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Digital Strategy

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Digital Strategy

Digital Government Strategy Report for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

2.1. Engage with customers to identify at least two existing major customer-facing services that contain high-value data or content as first-move candidates to make compliant with new open data, content, and web API policy.
Overall Status: completed
2.1.1. Paragraph on customer engagement approach
Paragraph on customer engagement approach: NASA has three phases defined for Customer Engagement for Open Data. Phase One included the development of code.nasa.gov and data.nasa.gov. Code.nasa.gov and data.nasa.gov, are two major ways that NASA engages our customers. Code.nasa.gov website expands NASA’s open source activities, surfaces existing activities, provides a discussion forum, and guides internal and external groups in open development, release, and contribution. NASA hopes to lower barriers to building open technology in partnership with the public.
Phase Two concentrates on open source concepts, policies, and activities at NASA, and is ongoing across the agency.
Phase Three focuses on building software tools to improve and speed open source development, including distributed version control, issue tracking, continuous integration, and documentation. Data.nasa.gov is NASA’s commitment to open data and expands the audience for the vast body of knowledge produced through NASA aeronautics and space missions. Developers, technologists, entrepreneurs, citizen scientists and many others can contribute directly to the exploration of space and Earth by helping to create new ways to leverage NASA data. As part of the Open Government Initiative and the Open Data Policy, the Agency is working to improve accessibility to this data and incentivizing the use of government data by citizens through challenge programs, such as the International Space Apps Challenge. NASA makes available data, software, and analytic tools through the Open.NASA.gov website that links to both the data.NASA.gov and the code.NASA.gov catalogs – which draw from NASA’s many mission-related websites. The public now has streamlined access to publicly available data and tools with information and direct links to approximately over 3000 datasets.
Additionally, NASA requests feedback via comments on Open.NASA.gov and NASA’s Digital Strategy website for data sets or digital information the public finds most valuable. The public can also submit a request on Github.

2.1.2. Prioritized list of systems (datasets)
System Name: NASA Data API
System Description: The data.nasa.gov API allows a machine-readable interface to return metadata from the site organized by category, tag, date, or search term. We’re hoping this allows new and creative visualizations of the data resources NASA provides to the public. Additionally, it is a learning experience for us as we work to expand transparency, participation, and collaboration at NASA through new uses of technology.
System Scope: both
Main Customer: Employees, Citizens
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001


System Name: ISS Live API
System Description: Thousands of data points are downloaded every minute from the Station, and ISS Live! makes a broad set of that data open and accessible. Furthermore, ISS Live! will make an application programming interface (API) available as a web service for external developers to take ISS data and put it into their own websites and mobile applications.
System Scope: both
Main Customer: Employees, Citizens
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001
System Name: ExoAPI
System Description: ExoAPI is an ongoing project that extends the accessibility of exoplanetary data by providing an easy to use RESTful API. ExoAPI was created during the NASA Space Apps Challenge by a team of three amazing geniuses who knew nothing about space before they started this...and still don't really. Currently the data is provided by http://exoplanetology.blogspot.com/ who in turn feeds the data from http://exoplanet.eu/. The ExoAPI team plans on extending the API to encompass a wider array of data sources and more interesting space data to reach as many programmers as possible and encourage an explosion of space data based mashups.
System Scope: both
Main Customer: Employees, Citizens
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001
7.1. Engage with customers to identify at least two existing priority customer-facing services to optimize for mobile use.
Overall Status: completed
7.1.1. Paragraph on customer engagement approach
Paragraph on customer engagement approach: NASA is a leader in providing open data to citizens, researchers, and fellow agencies. Our NASA vision is to “to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.” We do this by sharing our discoveries as widely as possible. We've embarked on an ambitious citizen engagement through our crowdsourcing and challenge portfolio, where we allow our customers -- the taxpayer -- to engage with us to create innovative new solutions to problems facing humanity, both on and off the planet. NASA leads the public sector in the breadth and depth of experience and experimentation with prizes, citizen science, and challenges, much of which is based on NASA's openly available data and tools. From the International Space Apps Challenge, to Centennial Challenges, to NASA's Open Innovation Pavilion, and NASA Tournament Lab, citizens can join our journey of exploration. Through these citizen engagement programs, NASA provides priority high value datasets -- created as an output of NASA’s scientific and engineering programs – to allow the public to create innovative solutions and new products for social good, non-profit, and commercial gain. The International Space Apps Challenge, in its third year, engaged with over 8000 citizens from 95 cities and 46 countries, to create a harvest of innovation from the seeds of NASA data. We are committed to increase our customer engagement through innovative data programs to infuse innovation at the local level, as well as spurring new ways to do business in the federal government.
7.1.2. Prioritized list of systems (datasets)
System Name: NASA Apps Store
System Description: Provide employees and contractors with access to agency data and systems on the go.
System Scope: internal
Main Customer: Employees
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001
System Name: WebTADS
System Description: WebTADS Mobile is a lighter version of the desktop-based WebTADS developed to provide NASA Civil Servants with the convenience of recording time when they're not in the office or connected via VPN.
System Scope: internal
Main Customer: Employees
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001
System Name: Visualization Explorer
System Description: NASA Visualization Explorer, the coolest way to get stories about advanced space-based research delivered right to your iPad. A direct connection to NASA’s extraordinary fleet of research spacecraft, this app presents cutting edge research stories in an engaging and exciting format.
System Scope: both
Main Customer: Employees, Citizens
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000004110
System Name: people.nasa.gov
System Description: NASA Enterprise Directory (NED) Search
System Scope: both
Main Customer: Employees, Citizens
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001
4.2. Establish an agency-wide governance structure for developing and delivering digital services
Overall Status: completed
Paragraph on Governance: NASA intended to create a Digital Services Council to be co-chaired by the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and Office of Communications. In the meantime, NASA conducted a comprehensive Technical Capabilities Assessment initiative to establish a more efficient operating model that maintains critical capabilities and meets current and future mission needs. NASA has a highly complex and evolving mission dependent upon numerous technical capabilities. The intent of the agency-wide assessment has been to strategically address the technical capabilities required to support Agency goals, and to enable NASA leadership to make informed decisions about investments in infrastructure, people, and innovation needed to advance our mission.

