October 20, 2010
NASA Open Government Summit Emphasized Data Exchange
NASA is working to publish more of its data sets online and create more opportunities to engage with the public using digital tools. This was a major part of the discussion during the monthly Open Government Community Summit at NASA Headquarters in Washington last week. NASA's Office of the Chief Information Officer and Office of the Chief Financial Officer hosted the meeting.
The event brought leaders from both government and public sectors together to discuss transparency, participation and collaboration in an era of emerging new technologies, maturing systems and increased generation of open data.
"At NASA, we understand that teams at varied locations need a way to engage in timely, technical conversations and collaborate remotely to meet mission-critical goals," said NASA's Deputy Chief Information Officer Deborah Diaz. "As more data is generated, we are witnessing the emergence of new electronic tools almost daily. Agencies must look ahead to anticipate change and efficient use of new technology tools."
The technical conversation was centered around how agencies could build on the successes of the Open Government Initiative. Participants discussed the future of transparency catalysts such as the government clearing-house for digital information: http://www.data.gov
Participants also recognized that the Open Government Initiative requires a new approach to communication.
"Technology enables and supports one to thousands of conversations," said NASA's Chief Technology Officer for IT, Chris Kemp. "We're finding that if we don't stand in the way of that conversation, incredible things can happen."
What set this event apart from previous Open Government summits was the collaborative element. Approximately 60 percent of the participants were not present in the room, but instead used several electronic tools to "virtually attend" the summit.
Video streaming, cooperative note-taking, online teleconferencing and modification of conversational practices in the room, all attempted to bridge the gap between physical and virtual participants. With a "learning-by-doing" approach, organizers collected many lessons learned that will help future events be even more inclusive and efficient.
"The summit generated some new, innovative ideas and suggested ways to put those ideas into practice that will be of immediate use at participants' home agencies," Diaz said.
Remote participants from as far away as Vienna, Austria, exchanged their expertise with others from around the globe and around the meeting room, with as many as 50 people simultaneously providing input for discussion topics.
The Open Government Community Summit Series is an inter-agency collaborative event hosted monthly by a different organization. It is sponsored and managed by the Open Forum Foundation in Washington.
For information about NASA Open Government initiatives, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/open/index.html
For information about the Open Forum Foundation, visit: http://www.openforumfoundation.org