by Peter Colohan (he’s awesome!), Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, April 19, 2013
Ever wonder where the Weather Channel gets its data? Where the satellite images for Google Earth come from? These data and much more come from a complex array of satellites, ocean buoys, stream gauges, human surveys, and other platforms for collecting what the scientific community calls Earth observations. These data are used every day to protect life and property and answer key questions about our planet.Today, the Obama Administration’s National Science and Technology Council released a National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations—a framework for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nation’s Earth-observation enterprise. Currently, 11 Federal departments and agencies engage in Earth observation activities, collecting volumes of important data about the Earth on an ongoing basis, using an array of sophisticated tools and systems. The new Strategy outlines a process for evaluating and prioritizing Earth-observation investments according to their value to society in critical areas such as agriculture, global change, disasters, water resources, and weather.Each year, the U.S. Government invests significant resources in Earth-observations systems to collect data about Earth’s land, oceans, ecosystems, and atmosphere. Together, these systems take the pulse of our planet, providing critical Earth-system data that scientists and analysts can then turn into usable information about climate and weather, disaster events, land-use changes, ecosystem health, natural resources, and more. Ultimately, information and services derived from Earth-observation data—including some as ubiquitous as weather forecasts and GPS-navigation—are used by policy makers, resource managers, business leaders, first-responders, and citizens to make important day-to-day decisions.But as the Nation’s Earth-observation capacity has grown, so has the complexity of the Earth-observation endeavor. The demand for data, the complexity of the tools required to collect those data, and the sheer amount of data being collected, all are increasing. The National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations aims to help Federal agencies face these challenges by better-organizing existing Earth-observation systems and information, and coordinating plans for future projects. In support of the Obama Administration’s Open Data Initiatives, this Strategy also provides specific guidance on how agencies can make these Earth observations more open and accessible to the public.Going forward, the Strategy will be used as a basis to inform a broad National Plan for Civil Earth Observations—a blueprint for future investments in US Earth-observing systems, including agency roles and responsibilities, and creative solutions to challenges related to maintaining the Nation’s Earth-observing systems. It will also reinforce the United States’ ongoing commitment to work with international partners through the multi-national Group on Earth Observations GEO.The Strategy released today provides an evidence-based framework for routine assessment and planning across the entire family of Federal agencies engaged in Earth observations. It will help agencies compare notes, prioritize activities, and improve the quality of data about the planet—with the ultimate goal of meeting society’s most pressing data and information needs. Read the Strategy here.Learn more about global Earth-observation efforts here.Peter Colohan is a Senior Policy Analyst at OSTP
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.
For full text of the article, visit Introducing Alpha.Data.gov | The White House.
- White House Changing Policies to Open Up More Data… (semanticweb.com)
by Dan Vergano, USA Today, April 10, 2012
And if the government dangles prize money in front of inventors to come up with technology solutions to common problems, it can get results just as in the private sector, suggests a White House report out today that documents its successes in offering “challenge” prizes. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) report follows passage last year of the America COMPETES Act, which streamlined federal research funding rules, and gave agencies wider latitude to solve problems by offering competitive prizes. Prizes such as 2004’s Ansari X Prize, where philanthropists awarded $10 million to the first private spacecraft to reach 62 miles high twice in two weeks, helped inspire the move. …
For full text of the report, visit White House touts ‘challenge’ prizes for tech solutions – USATODAY.com.
White House ‘Big Data’ Push Means Big Bucks for Drone Brains
By Robert Beckhusen, Danger Room, Wired Magazine, March 29, 2012
The military has a data problem. More specifically, it has a too-much-data problem. Analysts have to sort through massive amounts of information collected by orbiting surveillance drones and satellites, or finding the data trails left behind by spies inside defense networks. Sorting through all this data is also necessary for making unmanned vehicles more autonomous. Bring on the White House’s new “big data” research initiative. Announced this morning, the plan aims to invest “more than $200 million” in six government agencies to develop systems to “extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data,” according to a White House statement. …
For full text of the article, via White House ‘Big Data’ Push Means Big Bucks for Drone Brains | Danger Room | Wired.com.
