The Data Briefing

The Data Briefing: Should U.S. Federal Employees Become Data Science Literate?

Sep 21, 2016 |

The United Kingdom’s (UK) Digital Service has researched ways to increase data science literacy among the UK public service. Data science literacy goes further than data literacy, in that civil servants will know how to apply data science concepts and methods in their everyday work. I thought it would be useful to share the UK Read »

The Data Briefing: Harnessing the Internet of Things and Synthetic Data to Provide Better Flood Warnings and Prevent Veterans Suicides

Sep 14, 2016 |

Two significant items in federal government data in the last few weeks: The Department of Commerce releases the National Water Model. The National Water Model provides a comprehensive model of river flows so local communities can better prepare for possible flooding events. What is especially amazing about the National Water Model is that it pulls Read »

The Data Briefing: Microservices and Serverless Apps — A New Direction for Federal Government Mobile Apps?

Aug 24, 2016 |

Continuing from last week’s column on DevOps and containers, I will explain two other hot trends in IT — microservices and serverless apps. For those who want official federal government guidance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a draft special publication on microservices, application containers, and system virtual machines (PDF, 660 Read »

The Data Briefing: DevOps and Containers and Why They Are Important to Transforming Federal Government IT

Aug 17, 2016 |

You may have heard about “DevOps” in the news or when meeting with IT professionals. What exactly is DevOps and what, if any, connection does it have with agile? Also, what do “containers” have to do with all of this? In this week’s column, I will introduce DevOps and a related technology: containers. Some DevOps Read »

The Data Briefing: FINDing Great Global Development Data Visualizations Courtesy of the State Department

Aug 10, 2016 |

Federal agencies have been releasing some fascinating data visualization tools in the last year. Recently, the State Department unveiled the Beta version of FIND or the “F Interagency Network Databank.” From the description in the FAQ: “The F Interagency Network Databank (FIND) is an online tool that enables users to explore and analyze national level Read »

The Data Briefing: The Census Business Builder—Mashing Up Census Data to Help Build Businesses

Jul 27, 2016 |

The Census Bureau conducts more surveys than just the Constitutionally-mandated Decennial Census. There is also the American Community Survey, the Economic Census, the County Business Patterns series, statistics on Nonemployer businesses, and the Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons. On their own, each survey is full of useful information for researchers, local and state governments, and entrepreneurs. Read »

The Data Briefing: “PreparedGo” – The Federal Emergency Management Agency Mobile App

Jul 20, 2016 |

While you are outside hunting Pokemon or helping your children hunt Pokemon, consider adding another mobile app to your smartphone or tablet. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mobile app alerts you about severe weather and other natural disasters. The app is also a great information resource on surviving disasters and connects you to FEMA Read »

The Data Briefing: Mobile Apps, Responsive Web Sites, and the “Mobile Moment”

Jul 13, 2016 |

The debate between responsive websites and mobile apps took a decisive turn this week when the United Kingdom’s Digital Service (UKDS) banned the creation of mobile apps. In an interview with GovInsider, the founder of UKDS, Ben Terrett, explained that mobile apps were too expensive to build and maintain. Responsive websites were easier to build Read »

The Data Briefing: I, For One, Welcome Our New Chatbot Blockchain Digital Autonomous Organizations

Jul 6, 2016 |

It is at the intersections of fields where you find the most fascinating and innovative concepts. Recently, a conference on “Open Human Resources and the Cognitive Era” explored the use of chatbots and blockchain technologies in human resources. Human Resources (HR) is quietly undergoing a revolution as many HR practitioners are transforming HR by using Read »

The Data Briefing: Innovating Processes the Lean and Agile Way

Jun 29, 2016 |

Business processes have fascinated me since I took an undergraduate philosophy course in modern business management. A part-time professor who was a management consultant by day taught this unusual class. Perhaps business management thinking was first experimenting with ideas that would later lead to the agile and lean movement today. From this class I learned Read »

The Data Briefing: NASA’s New Big Data Strategy

Jun 22, 2016 |

Few other federal agencies deal with as much data as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Big science creates big data, and NASA manages many of the biggest science projects in world history. Even in the early days of NASA’s history, NASA pioneered new ways to create and store data. So, in the world Read »

The Data Briefing: Better Crowdsourced Federal Government Projects Through Cognitive Computing

May 25, 2016 |

Cognitive computing has been receiving a good deal of attention lately as more companies have been building intelligent agents. Ever since IBM Watson’s 2011 appearance on Jeopardy, cognitive computing has spread into healthcare, investing and even veterinary medicine. However, it is only recently that cognitive computing has spread into government applications. As the name implies, Read »

The Data Briefing: Introducing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s New Open Data Portal

May 18, 2016 |

My first column when I came back from last year’s summer sabbatical was on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) PatentsView project. Read »

The Data Briefing: What Makes a Great Federal Government App?

May 11, 2016 |

USAGov recently released a list of six great federal government mobile apps. There were many apps released by the federal government over the last 5-6 years on a wide range of topics and services. Many are well-designed and useful to the American public. So, what are the outstanding federal government apps for 2016? Read »

The Data Briefing: Engaging Citizens through CitizenScience.Gov

May 4, 2016 |

Last month, I worked to create a “Citizen Science Passport” for the federal agencies participating in the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Seven federal agencies offered some form of crowdsourcing or citizen science activity at their booths such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s exhibit on food safety or Environmental Protection Agency’s build-your-own air monitoring Read »