Open government advocates should put on their thinking caps as the United States plans its third National Action Plan (NAP), writes Corinna Zarek of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The first U.S. NAP was published in 2011. The second, published in 2013, is still being implemented through the end of 2015. The third NAP will expand on existing initiatives and address new ways to improve government transparency, accountability and response in the next two years.
Zarek calls on the public to suggest “expanded commitments” related to topic addressed by first two plans, such as public participation, open data, records management or natural resource revenue transparency. New ideas are also encouraged.
Suggestions for the plan can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants can also contribute ideas to a publicly available Hackpad that GSA is helping coordinate, Zarek said.
Posted on Jun 08, 2015 at 1:58 PM0 comments
Following the successful exploration of the Bering Sea by unmanned surface vehicle recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to redeploy the saildrones, outfitting them with a suite of meteorological and oceanographic sensors to explore fish populations. According to a recent award notice, the saildrones will be equipped with echosounders for use in applied fisheries management in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska.
NOAA wishes to collect data on conductivity, sea temperature, wind, air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll fluorescence, according to the performance work statement . The data will be tagged with a GPS time and position, and fed back to NOAA via Iridium satellite communication links. The system architecture will segregate vehicle housekeeping data from scientific data and format the data for exfiltration and post-processing, NOAA said.
The saildrones will be deployed for about 3 months.
Posted on Jun 04, 2015 at 12:22 PM0 comments
This week Code for America launched the Police Open Data Census -- a collection of the police interaction datasets available online. It includes use of force incidents, officer-involved shootings and complaints against police as well as response times and citations. It also indicates whether the data is online, machine readable, up to date and available in bulk, and notes whether context is provided and whether incident-level data is available as opposed to aggregated numbers.
The census was created when Code for America discovered there was no way for cities to see what other jurisdictions were doing in terms of opening information around police interactions with citizens.
So far, the census includes information from just 27 jursidictions, including counties like Anne Arundel County, Md., as well as major cities like Dallas and San Francisco. For many cities, not much open data is available, though Code for America hopes to encourage cities and counties to contribute.
Municipalities with open data on police interactions are asked to contact Code for America to add their data.
Posted on Jun 02, 2015 at 1:00 PM0 comments
The Census Bureau’s City new software development kit (City SDK) gives civic hackers a toolkit building applications that take advantage of Census datasets.
The SDK, released on June 1, takes the most common functionalities developers were building on top of the Census application programming interface and added them directly into the SDK, the Bureau said on the City SDK GitHub page.
The City SDK includes code that converts latitude/longitude or ZIP codes to FIPS state and county codes; the ability to request GeoJSON (an open source geographic shapefile/boundary format) right along with data from Dataweb (for mapping); and a modular architecture that makes it easy to mashup Census data with third-party data.
The bureau is calling on civic hackers to use the toolkit in its City SDK Open Data Solutions Challenge, which is asking developers to apply multiple open datasets to address city sustainability issues by leveraging economic, environmental, social, cultural and housing data.
Running from June 6 to July 31, 2015, the challenge seeks innovative applications and tools that use the City SDK, at least one city dataset and at least two distinct federal datasets.
The City SDK also makes its appearance just in time for the National Day of Civic Hacking, which will take place in cities across the country on June 6.
The City SDK is an open-source project; more information is available on GitHub.
Posted on Jun 01, 2015 at 9:33 AM0 comments
The Virginia Community College System announced a pilot program to replace traditional college textbooks with open digital texts for students at 15 of 23 of the commonwealth’s community colleges.
Funded by a $200,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the program will allow students to download freely accessible and openly licensed digital textbooks customized to fit each school’s curriculum.
The idea was based in part by Tidewater Community College’s all-Open Educational Resources (OER) or “Z-Degree” program, a business degree that uses open educational materials. Tidewater and Northern Virginia Community College started using OER textbooks in 2013. Over the last three years, more than 100 faculty members at 16 community colleges have created more than 70 open courses.
“Technology is changing the way we access information, making it faster and less expensive without compromising quality. We owe it to our students… to bring that flexibility to every course that we can,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges in a statement.
VCCS has over 273,000 students enrolled each year, making it one of the largest college systems in the United States.
Posted on May 26, 2015 at 12:14 PM0 comments