Tag Archive | Policy

Commons Lab and FCC Releases New Report on the National Broadband Map

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

To download the report and watch the archived video, click here.

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.

Read More…

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

Live webcast, Oct 15 at 9:30 AM Eastern:

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.

The incorporation of geographic information systems allows users to identify broadband internet options in their area, and policy makers to identify geographic gaps in service needing support.  This combination of techniques created a flexible resource that has already guided appropriations through the Connect America Fund. It continues to be applied to other communications challenges such as mobile broadband connectivity.  The National Broadband Map demonstrates that there is room for agencies to innovate and promotes a national conversation on how to improve government outcomes in the 21st century.

The National Broadband Map is a vital example of the benefits available to all when government prioritizes transparency, allows itself to be guided by the public, and directs policy based on robust and reliable data.

To RSVP for the event, watch the live webcast, or download a copy of the report, click here.

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MAPPS Promotes “Map It Once, Use It Many Times” Act

At the prompting of MAPPS, Rep Doug Lamborn (Co-5) introduced HR 4233, Map It Once, Use It Many Times Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 21, 2012. This bill was referred to several congressional committees. The following summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, which serves Congress.

Map It Once, Use It Many Times Act – Establishes the National Geospatial Technology Administration in the Department of the Interior. Directs the Administrator of the National Geospatial Technology Administration to: (1) establish a National Geospatial Database of all U.S. owned or managed lands (including public lands), Indian trust parcels, and non-federal lands in each state; and (2) determine whether any U.S. owned or managed property may be better managed through ownership by a non-federal entity. Requires the Administrator to implement the recommendations of the National Geospatial Data Plan developed by the National Geospatial Policy Commission established by this Act. Requires the Administrator to promulgate standards for ensuring the interoperability of geospatial data collected by or with the support of the federal government. Transfers to the Administrator all geospatial functions vested by law in the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) with respect to the National Forest System, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read More…

Cost Recovery in Public Sector GIS Programs

GIS Program Revenue Generation and Legal Issues in Public Sector Organizations

by Peter Croswell and Alex Wernher, URISA, 2004

Abstract: In late 2003, The authors, in coordination with the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), conducted a survey to learn about the status of financial, legal, and policy issues impacting public sector geographic information system (GIS) programs in the United States. More specifically, the survey’s purpose was to gather information about revenue generation through the sale of GIS products and services by organizations administering public agency GIS programs. This publication describes the approach and results of this survey, which included responses from a number of federal, state, regional, and local public agencies. In addition, this publication provides an overview of important concepts and issues that impact the distribution and sale of products and services from public agency GIS programs.

It will discuss the types of GIS products and services being provided by public agencies to external organizations and the nature and legal basis of agreements for cost sharing and funding of GIS programs. A review of important legal concerns will cover such areas as: a) impacts of state open records laws, b) privacy regulations, c) copyright restrictions on GIS databases, d) liability issues and other policy and legal issues. It will summarize the results of a national survey conducted in the Fall of 2003 which gathered information from public agencies on: The status of revenue generation programs; GIS products, services and fee schedules; Non-traditional funding sources; Interagency agreements and consortia; and Legal issues impacting GIS data and product distribution.

For full text of this report and survey, click here.

Future of 9-1-1? App Lets University Students Send Video Instantly to Police

Seal of the University of Maryland (Trademark ...

Image via Wikipedia

by News Staff, Government Technology, September 16, 2011

University of Maryland students, faculty and staff were given access this week to a free Android smartphone app that gives them a direct and instantaneous line of communication to campus police and dispatch. With the M-Urgency app, smartphone users on the College Park campus have the ability to broadcast real-time audio and video to emergency dispatchers with the push of a button. Police and fire can also find the user’s approximate location by triangulating off of the phone’s built-in GPS and cell towers. … The Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Lab and its director, computer science professor Ashok Agrawala, developed the app in collaboration with the university’s Department of Public Safety. … For full text of the article, visit: App Lets University Students Send Video Instantly to Police.

Three Years in the Life of UK National Information Policy

Forwarded by the GSDI Legal and Socio-Economics Listserv:

In three years since Ed Mayo’s and Tom Steinberg’s ‘Power of Information Review’, much attention has been focused on UK national information policy (NIP) as to how to render it fit for purpose in a Gov 2.0 environment. Since 2007, the importance of collecting, creating and sharing information in different formats has been a feature of policy. Despite these austere times, the intractable problem of funding public sector information provision, particularly from the trading funds, such as Ordnance Survey, has been under review. Problems continue, however, in translating the desire for reform into reality. At a time when a new coalition government is establishing policy, the fragility of these cross-government agendas can be seen. What is needed now is a clear understanding of how NIP feeds into broader ambitions of the knowledge economy, and how spatial information, data sharing and its exploitation can be used to promote better policies, facilitate social reform and build smarter government in the process.

For full text of the article, click here.

New Congressional Research Service Reports on Geospatial Technology for the Nation

As highlighted by Steven Aftergood in Secrecy News, June 3, 2011:

Policy issues surrounding the use of geospatial information are examined in two new reports from the Congressional Research Service. …

“The federal government and policy makers increasingly use geospatial information and tools like GIS for producing floodplain maps, conducting the census, mapping foreclosures, congressional redistricting, and responding to natural hazards such as wildfires, earthquakes, and tsunamis. For policy makers, this type of analysis can greatly assist in clarifying complex problems that may involve local, state, and federal government, and affect businesses, residential areas, and federal installations.”

See “Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): An Overview for Congress” (pdf), May 18, 2011,  and “Issues and Challenges for Federal Geospatial Information” (pdf), May 18, 2011.

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