- White House ‘Big Data’ Push Means Big Bucks for Drone Brains (wired.com)
- Why science really needs big data – CNET News (news.cnet.com)
- Feds launch big data initiative to advance science (news.cnet.com)
- Big Data Initiative Or Big Government Boondoggle? (informationweek.com)
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has responsibility, in partnership with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), for advising the President on the Federal Research and Development (R&D) budget and shaping R&D priorities across those Federal agencies that have significant portfolios in science and technology. OSTP also has responsibility—with the help of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which is administered out of OSTP—for coordinating interagency research initiatives. It is OSTP’s mission to help develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets that reflect Administration priorities and make coordinated progress toward important national policy goal.
OSTP is pleased to release the following information on the science, technology, innovation, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education components of the President’s FY 2013 Budget. Click here for webcast of budget briefing and PDF of R&D Budget.
The full President’s FY 2013 budget can be found here.
- President’s FY13 Budget Release Info Posted for DOE, NOAA, NSF (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Analysis of R & D Investments in FY 2012 Appropriations Bill (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
by Patricia Moloney Figliola, Congressional Research Service, January 13, 2012
SUMMARY: In the early 1990s, Congress recognized that several federal agencies had ongoing high performance computing programs, but no central coordinating body existed to ensure long-term coordination and planning. To provide such a framework, Congress passed the High-Performance Computing and Communications Program Act of 1991 (P.L. 102-194) to enhance the effectiveness of the various programs. In conjunction with the passage of the act, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released Grand Challenges: High-Performance Computing and Communications. That document outlined a research and development (R&D) strategy for high-performance computing and a framework for a multiagency program, the High-Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program. The HPCC Program has evolved over time and is now called the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, to better reflect its expanded mission.
Total USGS appropriations:
The FY 2011 appropriation was $1,083.7 million
The FY 2012 Administration request was $1,117.9 million
The FY 2012 appropriation is $1,069.7 million, a decline of $14.0 million or 1.3 percent.
For a breakdown of the appropriations by USGS programs under Surveys, Investigations and Research, visit the AIP FYI blog: FY 2012 Appropriation for U.S. Geological Survey.
Of note, the appropriations report states:
Land Use Change and Land Imaging
“Within Land Use Change, an increase of $11,500,000 is provided to complete funding for Landsat 8 ground operations development. The conferees have not agreed with the proposal to create a separate ‘Land Imaging’ account and have instead maintained funding for all satellite operations within this subactivity. Estimated administrative savings assumed in the proposed new account have been assumed within the Land Use Change account instead.
“The conferees have not agreed to transfer budgetary authority for the launch of Landsat satellites 9 and 10 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Survey. Of the requested $48,000,000 increase for its implementation, the conferees have provided $2,000,000 for program development only. The conferees note that future requests for the project are estimated by the Administration to escalate to over $400,000,000 by fiscal year 2014. There is little doubt that resources will not be available within the Interior Appropriations bill to support these very large increases without decimating all other Survey programs. The conferees note that the launch of Landsat 9 is not scheduled until 2018. This allows time in the year ahead for all interested parties to re-examine how to proceed with future Landsat missions. In the conferees’ view this would be a prudent step, inasmuch as the current budget proposal is based on a report from the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued in 2008, and both technological advances and a vastly different economic environment may point to other, less costly, options for obtaining Landsat data.”
National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program and National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Federal and State Partnerships
“Increases to the request include $998,000 for the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program to continue funding at the current year enacted level, and $1,500,000 for National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Federal and State Partnerships to partially restore the proposed reduction to that program. Decreases from the request include $500,000 from WaterSMART.”
Natural Hazards and Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning
“The conferees have not agreed to proposed reductions in the request and have restored funds to the following programs: $2,000,000 for Earthquake Grants; $1,800,000 for the 2012 Multi-Hazards Initiative; and $1,500,000 for the National Volcano Early Warning System. Decreases from the request include $800,000 from the 2011 Multi-Hazards Initiative, and $3,000,000 from Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.”
- Analysis of R & D Investments in FY 2012 Appropriations Bill (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)