Welcome to part 3 of our company’s ‘story’, told through our many, many projects from over 20 years of business, dedicated to putting the ‘I” back in ‘IT’ and ‘GIS’. In the past two parts, we’ve introduced this concept to you all. Then, we told our story in geospatial data, showcasing the variety of projects we’ve undertaken. We love Earth data, so those projects definitely are something special for us. However, this is not to say we consider the other parts of GOBI any less important. Take open data for example, with how much data there exists and is being created, some would argue the importance of these billions and billions of pieces of data being open and available is now more important than ever. And what a coincidence, that’s our topic: open data.
Open data is research data freely available on the Internet for anyone to download, modify, and distribute. And they can do this without any legal or financial restrictions. With the cost of data acquisition, curation, creation, and maintenance, people want to reuse quality data. This is open data. At Xentity, open data is about Increasing Transparency and Access to valuable data goes beyond compliance. It involves making data re-usable, service-able, and business cases have shown it can power economic and scientific advancement. When they work with us, clients look for high-visibility open data portals, aggregations, and community development that spans Federal, State, Local, and International Experience.
Some of Our Past Projects
And so, like before, we will now tell our story through several of our past projects from our past two decades. However, unlike before, which was focused on geospatial projects, we will instead be showing off some of our open data projects. But like before, we hope that this will show you who we are as a company. This is our story…through open data.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program had an existing database used to capture information about grants. The National Park Service (NPS) needed support services for its ongoing recreation information management database. It also needed to include general operation and maintenance to the web-based system supporting the administration of LWCF state assistance program. Xentity’s main focus during this project was leading database and application O & M for major applications with GIS data. They also designed and developed geospatial and chart views.
This project demonstrates two things about us. The first is our ongoing commitment to “Earth/nature” related programs. The LWCF is just one of many programs/organizations we’ve lent our support to over the past two decades. The second thing this project demonstrates is that we are capable and willing to support your efforts through general operations and maintenance efforts. In today’s app-driven environment, it is very rare when a product is perfect at the start, hence the reason for different versions that are released later on. First the minimum viable product is released (oh, hey, one of our favorite terms). Then, general O & M to fix any errors. Point being, we think in the long-run, and it shows in our projects.
The state of Colorado’s BIC dashboard is arguably one of the better examples of open data in the state of Colorado. It does not just offer raw data, public data workshops, and GoCode Colorado to Colorado businesses. It improves access to insights that public data provides for a non-technical audience. Xentity provided design work for a transformative and innovative dashboard for the CDOS BIC. The overall task was building out a dashboard, maintaining and creating the update cycle, hosting on AWS, and embedding where possible on the state website.
This particular project allowed us to show off our chops as dashboard developers. Not only did we work to build out the dashboard. But we also helped maintain it and gave the state government an update cycle to follow. At Xentity, our business style is process-driven and efficient. It shows through our development efforts, where we even leave you with a process that continues even without us, after the contract is complete. And with this project in particular, we helped develop a system that not only provides data to Colorado businesses, but also important insights into public data for general audiences. As more and more data is created, its availability to the public becomes more important. This dashboard helps in just that, and we were happy to be a part of it.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sought to purchase new licenses for three environments. Xentity analyzed the requirements, and provided a solution that instead will only require 1 set of renewal licenses. Our response supported the deployment of Wiki Software, Agile Project Management Software, Build Software, Source Repository, and Release Management Software. Xentity also supported license installation, and server installation by certified Atlassian experts.
This project was great for us because it gave us the chance to show off our chops as knowledgeable men and women in the field of information and technology. We don’t just work to develop dashboards, or plans for greater efficiency in information usage. Xentity can also show ourselves to be incredibly knowledgeable consultants that can help you arrive at the best possible decision. In the case of Atlassian, we cut down the cost of purchase for new licenses for three new licenses. Our consulting helped the OPM in deploying new software in its environments.
