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Draft Strategic Plan for the National Spatial Data Infastructure

Date: July 31, 2013

Subject: NSDI Strategic Plan – Public Comment Period

Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is seeking public comment on the draft strategic plan for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The draft plan, which has been developed through collaboration with partners and stakeholders in the geospatial community, describes a broad national vision for the NSDI and includes goals and objectives for the Federal government’s role in continued sustainable development of the NSDI.

I encourage you to review the plan and offer any comments for improvement. The strategic plan, along with instructions for providing comments, is posted at the following address: http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi-plan and a copy is attached. Comments may be submitted electronically to: nsdicomments@fgdc.gov. Comments are due by August 21, 2013.

The new NSDI plan is important and timely for several reasons. First, while the FGDC community has engaged in a series of strategic initiatives over the past several years, including the Geospatial Line of Business and Geospatial Platform initiatives, the current NSDI strategic plan has not been revised for a number of years. Second, geospatial technologies, industries, and applications have seen tremendous growth and change over the past several years, and our strategies need to be modernized to align with and leverage these changes. In addition, the recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “OMB and Agencies Need to Make Coordination a Priority to Reduce Duplication” (GAO-13-94), reaffirmed the importance of improving coordination and reducing potential duplication and recommended the development of an updated NSDI strategy.

As we have developed the plan, we have provided multiple opportunities for participation and input. These opportunities have included forums for leaders of key geospatial organizations, workshops for Federal leaders, sessions at geospatial professional conferences, and public meetings of the FGDC Coordination Group, the FGDC Steering Committee, and the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC). Our goal has been to engage leaders of key geospatial organizations in the early stages of the planning process, gather initial input, and seek continuing involvement. The input and suggestions we received from our partners, both within and outside of the Federal government, has been instrumental in shaping the new plan. The NGAC, in particular, has provided extensive and thoughtful input into the plan.

Following the public comment period, a revised draft of the plan will be prepared for final review and adoption by the FGDC Steering Committee. Following completion of the strategic plan, the FGDC community will develop more detailed project plans for the goals and objectives in the strategic plan.

We appreciate your long-standing involvement and support for the NSDI, and we look forward to working with you and your organizations as we finalize and implement the new NSDI strategic plan. Additional information about the NSDI planning process is posted at: http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi-plan. We will post additional information on the webpage as the planning process advances.

Regards,

Anne J. Castle

Chair, Federal Geographic Data Committee

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science

U.S. Department of the Interior

Mapping the Growth of OpenStreetMap

by Emily Badger, The Atlantic, March 14, 2013

OpenStreetMap is a marvel of modern crowdsourcing. Since its creation in 2004, DIY cartographers – typically armed with GPS devices or satellite photography – have been slowly mapping the world’s road networks and landmarks to create a free alternative to proprietary geographic data that can then support tools like trip planners. The process, which began in the U.K., is painstaking and piecemeal, and nearly a decade into it, more than a million people have contributed a sliver of road here or a surveyed cul-de-sac there. …

For full text of this article, visit Mapping the Growth of OpenStreetMap – Emily Badger – The Atlantic Cities.

Also check out the great work of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.

The GitHub Generation: Why We’re All in Open Source Now

by Mikeal Rogers, Wired Magazine, March 7, 2013

GitHub was intended to be an open software collaboration platform, but it’s become a platform for much, much more than code. It’s now being used by artists, builders, home owners, everyone in between, entire companies … and cities. GitHub is doing to open source what the internet did to the publishing industry.“ Anyone can now change the data when new bike paths are built, when roads are under construction, and new buildings are erected,” the city of Chicago recently announced. … Perhaps not so surprisingly, he has about 17 open “pull” requests for changes. And of course, GitHub is still used by programmers and developers flying AR Drones with Node.js or building websites with jQuery.

For full text of this article, visit The GitHub Generation: Why We’re All in Open Source Now | Wired Opinion | Wired.com.

 

Zero Geography: Situating Neogeography

Situating Neogeography: Special Issue of Environment and Planning A

The special issue of Environment and Planning A on neogeography that Mark Graham edited with Matthew Wilson is now out an available to download. It will undoubtedly be a useful collection for anyone interested in thinking about the coming-togethers of information, the internet, and place.

