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)
October 24, 2012
Suzanne Iacono, deputy assistant director of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering will be featured on an InformationWeek Government Webcast, “Act on Big Data,” on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 at 2 p.m. ET.
Iacono, who also serves as vice chair of the Big Data Senior Steering Group of the interagency Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, will be part of a panel of experts during the webcast. In that role she will provide an update on the Obama administration’s Big Data Initiative.
The White House Website, May 2012
The Presidential Innovation Fellows will pair top innovators from the private sector, non-profits, or academia with top innovators in government to collaborate on game-changing solutions that aim to deliver significant results in six months. Each team of innovators will work together in-person in Washington, DC on focused sprints while being supported by a broader community of interested citizens throughout the country. What makes this initiative unique is its focus on unleashing the ingenuity and know-how of Americans from all sectors. The five projects that will launch in summer 2012 have straightforward goals: to improve the lives of the American people, saving taxpayer money, and fueling job creation. This is innovation aimed at making a difference for all Americans.
For more information about this program, visit Presidential Innovation Fellows | The White House.
Posted by Steven VanRoekel, Office of Management and Budget, on May 23, 2012
When the Internet revolution arrived in the 1990s, the U.S. Government embraced this new medium to interact with the American people. Today, what started as basic information pages has evolved into sophisticated transactional systems that allow us to pay taxes online, download medical records, and so much more. Like the 1990s, we are now in the midst of another important shift in how people consume and deliver information and services. In 2011, global smartphone shipments exceeded personal computer shipments for the first time in history, and more Americans will soon access the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs. The rise of mobile further compounds the challenge of providing high-quality digital services in a cost-effective and efficient manner. That’s why President Obama issued a directive today to make important services accessible from your phone and charged me with developing a comprehensive strategy to build a 21st Century Digital Government that delivers better digital services to the American people. Today marks the launch of that Digital Government Strategy.
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)
by Richard Jones, AIP FYI Blog, August 31, 2011
The next few months will be important in determining the funding of federal scientific research in Fiscal Year 2012. Although FY 2012 starts a month from tomorrow, Congress is unlikely to settle on final budgets until later this year. Short term funding will be provided through one or bills. The outlook is more promising for a quicker resolution of the final appropriations than in previous years because Congress and the Administration have settled on an overall cap on FY 2012 discretionary spending…
For more information, click here.