Xentity was tasked with aiding the city of Boulder in migrating existing datasets from Open Colorado CKAN to Boulder’s open data catalog through the establishment of federated harvesting between the two parties. In the case of Boulder’s open data catalog, we see the sharing of various kinds of data from categories such as recreation, permits and licenses, and public safety. Open Data provides value by making this information available to the public. Also, providing them the knowledge of data results such as surveys, fire response areas and times, and bicycle traffic counts. What the public does with that data is up to them, but with this in mind, it becomes extremely important to have that data available and in a specific site such as a city’s open data catalog. The goal was to migrate datasets from OpenColorado CKAN to the new Boulder Open Data Catalog.
Xentity installed, tested and set up a FileStore CKAN extension. This extension serves as a storage pool for CKAN’s datasets. Regarding data migration, they ran migration tests before providing the full migration to Boulder CKAN. Then they removed previous datasets from OpenColorado. Next, they set up harvesting capabilities to push metadata. Subsequently, they set up a harvest job to federate data from place to place. And finally, Xentity performed final testing to make sure the desired results were provided.
You can actually find data migration quite a bit in our projects. Technology and applications improve over time. This means moving existing data to new, better platforms like with our CKAN Migration project. And this is some very crucial open data to be migrated. Public safety, surveys, traffic; that kind of data needs to be readily available and on up-to-date data platforms. 20 years in business, and we are always happy to migrate data when necessary.
The Department of Interior (DOI) needed to upgrade its open data platform (data.doi.gov). The legacy platform was outdated and in need of maintenance and better practices. Also, the DOI was facing issues in publishing data onto the system. Consequently, bureaus and agencies had bypassed DOI to address public needs. As a result, the DOI catalog went unused for a few years. To address this, Xentity first supported DOI in discovering and defining new requirements. During design, rather than march ahead, the concept led to envision and coordinate with data.gov and other Government CKAN efforts to share the solution and best practices to allow for the overall CKAN Community to learn and implement together per Open Source best practices. This included coordinating with GSA, Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), DOI, and all bureaus and programs to address various metadata requirements (FGDC, ISO).
Similar to many of our previously discussed projects, our efforts with the DOI demonstrated our ability to improve existing platforms and data. In this particular case, we helped improve an existing open data platform by performing much-needed maintenance and providing new best practices that addressed a variety of requirements. Remember one of our core philosophies at Xentity: “we put the ‘I’ back in ‘IT’”. We did not just burn the data platform down and start over. No, we worked to improve, upgrade and update it instead. That’s what we’re all about, improvement.
Xentity helped the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) in the creation of a new standard/business requirements for a new open web service context profile. The effort led to improved standards integrations; many save as and open-in modules were implemented at USGS on these concepts. Here, we demonstrated our ability to simply help organizations improve on what they already have by developing a new ‘direction’ to move towards.
Here, we demonstrated our app development and improvement abilities by helping Douglas County Colorado in the improvement of their existing open data programs. Xentity staff developed both application and best practices, including GIS for Douglas County’s Open Data Portal. This included identifying, collecting, formatting, cleansing and publishing datasets in Socrata. With Xentity’s help, Douglas County improved its open data program for the sake of its citizens’ quality of life. Furthermore, with the design and release of Xentity’s browser-based Amazon Alexa application, citizens are able to interact with Douglas County’s open data source feed, creating a more open channel between the county government and its citizens.
Xentity had the task of developing data solution designs to establish a target platform for the USGS and their PAD-US program. Also, to rationalize and assess the readiness, complexity, and other gaps in order to move to the new data-driven model. To do so, Xentity moved PAD-US to an Information Product & Services model. This model was more efficient and automated data processing methods to enable the user community to achieve more flexibility in what they can ask of the resulting data. This demonstrated Xentity’s migration skills like with the CKAN project and our ability to develop data solution designs.
A Preview For Part 4
Join us for Part 5, where we continue our story. This time, through our past involvement in big data. See you all in part 5.