In Commons Lab, Foresight, Governance, News and Events, Technology and the Law on May 22, 2013 at 10:13 am
In our recent post on the Open Data Policy, we mentioned Project Open Data as an exciting manifestation of collaborative government concepts put into practice. To learn more, we reached out to GitHubber Ben Balter, former Presidential Innovation Fellow and previous contributor to the Commons Lab. Ben also provided input on agile development for our paper on the National Broadband Map.
How did GitHub become a part of this project?
I was working as a Presidential Innovation Fellow when the process to create the Open Data Policy began. Anyone within government is used to seeing documents circulate with no real idea of when it was edited, by whom, whether it was the most current version, and so on. This is very opaque. So while we’re working on open data policy, the process itself was very not open. Open source developers within the Innovation Fellows started talking about using GitHub to create the actual document. Lowering the barrier to entry was always the idea—we want people editing this and sharing their perspectives. Read the rest of this entry »
In Commons Lab, Foresight, Governance, News and Events, Technology and the Law on May 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm
FCC Visualization of Low Power FM Availability, built on open data and explained on GitHub.
Today, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy jointly released a new Open Data Policy directing agencies to implement specific structural reforms. In conjunction with an Executive Order prioritizing open and machine readable government information, these adjustments are forward looking and exciting. They speak to a general understanding that a deliberate approach to the way that data are processed and released can exponentially enhance their value.
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In Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, Disaster Management, Foresight, News and Events on May 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm
Editor’s note: In September 2012, the Commons Lab hosted the Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management workshop. Over two days, we spoke with a number of event participants for a series of video podcasts covering various aspect of the proceedings. The conversation below with Eric Rasmussen is the first of these podcasts. Please stay tuned: Additional installments will be posted in the coming weeks and the workshop summary report will be published in June.
Eric Rasmussen wears many hats: He is a medical doctor, a research professor for environmental security and global medicine at San Diego State University, an affiliate associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington, and the managing director at Infinitum Humanitarian Systems, a “profit-for-purpose” company in California that focuses on reducing vulnerability for systems and populations. In addition to sitting on a number of boards, Rasmussen served in the Navy for more than 25 years and was deployed more than 15 times to Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.
In this podcast, Rasmussen discusses the limitations software developers face when moving ideas from concept to implementation in disaster response, noting that developers often have too little access to end users and too little understanding of the constraints faced by those users in the field. He also discusses the need to engage agencies and other responders early on to make sure new systems are incorporated into agency response plans and the role of policymakers in addressing these challenges.
In Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, Disaster Management, News and Events on March 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm
If you think so, the U.S. Agency for International Development and Humanity United want to hear from you. The groups have announced a competition for people looking to apply technology to the prevention of atrocities around the world. And it’s not too late to get involved. Here is a March 6 statement with some more detail:
Despite a global effort to prevent atrocities including genocide, ethnic cleansing and mass rape, millions remain at risk. In an effort to combat future atrocities, today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Humanity United launched the second and final round of the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention and competition, an innovative approach to developing new ways to combat and prevent the worst human rights violations.
The Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention encourages individuals, groups and organizations to apply technology-based solutions to the most significant challenges surrounding atrocity prevention. Submitted in the form of prototypes or concept papers, proposals are reviewed by a prestigious panel of judges comprised of human rights and technology experts and U.S. government leaders. Winners receive cash prizes. Humanity United and USAID will also explore the possibility of piloting and scaling the most promising innovations. Read the rest of this entry »
In Commons Lab, Governance, News and Events on March 6, 2013 at 10:43 am
Mapbox Visualization of Sequestration Cuts
Faced with deep spending cuts due to sequestration, the White House recently released documents detailing state by state expenditure reductions. However, they were presented in PDFs, not a machine readable format. With minimal effort, two separate maps (here and here) have been built on collaborative platforms for no taxpayer cost. As this explanation details, these projects run on easily accessible tools. After some quick data entry, a series of simple and automated scripts allowed the sequestration cuts to appear in an interactive visual format. Presenting civic information in ways that simply convey the contours of a problem engages a larger audience on complex issues. These maps demonstrate the power of open government data.
In Commons Lab, Disaster Management, News and Events on October 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Editors note: This event is scheduled for Nov. 30, 2012 from noon to 1 pm.
The Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program welcomes Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, Director, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law, University of Missisippi School of Law and Research Professor of Law.
The Charter on Cooperation to Achieve the Coordinated Use of Space Facilities in the Event of Natural or Technological Disasters (Disasters Charter) provides for the voluntary sharing of satellite imagery in the event of major disasters. Prof. Gabrynowicz will address the contents, structure, and status of the Charter, and highlight its strengths and weaknesses with a focus on how it could develop in the future. She also will discuss data access and sharing issues.
When: Friday, November 30, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
Where: 6th Floor Board 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
(Near Federal Triangle or Metro Center Metros)
This meeting is free and open to the public. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry. For more time and to RSVP, please visit:
This event is co-hosted by the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innnovation Program, Woodrow Wilson Center, and the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law, University of Mississippi School of Law.
An archived video will be posted within a week of the event.Disclaimer: The materials on this website do not constitute legal advise. This event and presentation is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship by offering this information, and anyone’s review of the information shall not be deemed to reate such a relationship. You should consult your own attorney if you have a legal matter requiring attention. Also, nothing on this sie creates an express or implied contract.
In Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, News and Events, Reports and Publications, Uncategorized on October 4, 2012 at 11:23 am
Join us at the Wilson Center on Oct. 15, 2012 for an event focused on the development of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Map, a project that leveraged citizen input and resulted in better consumer protection and government innovation. The event will feature the authors of a new report on the broadband map, Michael Byrne of the FCC and Zachary Bastian of the Science and Technology Innovation Program’s Commons Lab, as well as:
For more information and to RSVP, please visit:
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.
An image from FCC’s National Broadband Map
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 the rest of this entry »