Wilson Center’s Science & Technology Innovation Program

EVENT: National Plan for Civil Earth Observations

In Crowdsourcing, Governance on August 27, 2014 at 10:16 am


Thursday, September 4th, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, 6th Floor Boardroom

In July 2014, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Group on Earth Observations (USGEO) released the National Plan for Civil Earth Observations. Developed from the results of the first-ever assessment of the Federal civil earth observation enterprise, the Plan provides strategic guidance for a balanced portfolio approach to managing civil earth observations to fulfill agency mandates, achieve national objectives, and help inform Federal investments in civil earth observations. This briefing will highlight the key components of the National Plan, outline its impacts across Federal agencies involved in earth observations, and review associated efforts to enable interagency coordination.


  • Lea Shanley, Director, Commons Lab, Woodrow Wilson Center



Peter Colohan is the Assistant Director for Environmental Information in the Environment and Energy Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where he has served since 2010.  Peter’s technical work at OSTP focuses on Federal budgeting and international cooperation for capital infrastructure in Earth observation satellites, airborne, terrestrial and marine platforms and their associated data management approaches and architectures. He serves as the White House chair of the United States Group on Earth Observations (USGEO), a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council.  He also facilitates the Climate Data and Tools Working Group of the Climate Resilience and Preparedness Council, and chairs a steering group on water science and technology initiatives under the Committee on Environment Natural Resources and Sustainability (CENRS).

From 2002 to 2010, Peter served the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as an advisor and program manager in strategic planning and international coordination of Earth observations and environmental monitoring.  During this time, he facilitated the establishment of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), an intergovernmental body involving over 90 governments, five United Nations agencies, and more than 50 international organizations.

Peter holds degrees from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and American University’s School of International Service.


Timothy Stryker is Director of the U.S. Group on Earth Observations (USGEO) Program, which supports the cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Working with the USGEO Subcommittee of the NSTC’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability, the Program supports coordination of civil Earth observation activities, including systems assessments and data management initiatives, among multiple Federal agencies and their international partners.

Mr. Stryker’s previous positions include Chief of Policy, Plans, and Analysis for the Land Remote Sensing Program of the U.S. Geological Survey; Executive Officer of the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites; and, Deputy Director of the Office of Policy at the National Reconnaissance Office.  He has also served in assignments at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Office of Management and Budget, the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Information Agency.

A former Presidential Management Fellow, Mr. Stryker earned his Master’s Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and his Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Michigan.

WHEN: Thursday, September 4th, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

WHERE: 6th Floor Boardroom

The Wilson Center
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC
Directions: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions

This event is free and open to the public. Please allow time on arrival at the building for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required.

Individuals attending Woodrow Wilson Center events may be audiotaped, videotaped, or photographed during the course of a meeting, and by attending grant permission for their likenesses and the content of their comments, if any, to be broadcast, webcast, published, or otherwise reported or recorded.


Map For Ebola with American Red Cross

In Disaster Management, Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science on August 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm


The American Red Cross presents another opportunity to help First Responders on the ground through Open Street Map!

Will you be our crowd? We are mapping in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Multiple aid organizations, including the Red Cross, have deployed medical teams to identified sites in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and additional detailed base map data is needed to assist in the response. We will focus on mapping the Joru area, covering parts of southeastern Sierra Leone and western Liberia. No prior experience is necessary, but we recommend that you sign up for an account ahead of time at www.openstreetmap.org, if you do not already have one. You can learn more about the task beforehand here.

Not familiar with OpenStreetMap or the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team? Check out the mapping tutorials and watch the video “Why Map?” to learn more about crowdsourced mapping.

When: Friday, August 22nd, 2014    2pm – 6pm

Where: American Red Cross’s Board of Governors Room at 430 17th St. NW, Washington, DC

What: Bring your laptops if you are planning to map, and a mouse if you have one (we will bring extras if you don’t have a mouse). Food will be provided. If you can’t make it in person, you can map the task with us on any computer with internet access.

RSVP: For further information and to RSVP visit our Meetup page here.

Monitoring Arms Control Compliance With Web Intelligence

In Disaster Management, Governance, Guest Blogger, Uncategorized on August 11, 2014 at 11:17 am

Traditional monitoring of arms control treaties, agreements, and commitments has required the use of National Technical Means (NTM)—large satellites, phased array radars, and other technological solutions. NTM was a good solution when the treaties focused on large items for observation, such as missile silos or nuclear test facilities. As the targets of interest have shrunk by orders of magnitude, the need for other, more ubiquitous, sensor capabilities has increased. The rise in web-based, or cloud-based, analytic capabilities will have a significant influence on the future of arms control monitoring and the role of citizen involvement.

Since 1999, the U.S. Department of State has had at its disposal the Key Verification Assets Fund (V Fund), which was established by Congress. The Fund helps preserve critical verification assets and promotes the development of new technologies that support the verification of and compliance with arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament requirements.

Sponsored by the V Fund to advance web-based analytic capabilities, Sandia National Laboratories, in collaboration with Recorded Future (RF), synthesized open-source data streams from a wide variety of traditional and nontraditional web sources in multiple languages along with topical texts and articles on national security policy to determine the efficacy of monitoring chemical and biological arms control agreements and compliance. The team used novel technology involving linguistic algorithms to extract temporal signals from unstructured text and organize that unstructured text into a multidimensional structure for analysis. In doing so, the algorithm identifies the underlying associations between entities and events across documents and sources over time. Using this capability, the team analyzed several events that could serve as analogs to treaty noncompliance, technical breakout, or an intentional attack. These events included the H7N9 bird flu outbreak in China, the Shanghai pig die-off and the fungal meningitis outbreak in the United States last year.



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