For table of contents and links visit Zero Geography: Situating Neogeography: Special Issue of Environment and Planning A.

 

The Privacy Legal Implications of Big Data: A Primer

By David Navetta, Information Law Group, February 12, 2013

By now many lawyers and business managers have heard of the term “Big Data,” but many may not understand exactly what it refers to, and still more likely do not know how it will impact their clients and business or perhaps it already is. Big Data is everywhere quite literally. …

The potential uses and benefits of Big Data are endless. Unfortunately, Big Data also poses some risk to both the companies seeking to unlock its potential, and the individuals whose information is now continuously being collected, combined, mined, analyzed, disclosed and acted upon. This post explores the concept of Big Data and some of the privacy-related legal issues and risks associated with it.

For full text of this legal discussion, please visit The Privacy Legal Implications of Big Data: A Primer | InfoLawGroup.

 

The Information Revolution Gets Political

by Joseph S. Nye, Project Syndicate, Jan 9, 2013

“… it would be a mistake to “over-learn” the lessons that the Arab revolutions have taught about information, technology, and power. While the information revolution could, in principle, reduce large states’ power and increase that of small states and non-state actors, politics and power are more complex than such technological determinism implies.

In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that computers and new means of communications would create the kind of central governmental control dramatized in George Orwell’s 1984. And, indeed, authoritarian governments in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere have used the new technologies to try to control information. Ironically for cyber-utopians, the electronic trails created by social networks like Twitter and Facebook sometimes make the job of the secret police easier.”

For full text of this thought provoking article, please visit The Information Revolution Gets Political by Joseph S. Nye – Project Syndicate.

 

White House Introduces Alpha.Data.gov Showcase

When the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced its call for 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows last summer, US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park also asked folks across the country to support these Fellows with great ideas and valuable feedback. Over the past few months, through video chats, conference calls, and in-person meetings, thousands of Americans have connected with us to learn and share ideas about our work—and this Administration’s commitment—to unleash data from the vaults of the government as fuel for innovation….

After hearing this feedback, we had an idea: create an online showcase, highlighting the very best Open Data resources and how they are already being used by private-sector entrepreneurs and innovators to create new products and services that benefit people in all kinds of ways—from empowering patients to find the best healthcare right when they need it; to helping consumers detect credit card fraud; to keeping kids safe by notifying parents when products in their home are recalled.

Visit Alpha.Data.gov.

For full text of the article, visit Introducing Alpha.Data.gov | The White House.

Wilson Center Report and Video on Crowdsourcing for the National Broadband Map

The National Broadband Map: A Case Study on Open Innovation for National Policy

by Zachary Bastian, Wilson Center‘s Commons Lab, and Michael Byrne, FCC.

The National Broadband Map is a powerful consumer protection tool developed by the FCC to provide consumers nationwide reliable information on broadband internet connections. Through consistent public engagement and the use of emerging crowdsourcing technologies and open-source software, the project was able to promote government transparency and trust in government, while finishing on time and avoiding cost overruns. The National Broadband Map is a vital example of the benefits to all when government prioritizes transparency, allows itself to be guided by the public, and directs national policy based on robust and reliable data. Published by the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC September 2012.

To download a copy of the REPORT, click on the Commons Lab Scribed webpage here.

To watch the archived VIDEO on the rollout event, visit the Commons Lab YouTube page.

Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers

Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers

By Edward Robson, Esq.

Major emergencies and crises can overwhelm local resources. In the last several years, self-organized digital volunteers have begun leveraging the power of social media and “crowd-mapping” for collaborative crisis response. Rather than mobilizing a physical response, these digital volunteer groups have responded virtually by creating software applications, monitoring social networks, aggregating data, and creating “crowdsourced” maps to assist both survivors and the formal response community. These virtual responses can subject digital volunteers to tort liability. This report evaluates the precise contours of potential liability for digital volunteers. Published by the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, September 2012.

To download a PDF of the free report, visit the Commons Lab Scribd webpage here.

To read a follow up blog post by the author, visit the Commons Lab Blog “Calling for Backup – Indemnification for Digital Volunteers (November 7, 2012)”

To watch a video of the author discussing liability for digital volunteers, visit the Commons Lab YouTube webpage here.

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