OPEN GOVERNMENT, OPEN DATA, OPEN ARCHITECTURE AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE GIS POLICY FOR U.S. ARMY INSTALLATION MANAGEMENT: 2010
February 6, 2010 was the deadline for U.S. government agencies to launch open government webpages, in keeping with President Obama's Open Government Directive. The data.gov website includes a Geodata Catalog, but does not include geospatial data from the Department of Defense (DoD).
The Obama administration is pushing for more openness, transparency and accountability which have specific ramifications for geospatial communities. The idea is that providing open government data to citizens not only provides for more transparent government, it also creates opportunities for economic innovation.
Open access to government geospatial data can dramatically increase the value of the data, and supports information-driven decision-making at all levels. The quality and authoritativeness of data becomes more critical and data creators become more sensitive to quality as viewership expands.
In October 2009, DoD issued clarifying guidance on Open Source Software (OSS) which states that OSS meets the definition of “commercial computer software” and should be used when it “best meets the needs and mission of the Department”.
OSS is well-suited for the DoD because OSS offers rights to distribute, change and improve as needed, without asking permission or making fiscal commitments to any external group. That autonomy allows the DoD to effectively utilize crowd-sourcing and eliminate sole-source restrictions.
Data sources exist for most critical business data in the Army, however they often overlap and present redundant data that confuses decision-making. The Business Enterprise Architecture (BEA) initiative aims to create Authoritative Data Sources (ADS) that can be shared with other systems. Proponents have been identified for critical data elements.
Decision-makers care about place – and geography allows users a contextual view of information. The key for the next phase of Open Data will be to enact standards and identify proponent responsibilities, while not inhibiting individuals who create data in support of vital business operations.
Jaymes Cloninger - Syncadd Systems Inc.