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Big Announcements in Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science at White House Event


Memo: Addressing Societal and Scientific Challenges Through Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing:

Blog post:



White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in partnership with the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science

Blog post:



The NSF Director Dr. France Cordova announces that citizen science and crowdsourcing—“a visionary concept”– will be a core priority for NSF in the coming fiscal year. Her presentation begins about 32 min into the Citizen Science Forum video, and the announcement is at 40:49. The written announcement will come from OMB later this year.

NSF Press Release: Be a (citizen) scientist! (of note, NSF has made $5,613,201 in grants and related awards that support research in this area):


The Citizen Science Association and partners, including the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, announced plans to organize a Citizen Science Day on April 16, 2015, which will kick off a series of events nationwide.



White House Citizen Science Forum, in partnership with the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science

YouTube Video:

Holdren Opening Remarks (waiting for them to be posted):

Blog Post:


The Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015 provides clarification to government agencies, removing ambiguity about whether an agency can use crowdsourcing techniques. Senator Coons (D-DE) and Senator Daines (R-MT) co-sponsored the bill.

Text of the Bill:

Press release:

The Government Wants You to Help It Do Science Experiments, Senator Chris Coons, Wired Magazine

First in MT…Coons to Unveil Federal Crowdsourcing Bill

Senator Coons Introduces Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015 by Gene Quinn, IPWatchdog

  Read More…

Draft Strategic Plan for the National Spatial Data Infastructure

Date: July 31, 2013

Subject: NSDI Strategic Plan – Public Comment Period


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: and a copy is attached. Comments may be submitted electronically to: 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: We will post additional information on the webpage as the planning process advances.


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 |


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.



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