everyone sees the open access to information as a good thing. When WDWOT first made information from the massive county foreclosure auction readily available online, some wondered if the site would just help out-of-state speculators to buy up property on the cheap — with no intention of ever improving it.
- Mapping The Destruction Of Detroit (huffingtonpost.com)
- What can be done with Detroit’s thousands of empty properties? (mlive.com)
Eric Lundquist, Information Week Global CIO, January 4, 2012
The looming issue in big data isn’t technology but the decisions associated with how, when and if results should be provided. Widespread access to public information, interfaces that make it easy to combine big data sources, and the ability to publish information to the Internet is going to yield some difficult decisions for the big data community. … In the enthusiasm around big data, there has been little discussion about what that data might uncover. Privacy issues will surface as data analytics becomes able to reveal identities by combining what was previously considered anonymous data with location and purchasing information.
For full text of this article, visit: Why You’ll Need A Big Data Ethics Expert – Global-cio – Executive.
- Big Data To Become Powerful Driver Of IT Spending – Gartner (misco.co.uk)
- Big Data in Law: Cloud Challenge, Analytics Opportunity (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
The following is part of a special series of policy briefs by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars running until inauguration day. This piece, written by Commons Lab Early Career Scholar Zachary Bastian, tackles the need for reform in federal information technology.
As the world has become more dependent on information technology (IT), so has the federal government and its constituencies. Leveraged effectively, technical tools can engage the public, create cost savings, and improve outcomes. These benefits are obscured by regular reminders that federal IT is fundamentally flawed. It is too big to succeed. For IT to become sustainable, the federal government must enable change in three categories: 1) embracing agile development, modular contracting, and open-source software, 2) prioritizing small business participation, and 3) shifting the federal IT culture towards education and experimentation. The adoption of these reforms is vital. The current state of federal IT undermines good work through inefficiency and waste.
- Too Big to Succeed: The Need for Federal IT Reform (disaster-net.com)
By Catherine Bracy, Director of International Programs at Code for America, December 31, 2012
…But even if they were politically savvy, the issues the technology industry would be pushing are a different set of interests than consumers (and by that I mean citizens) are concerned with. Which brings me to the second part of what I meant: those who have outsized power and influence through network technology to make their voices heard often put it to use in the most inane and self-centered ways. There was lots of talk after the Internet beat back SOPA and PIPA about the potential for networked models of citizen participation that actually WORKED. The so-far failed opportunity to realize that potential has been starkly revealed in the last few weeks: the tech-savvy in an uproar over Instagram’s terms of service while at the same time sitting idly by as FISA gets reauthorized, and staring helplessly from the sidelines as Congress bungles the fiscal cliff. …
For full text of this op-ed, please visit Silicon Valley’s Problem | BraceLand.
- BraceLand | Silicon Valley’s Problem (cbracy.tumblr.com)
by Tripti Lahiri, WSJ India, December 30, 2012
In the wake of the fire at a Bangladesh factory that killed at least 112 garment workers on Nov. 24, U.S. and European retailers who buy from the South Asian country have said they will drastically improve safety checks at the factories they use. … But few of the plans being considered by retailers seem likely to address issues that labor groups have raised with regard to the present safety audit system – that they don’t allow workers a way to alert retailers to issues that crop up when the brands’ representatives are not around. Another complaint is that information on fire safety is generally kept confidential and rarely shared in a comprehensive way with the workers most likely to be at risk. Indian-American entrepreneur Kohl Gill is hopeful that cellphones, which are now widespread in exporting countries like Bangladesh and China, could help.Through his two-year-old company LaborVoices, Mr. Gill has been developing a voice-activated system that workers can call to leave messages about workplace conditions. ….
For full text of this article, please visit Can Mobile Phones Improve Factory Fire Safety? – India Real Time – WSJ.
- In Bangladesh, the Garment Factories Keep Burning (businessweek.com)
- Walmart said no to paying for fire safety in Bangladesh factories (dailykos.com)
- Bangladesh Fire Kills More Than 100 and Injures Many (nytimes.com)
Geospatial InformationGAO-13-94, Nov 26, 2012
What GAO Found
While the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have established policies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data, governmentwide committees and federal departments and agencies have not effectively implemented them. The committee that was established to promote the coordination of geospatial data nationwide–the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)–has developed and endorsed key standards– including a metadata standard that includes descriptive information about a particular set of geospatial data–and established a clearinghouse of metadata; however, the clearinghouse is not being used by agencies to identify planned geospatial investments to promote coordination and reduce duplication. The FGDC has not yet planned or implemented an approach to manage geospatial data as related groups of investments to allow agencies to more effectively plan geospatial data collection efforts and minimize duplicative investments; and its strategic plan is missing key elements, such as performance measures for many of its defined objectives. Further, none of the three federal departments in GAO’s review have fully implemented important activities for coordinating geospatial data, such as preparing and implementing a strategy for advancing geospatial activities within their respective departments.
Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, Director, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law, University of Mississippi School of Law and Research Professor of Law, will discuss the Charter on Cooperation to Achieve the Coordinated Use of Space Facilities in the Event of Natural or Technological Disasters (Disasters Charter), which provides for the voluntary sharing of satellite imagery in the event of major disasters. Prof. Gabrynowicz will address the contents, structure, and status of the Charter, and highlight its strengths and weakness with a focus on how it could develop in the future. She also will discuss data access and sharing ideas.
The National Broadband Map: A Case Study on Open Innovation for National Policy
Commons Lab Blog, October 2012
The National Broadband Map, designed to provide consumers nationwide reliable information on broadband internet connections, was built incorporating emerging technology. It protects consumers, holds the government and private sector accountable, and engages the public across the United States. In a time of budgetary constraint, the Map made a series of remarkable policy innovations that allowed the project to be completed in minimal time and at a reduced cost. The public was engaged before, during, and after the project. Citizens generated speed testing data. They provided comments and feed back on improving internet connectivity. They used a National Broadband Map crowdsource utility to let the FCC know whether the information they posted was accurate. The data collected is open, freely available to anyone. The application itself was built using open-source software unchained by licensing fees, enhancing its flexibility and accessibility. The development process broke from traditional government procurement, and programmers regularly communicated with uses to better understand the needs of the project: this avoided cost overruns and unused features.