Tag Archive | Development

Webcast Event on Crowdsourcing and USAID Development Credit Loans

Usaid logo

Usaid logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting by With a Little Help from Our Friends: Crowdsourcing and USAID Development Credit Loans

USAID’s Development Credit Authority utilizes risk-sharing tools to encourage private financial institutions to increase financing for creditworthy but underserved borrowers. Geo-visualization of these loans will allow donors, host governments, and the public to see where USAID has helped enhance the capacity of the private sector to make loans to new businesses and could act as a gauge for trends or signal areas for synergy.Until recently, these data could not be mapped due to problematic and non-standard location data for each loan. Under the policy umbrella of the First Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, USAID leveraged federal partners, volunteer technical communities, and the power of crowdsourcing to perform intensive data mining and “geo-coding” to understand the geographic distribution of loans and make these data open to the public. Without any additional cost to USAID, data.gov, an online platform for hosting released data, was used for crowdsourcing for the first time.This case study details technical and policy implementation challenges and solutions to help other government entities explore how to leverage the power of “the crowd.”  This form of engagement is opening government and development to the public in an entirely new way. Interested individuals – from transparency advocates to development students to geography fanatics – virtually sit next to USAID staff as true partners working to solve a complex problem.


  • Shadrock Roberts, Senior GIS Analyst, GeoCenter, Office of Science and Technology, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Stephanie Grosser, Communications Specialist and Presidential Management Fellow, USAID
  • D. Ben Swartley, Agriculture and Environment Officer and GIS Analyst, GeoCenter, Office of Science and Technology, USAID

When:Thursday, June 28, 2012, 12:00 – 1:30 PM

Where:  6th Floor Conference Room
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20004

To RSVP for this event visit: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/getting-little-help-our-friends-crowdsourcing-and-usaid-development-credit-loans This meeting is free and open to the public. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry.

TechChange will be providing  online engagement  for this event.

  • To watch the live webcast on June 28th and contribute comments and questions for the panelists, visit: http://techchange.org/live-events/
  • To follow and discuss the event on Twitter, use hashtag: #USAIDcrowd

To check out the archived video of the event and event summary, to be posted the following week, visit:

For more information, email CommonsLab@wilsoncenter.org.

For directions to the Wilson Center visit http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions

Measuring the Impacts of Federal Investments in Research and Development

Measuring the Impacts of Federal Investments in Research: A Workshop

Monday-Tuesday, April 18-19, 2011

20 F Street (NW) Conference Center

Washington, D.C. 20001

A committee formed under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) and Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) is holding a two-day workshop to identify analytical and data needs and opportunities in assessing the returns to federal research funding across a wide range of fields and government missions.   The meeting is targeted for:

  • Federal agency research evaluators
  • Congressional staff with research jurisdictions
  • Science funding advocates
  • Science of science policy scholars
  • Other academics

Questions to be discussed include:

What have we learned from previous efforts to measure the economic and noneconomic benefits of federal research investments?

What are the links between health research and health outcomes and costs?

Can we measure the impact of research on non-market values such as climate change mitigation, food security, environmental protection, and national security?

What progress has been made in constructing a long-term data infrastructure for measuring research impacts? Can approaches such as STAR Metrics be broadened to encompass different performers and funding mechanisms?

What methods and metrics are being used in Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere?

What metrics and data are needed to track career choices and career development of STEM graduates trained with research funds?

How might we assess the influence of research on formal (e.g., regulatory, judicial) and informal (e.g., consumer, patient) decision-making?

For more information and to register for the workshop, via Returns on Federal R&D.

