Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


smart cities

8 cities win innovation support

Eight mid-sized cities will get expert help with their government innovation efforts, thanks to the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities program.

Launched earlier this year, the program received applications from 112 cities across 40 states. Running through 2017, What Works Cities will give a total of 100 cities support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities in an effort to make their governments more effective and use open data to engage citizens and improve services.

The winning cities are Chattanooga, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Mesa, Ariz.; New Orleans; Seattle; and Tulsa, Okla.

Jackson and Mesa will implement open data practices for the first time, while Chattanooga, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, Seattle, and Tulsa will strengthen their existing open data practices.

Jackson and Tulsa will implement a citywide, mayoral-led performance management program for the first time. New Orleans and Louisville will develop the capacity to conduct low-cost, real time program evaluations.  And Seattle will focus on integrating data and evidence into its contracts to achieve better results.

The $42 million initiative will provide cities with support from Results for America, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Sunlight Foundation and the Behavioral Insights Team.

“Making better use of data is one of the best opportunities cities have to solve problems and deliver better results for their citizens,” Michael R. Bloomberg said the announcement. "The first group of cities in the What Works Cities program represent the range of local leaders across the country who are committed to using data and evidence to improve people’s everyday lives."

Posted on Aug 11, 2015 at 12:11 PM0 comments


FAA works with university on drone management

FAA works with university on drone management

University of Nevada-Reno researchers are working with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a low-altitude management system to handle fast-moving, smaller aircraft as they cruise through increasingly crowded skies.

Nevada-Reno is one of several organizations participating in the first phase of the NASA Ames Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management project to enable safer use of low-altitude airspace, of 500 feet and below, where unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, gliders and other general aircraft are operating.

The university said it is working with Flirtey, the world's first drone delivery service, and Drone America, a top provider of unmanned autonomous vehicles, on the project. According to researchers, Flirtey and Drone America will fly their delivery drone platforms at NASA's Unmanned Traffic Management system in Nevada and California in August. Flirtey recently participated in a delivery of medical supplies to a rural Virginia clinic.

The university said it is developing software that will serve as the communications "bridge" between an unmanned autonomous vehicle and NASA's traffic management system to navigate in a system that includes airspace design, corridors, dynamic geofencing, severe weather and wind avoidance, congestion management, terrain avoidance, route planning and re-routing.

Posted on Aug 10, 2015 at 9:43 AM1 comments


NASA cubesat

NASA to give CubeSats a lift

Need to get your science project into space?   NASA is making room on upcoming launches for more CubeSats.

CubeSats, or nanosatellites, are cube-shaped satellites approximately four inches long, weighing about 3 pounds and usually carry scientific instruments for research.  To catch a ride on NASA launch vehicles, proposed CubeSat research must address an aspect of science, technology development, education, or operations encompassed by the space agency's strategic goals. The program is open to U.S. not-for-profits, accredited U.S. educational organizations and NASA's own research centers.

NASA will select candidates for launch or deployment on the International Space Station and negotiate agreements with those selected as manifest opportunities become available. Selection recommendation does not guarantee the availability of a launch opportunity, NASA stressed.

In support of the White House Maker Initiative, special consideration may be given to nanosatellites from organizations that have not previously been selected by the CubeSat Launch Initiative.

Selected participants will negotiate an agreement with NASA, which will provide integration and other services as necessary for launch. Collaborators will be responsible for securing funding for development of their CubeSat payload, and for participation in the CubeSat Launch Initiative.

Electronic proposals may be received until Nov. 24, 2015.

Posted on Aug 07, 2015 at 9:07 AM0 comments


Congress.gov gets upgrades

Congress.gov gets usability upgrades

Congress.gov, the official website for federal legislative information, recently got some usability upgrades. Prompted by user feedback, the most recent enhancements focus on customer experience, accounts and alerts, browsing and appropriation tables.

A new “listen to this page” feature  will now read the full or a selected portion of a bill summary aloud to the user.  The accessibility tool also offers a downloadable audio file of the bill, according to a blog post by Robert Brammer of the Library of Congress.

Searching capabilities, meanwhile, were improved with the inclusion of the “search within” results feature on committee pages and member profiles.

To make appropriations-tracking easier and more efficient, appropriation tables have been updated to include more content, starting with a table for fiscal year 2016 and going back to 2005.

Email alerts will now include the title of the bill, so users can see which bill they are being alerted about before opening up the notification. Additionally, member alerts are now prompted by amendment sponsorship and co-sponsorship.

The latest upgrades are in response to user comments, and continue a series of monthly releases that began with Congress.gov's debut in September 2012.

Posted on Aug 05, 2015 at 9:02 AM0 comments


HHS awards grants to support states

HHS awards grants to support states' health data sharing

The Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its efforts to accelerate healthcare information sharing, and helping to fund a dozen state's data-sharing projects.

The $29.6 million grant will support programs in 12 states that plan to adopt the necessary tools, technology and services to provide and share health information, according to the agency. The funding will help address workflow challenges and technical issues to improve the meaningful use of clinical data from outside sources.

The funding is part of a two-year cooperative agreement program, and the grants come from program funding established by the 2009 American Recovery and Revitalization Act’s Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act. All told, nearly $38 million has gone out to 20 awardees for three health information technology grant programs.

Posted on Aug 04, 2015 at 9:37 AM0 comments