Connecting geodata in and among governmental agencies - A discussion among program managers, community and agency personnel


The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has taken initiates to promote Open Data, Open Science and Open Government ( and At the conclusion of the GeoData2014 workshop ( held in June 2014, workshop participants suggested that discussion on opening and connecting governmental data should be continued at the ESIP 2015 winter meeting. A key point discussed was that a governmental agency should avoid being a ‘silo’ in the development of implementation plans in response to mandates issued by OSTP. Instead, agencies should be allowed to develop individual plans then organize comment periods where all plans are vetted together and identification of common methods can be identified and exploited or ideas can be shared on implementation in individual agencies. Some follow-on topics for discussion proposed at GeoData2014 were:

  • Clear guidance (from who to who?) on how to handle exceptions to the general mandate that come out at the same time as the mandate.

  • Explore mandates that are less prescriptive on implementation details are how likely they are to be more successful and longer lasting. What does a clear view of what success looks like, when does it needs to be complete, and why it is valuable?

  • Do mandates tied to funding tend to be more successful.

  • How to link mandates to usability tests to gauge success of implementation.

  • How do we identify the costs associated with NOT implementing a mandate.


We propose a pair of sessions at ESIP 2015 winter meeting:

(1) Compare plans submitted in response to the OSTP requests, i.e. share content and ways to increase collaboration/coordination of the existing plans and their overall effectiveness;

(2) Invite program managers, community and agency personnel for discussion on these topics.

ORGANIZERS: Peter Fox, Xiaogang Ma, Linyun Fu, Chris Lynnes, Cyndy Chandler, Ruth Duerr, Erin Robison, Vivan Hutchison



(1) GeoData 2014 workshop website:

(2) Google Doc for the organization of this session:

(3) Google Spreadsheet for inviting panelists:


Panel with breakout

Peter introduces the second part - each speaker gets 7 minutes

Bruce Caron: Earth Cube and Open Data Sharing
  • Open data sharing is inherent in the mission and vision of earthcube
  • Dark Data rescue more of an issue in other domains
  • developing new metrics
  • What does it (open access) really look like? New models, collaboration, ideas not results...collective intelligence
  • social/cultural/technical elements of data problems
  • Get better at managing cultures within/among an organization
  • EarthCube as a place for these cultural experiments
Jeff - ESDIS with NASA - 12 discipline organized data centers
Moving towards the original vision of EOSDIS - back to unification:
  • common metadata platform
  • enhance substantiation of standards basrd services
  • global image browse service
Creating a more seamless data experience
interagency/interoperability level (bring to all current services)
Carrie Stokes: USAID OPen Data Research and Geospatial information for internation development
USAID - Lead Foreign Assistence Agency - struggling how we can support OSTP
Just about to release open data policy
Open Data Policy: ADS 579
Guidelines on:
  • Scientific Peer Review
  • Quality standards for research plans and reports
  • scientific publication
  • open data 

geospatial analysis for development programming

maps and analysis
builds staff capacityto use data and tools
consumes and produces data
engages external communities interagency, international, academic and non-governmental

Glynnis Lowe Chief of staff national climate assessment USGCRP

  • References - links, DOI, URL, verification (Not all can be automated)
  • Providing the actual numbers the underly picturesvisuals
  • versions and traceability
  • metadata
  • amount of checking and man power that is needed
  • More requests when not providing as much information as can
  • risk for errors

Speaker Vivian Hutchinson: USGS

showing diagram from the plan response
suite of data management policies
  • scientific data management founfation policy
  • metadata
  • review and approval preservation requirements for digital scientific data
development of a new data lifecycle
educational tools for data management plan
Guidance for DOIs and etc.
Publish/Share Science Base, Data Catalog, and Dashboard
USGS Data Release Workfolows
USGS Online
All is located on USGS Data Management Website
All of this is done through community for data integration
acknowledges active working groups
culture change - buy in through participation

Ken Casey NOAA technical director

connecting geodata...things we know and things we don't
NCEI - NAtional Centers for Environmental information = NCDC NGDC NODC
  1. emerging convergence of mindset and activity across NCEI
  2. standards work: netCDF, CF/ACDD etc..
  3. ESIP is essential
  4. US Geo Data Management Group
Don't know:
  1. how do we get everyone to use those standards
  2. how do we handle the great diversity of heritage collection?
  3. How do we handle the dark data, long tail data

Discussion part - Peter kicks off with hanging questions


Ziegler - from EPA talking about conversations on all the different earth science groups - thinking about the institutionalization of these networks among the agencies - session tomorrow afternoon - thinking of publication 3:30 tomorrow in Mount Vernon


Peter Fox closes with some final statements

  • USAID - culture engrained with how they work in connection with what Bruce is talking about in studying culture
  • culture of data as a priority - how to push this up to the upper levels of the organization
  • GCIS - Open Information System - not just the data but all the different things around the data


Ma, M.; Connecting geodata in and among governmental agencies - A discussion among program managers, community and agency personnel; Winter Meeting 2015. ESIP Commons , October 2014