Geospatial Technology, Diplomacy and Development


Geospatial Information Systems: Powerful Tools for Diplomacy and Development

Office of the Science and Technology Adviser, U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
March 9, 2009

Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) are an increasingly vital resource for national security, development, public health, the environment, and other aspects of foreign policy. A GIS integrates remotely sensed satellite or aerial imagery, Global Positioning System (GPS) information, and many other kinds of geographically referenced data, using mapping software to create a visually accessible display. For example, crop yields, prices, and socioeconomic data can all be factored into assessments of food security across a particular region. Policy makers are using such tools for:

  • Urban planning for transportation, water, energy, sanitation, land use and service delivery
  • Environmental monitoring of deforestation, desertification, illegal logging, land use and land cover
  • Natural resource management, including freshwater and marine ecosystems
  • Delineation and mapping of watersheds, resolving water disputes across international boundaries
  • Public health, mapping of disease transmission for prevention and treatment efforts
  • Emergency preparedness and disaster response
  • Monitoring and planning for effects of climate change
  • Monitoring human rights violations
  • Verifying arms control and nonproliferation treaties

… for full text of article, visit: http://www.state.gov/g/stas/2009/120150.htm


Also visit the following websites:

American Association for the Advancement of Science  (AAAS)  Science and Human Rights Program:


Operating under the auspices of URISA, GISCorps coordinates short term, volunteer based GIS services to underprivileged communities

Vision & Goals

GISCorps volunteers’ services will help to improve the quality of life by:

  • Supporting humanitarian relief.
  • Enhancing environmental analysis.
  • Encouraging/fostering economic development.
  • Supporting community planning and development.
  • Strengthening local capacity by adopting and using information technology.
  • Supporting health and education related activities.

GISCorps implements URISA’s vision of advancing the effective use of spatial information technologies.

GISCorps makes available highly specialized GIS expertise to improve the well being of developing and transitional communities without exploitation or regard for profit.

GISCorps coordinates the open exchange of volunteer GIS expertise cooperatively among and along with other agencies.

Spatial Data Infrastructure, Coordination, and Access Policy Research


Going to stray a little academic here, a couple of articles of possible interest relating to spatial data infrastructures (SDI), cross-agency coordination, and data access policies:

Note: IJGIS is not an open access journal (to access, must have a subscription)… or you could try contacting author to get a copy.

Developing geographic information infrastructures: the role of access policies
Author: B. van Loenen
International Journal of Geographical Information Science
Within societies, information availability is a key issue affecting society’s well-being. For geographic information, a geographic information infrastructure (GII) facilitates availability and access to geographic information for all levels of government, the commercial sector, the non-profit sector, academia, and ordinary citizens. Although the importance of access policies in the development of a GII is commonly understood, research that has assessed the impact of access policies on this development is scant. This article adds this perspective. Based on information acquired from case-study and literature research, the author argues that open-access policies do not always promote GII development and in specific instances are counter-productive. These findings may explain why many nations still adhere to cost-recovery policies instead of following access policies recommended by research. The article provides alternatives for changing current policies into new access policies that promote GII development.
Keywords: Geographic information infrastructure; SDI; Access policy; Development

Cross-agency coordination in the shadow of hierarchy: ‘joining up’ government geospatial information systems
Authors: K. T. Lance; Y. Georgiadou; A. K. Bregt
International Journal of Geographical Information Science
Government agencies striving to make geospatial information systems interoperable and cost-effective often appear to function as a self-regulating network shaped only by internal trust and reciprocity. However, recent public management research suggests that external steering of a network, exercised by authoritative bodies through hierarchical means, may invigorate cross-agency coordination. The two case studies of federal geospatial coordination in Canada and the USA confirm this emerging theory of network-hierarchy dynamics. In these countries, the central budget agency (CBA) is influencing resource flows and accountabilities within a federal geospatial network of government agencies, which in turn affects how these agencies deliver ‘joined up’ services. The CBA relies upon three types of tools: the shaping of network governing structures, promotion of uptake of new management information systems, and the use of evaluation (scrutiny) to solidify  accountabilities of the network. Since these tools cast a shadow of hierarchy upon the network, they may be viewed as counter to the voluntary ethos of networks. However, the case studies suggest that the CBA’s actions appear to confer legitimacy to the network, resulting in a seeming contradiction greater central control, more vigorous, distributed geospatial coordination.
Keywords: Cross-agency coordination; SDI implementation; Joined-up government; Metagovernance

%d bloggers like this: