Macro versus Micro Geospatial Data Value

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edited by
Matt Tricomi

Kudos to the Canadian Government – NRCAN – for trying to get an clearer understanding of the economic significance and industry status of  geospatial data products, technologies and professional services industry.  http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/geomatics/canadas-spatial-data-infrastructure/cgdi-initiatives/canadian-geomatics-0.  The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) produced a somewhat similar economic impact assessment for the United States in April 2013. http://geospatial.blogs.com/geospatial/2013/04/contribution-of-geospatial-services-to-the-united-states-economy.html

We geo-bigots working to support the public sector intuitively and intellectually realize geospatial’s potential value and are continuously frustrated by our lack of collective ability and capacity to make its implementation more immediate, simpler and more powerful.  While these macro- economic pictures are interesting and useful they do not seem to influence the micro government decision making capacities.  The BCG report “cautions that to continue this growth will require sustained public- and private-sector cooperation and partnership, open policies governing collection and dissemination of location-based data and increased technical education and training at all level”.

The intent of the US Federal Geographic Data Committee  (FGDC) “GeoPlatform” and Canada’s FGP, if supported by the proper policies and data management practices could simplify the data quality and acquisition challenges resident in our hyper-federated geospatial data environment.  Ironically, in the emerging and soon to be overwhelming information and knowledge based economy we are still struggling to manage data content.  Geospatial will not, break into the program and mission operations until the business leadership fundamentally adopts information centered performance objectives as a part of their organizational culture. 

Geospatial has always been an obtuse concept to classify, evaluate or pigeonhole into a nice neat framework let alone determine its national economic value.  For similar reasons, within the US Federal government, “geospatial” has struggled to find an organizational position that would enable its potential value to be maximized.  This is partly due to data structure complexity resulting from its form, resolution, temporal range, scale, geometry or accuracy qualities have created an artificial “boundary” and organizations are having are hard time navigating out of.  At least until the “director” sees the “map” or the “picture’ and then it is the silver bullet.

Here at Xentity, we want to start to frame the discussion about how to exploit Geospatial Value at the micro or organizational level and begin to guide our customers to sustained geospatially driven business improvements.  Our initial cut at how to break the field down is found in the diagram.  How can this be improved upon?

How Open Data Contributes Toward Better Interagency Collaboration and Orchestration at all Levels

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edited by
Matt Tricomi

In a recent email thread with Xentity, NASCIO, and members of Smart Lean Government, the following thoughts were offered on OpenData by NASCIO Program Director, Enterprise Architecture & Governance for National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), Eric Sweden and republished with his permission

I believe open data contributes toward better inter agency collaboration and orchestration at all levels – notwithstanding PII is specifically removed from open data initiatives and must be.  But there is a place for open data in serving individual needs of citizens – for example – clinical epidemiology.  Employing population data – and even specific population data in evaluating prognosis and treatment regimes.  Think of the value in public health and medical services to underserved populations AND really anyone else.  Trends, patterns, correlations will surface for a similar approach / strategy in other government lines of business – we’re just at the brink of this kind of use data exploitation.

I’m looking beyond life events and also considering the complete Smart Lean Government concept.  Life events are a critical element – but there are also events abstracted up from individuals to communities.  So we move up an upside down pyramid from life events to “community events” or “community issues.”   Consider open data – and the larger concept of open government – in enabling better government.  Thus, a necessary part of Smart Lean Government.  Think about how government is able to work better together in collaboration and that leads to sharing data and information.

Example, Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Department of Transportation working together in drawing necessary correlations between crash data (from DPS) and speed/road conditions/weather data from DOT to develop strategy for safer roads and highways.

This particular example resonates with the “Imperatives of 21st Century Government Services” from volume one of the practical guide; steps 1-4 of the “Sustainable Shared  Services Lifecycle Model” from volume two of the practical guide.

This example is at the community event level – but impacting every individual and family that uses those roads and highways.

Flipping the Educational Value Chain

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Wiki Admin

Business, governments, and even many non-profits have benefited from the windfall of a flattening world – less war, trend towards better resource distribution, new business models, digital economy proliferation, sharing workforce. Education has not

At Xentity, to us exploring NextGen Transformation using architecture, analysis, design is not about IT. IT is a core component, but we are looking at how the Next Generation will progress and transform. And with generation lines becoming more of a blur, this isn’t a 30 year delay, or even a 15 year delay. In some cases, we are talking 5 to 10 years for transformation of a generation. Given such, when we examine workforce capital, we are truly interested in the changing models not just in the employee – which by the way, is a relic of the industrial age – but also how those employed in your organization (employee, contractor, consultant, vendor, service provider), are changing themselves.

One way of examining this is looking at the actual next generation. The kids. This is very important. For instance, the current incoming generation, aside from now being larger than the Baby Boomer generation, has benefited from the previous 30 years of relative stability, and Millenials engage in collaborative environments, as a result of growing up in a connected world NATURALLY.  

They weren’t taught this though, what they were taught for the most part, with some Montessori, STEM Academy, and other cloud school minor exceptions, in a school model that was intended for the children to go into a pre-industrial revolution business workforce that had bells to change shifts, required discipline of a “robot” in the factory for efficiency and safety, and required still minds to take orders and execute.

When examining your organization, you may have unwritten rules, or codes that have been passed down out of habit, institutionalization, or what we know. Those unspoken rules of engagement or life definitely help manage the chaos and focus on the mission, but the question that at times needs to be asked is “Is this the right mission? If not, are these the right rules?” and thereafter of course, do you or does your organization have the political and actual capital to make the transformation.

The following, in two parts, Jim Barrett examines this phenomena of:

Mr. Barrett is not only is Xentity’s Architecture lead, but has actively served and presently engages in multiple early childhood education development advisory and exploratory boards.

 

 

2013 Year in Review

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2013 was definitely a very fluid year for Xentity. Mostly, directly adjusting to the impacts of the Federal Government instability caused by sequester, shutdown, and lingering impacts of debt ceiling and fiscal cliff budget impacts. As a large part of Xentity services helps Federal clients look at longer term investment, when you have a year where it is hard for Federal programs look much beyond a few months, those services were definitely of lower utilization. It is a shame, from a citizen perspective, to know our Federal clients are limited in capability to improve, enhance, and become more efficient for the long term, but 2014 is already shaping to be looking more on focus for those goals. 

That said, Xentiy hit several milestones this year:

Diversified into more State Government services – In previous years, Xentity has supported Healthcare information solutions in New York, or staff have supported IT Transformations adapt business transformation methods in Virginia, but in 2013, Xentity was awarded two prime contracts in Colorado for opendata competitions and transformation services contracts

Xentity served over 30 clients in 2013 with over 25 staff for all Services for clients ranging from:

  • Government Clients: DOI, multiple USGS programs, EPA, CDC, VA, NARA, multiple State of Colorado programs, NPS
  • Commercial Clients: Intrawest, Cloudbilt, reVision, Inc., LVI Services, Inc., Black Tusk Group, Center for Professional Development, Soaring Eagle, Synergy Staffing, Raytheon, Sky Research, Inc., Skyline Reclamation, Solidyn, SPEC, TriHydro, Vexcel, Winningham Forest Mgmt
  • Prime Contractors: IBM, PPC, PhaseOne Consulting Group, TomTom, SRA

Xentity staff worked in over 12 major geographic Locations including GA, NC, CO, MA, TX, AK, DC, VA, WI, NY, WA, NV including 5 new states (GA, NC, CO, MA, TX) as well as Canada and Australia bringing Xentity services to total of 4 countries supported (US, Canada, Australia, and Indonesia)

Xentity has been awarded more Government-wide Access vehicles and Schedules totaling seven vehicles including: GSA MOBIS, GSA IT Schedule 70, DOI Foundational Cloud Hosting Services GWAC, USGS-wide Architecture Services IDIQ, State of Colorado wide Transformation Services IDIQ, CIO-SP3 via PPC, and our 8(a) Sole Source Access.

Xentity has held information sharing sessions and participated in industry-wide activities with Australian Geospatial Mapping programs and ACT-IAC Smart Lean Government.

Xentity`s active Large BusinessSmall Business, and Academia active agreements now totaling over 50 adding ten (10) new partners

Xentity received accolades from Xentity makes the Hispanic Business Top 500 List – again as well as Xentity recognized on CIO Review list for Most Promising Government Technology Solution and Consulting Providers 2013. In addition our staff presented and received recognition at the  E-Gov Institute’s Annual Enterprise Architecture Conference.

All in all, though 2013 was fluid as noted, we were very excited to provided our transformational services to more clients, with more partners, in more locations than ever before. We look forward to 2014 to continued impact for our clients.

In 2014 Every Business will be Disrupted by Open Technology

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The article “In 2014 Every Business will be Disrupted by Open Technology” raised some very key points on some key disruptive patterns. A key theme we picked up on was the movement from bleeding and leading edge to more popular adoption of the open data and Open platforms. 

As the article notes:

Yet the true impact begins not with invention, but adoption.  That’s when the second and third-order effects kick in. After all, the automobile was important not because it ended travel by horse, but because it created suburbs, gas stations and shopping malls

A few tangible themes we picked up on are:

  1. Stand-alone brands are shifting to open platforms for co-creation
  2. Open platforms built on a brand`s intellectual property enhance the value, not threaten it
  3. Open platforms provide enterprise-level capabilities to the smallest players, leveling the playing field, accelerating innovation, and amplifying competition
  4. Open platforms for co-creation shifts the focus away from driving out inefficiencies, and toward the power of networking and collaboration to create value.

Where its happening already: Federal, State, City, Commercial

In FedFocus 2014, they also emphasized that with the budget appropriations for 2014 and 2015, two big disruptive areas will continue to be in Open Data and Big Data. Especially, with the May 2013 release of the WhiteHouse Open Data memorandum for going into effect in November 2013, it will impact Open Data by:

Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information, this Memorandum establishes a framework to help institutionalize the principles of effective information management at each stage of the information`s life cycle to promote interoperability and openness. Whether or not particular information can be made public, agencies can apply this framework to all information resources to promote efficiency and produce value.

We are seeing states get into the mix as well with Open Data movements like http://gocode.colorado.gov/

Go Code Colorado was created to help Colorado companies grow, by giving them better and more usable access to public data. Teams will compete to build business apps, creating tools that Colorado businesses actually need, making our economy stronger.

Also, at the city level with the City of Raleigh, North Carolina which is well recognized for its award-winning Open Data Portal.

 

We had previously tweeted on how IBM opened up their Watson cognitive computing API for developers…. publicly. This is a big deal. They know with open data platforms as an ecosystem, they not only get more use, which means more comfort, which means more apps, but every transaction that happens on it, that is legally allowed, they to improve their interpretative signals that make Watson so wicked smart. This article points this key example out as well. 

 

And back to National Data Assets moving ahead to make their data more distributable over the cloud, moving data closer to cloud applications, offering data via web services where they are too large or updated too often to sync, download, or sneakernet.

Xentity and its partners have been at the forefront of all these movements.

We have enjoyed being on the leading edge since the early leading edge phases of this movement. Our architectures are less on commodity IT, which not to undersell the importance of affordable, fast, robust, scalable, enabling IT services and data center models. Our architectures have been more focused on putting the I back in IT.

We have been moving National Geospatial Data Assets into these delivery models as data products and services (Xentity is awarded USGS IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture), supporting the architecture of data.gov (Xentity chosen to help re-arch data.gov), and recently supporting the data wrangling on Colorado`s State OpenData efforts. We are examining Can a predictable supply chain for geospatial data be done and actively participating in NSF EarthCube which looks to “Imagine a world…where you can easily plot data from any source and visualize it any way you want.” We have presented concepts

Our architecture methods (Developing a Transformation Approach) are slanted to examine mission oriented performance gains, process efficiencies, data lifecycle management orientation, integrating service models, and balancing the technology footprint while innovating. For instance, we are heavily involved in the new ACT-IAC Smart Lean Government efforts to look at aligning services across government and organizational boundaries around community life events much like other nations are beginning to move to.

Xentity is very excited about the open data movements and supported platforms and the traction it is getting in industry. This may move us forward from information services into the popular space to and for knowledge services (Why we focus on spatial data science)