In order to streamline processes, the OCIO assessed existing authorities for how the Agency governs digital services, and determined that OCIO processes and governing boards already have authority over digital infrastructure and capabilities. These authorities cannot be re-delegated to a newly formed Council.; therefore, the Council has been determined redundant. In order to streamline NASA capabilities, NASA management has determined that digital strategy is the responsibility of OCIO, and is embedded at all levels of OCIO Information Technology (IT) governance at NASA.

IT governance is undertaken under the auspices of multiple standing Boards.
1. The IT Strategy and Investment Board has authority for decisions regarding IT strategy and resultant policies, significant IT investments (prioritization and approval), and the NASA Enterprise Architecture.
2. The IT Program Management Board has authority for application and infrastructure projects to ensure that investments approved by the IT Strategy and Investment Board stay on track during formulation, design, and implementation.
3. The IT Management Board (ITMB) has authority for decisions regarding management of the IT technical environment at NASA to implement IT strategy, policy, and investment initiatives, including configuration management, integration, and performance of IT systems. The purpose of the ITMB is to make decisions regarding performance, integration, and other issues pertaining to operational systems. The ITMB also serves as a senior-level Configuration Control Board (CCB) for Agency infrastructure projects, reviewing and approving high-level infrastructure requirements.
4. The IT Systems Integration Board provides a forum for senior-level stakeholder participation in the setting of IT strategy and policy of broad impact in terms of budget or operational capacity, as well as prioritization of significant IT investments that align with the strategy and mission of the Agency. The purpose of this Board is to provide a forum for high-level Agency participation in the oversight and evaluation of Agency IT programs and projects.
In addition, OCIO is responsible for OMB E-Gov initiatives and has the authority to negotiate and commit on behalf of the Agency a set of initiatives and milestones that are in the best interest of the Agency and Federal Government.

URL to Governance Document: http://www.nasa.gov/agency/digitalstrategy/governance.html
5.2. Develop an enterprise-wide inventory of mobile devices and wireless service contracts
Overall Status: completed
5.2.1. Develop wireless and mobile inventory
Bureau/Component: OCIO
Inventory Status: completed


8.2. Implement performance and customer satisfaction measuring tools on all .gov websites
Overall Status: completed
8.2.1. Implement performance measurement tool
Implemented Digital Analytics Program: yes
If Not, Describe Implementation:
Percent of websites covered: 100
URL of performance data: https://www.google.com/analytics/web/?authuser=1#my-reports/N_nOya0_SVC3...
8.2.2. Implement customer satisfaction tool
Describe Implementation: The main www.nasa.gov website uses ForeSee Feedback analytics that enables the agency to offer the opportunity for citizens to volunteer allow the agency to follow their movements throughout the website before offering a short survey measuring their satisfaction at the conclusion of their visit.
URL of performance data: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/598263main_NASA.pdf
1.2. Ensure all new IT systems follow the open data, content, and web API policy and operationalize agency.gov/developer pages
Overall Status: in-progress
1.2.1. Document policy for architecting new IT systems for openness by default
Describe policy: NASA is in the process of reviewing the recently released open data policy. The agency's long tradition of sharing its work and research with the public mean that much of our data already meets the requirements laid out in the policy, and the agency plans a comprehensive response to ensure that additional data is released in formats that are open, accessible, and of value to the public.
NASA is also currently working on contract language to be put in place for all new IT systems such that hooks are provided to allow exposure of data in a machine-readable manner. Additionally, the NASA Information Architecture Management initiative, run out of Office of Chief Information Officer, is providing data guidelines and standards that show reference architectures and implementations for best-practices approaches to machine-readable data and data operability.
1.2.4. Develop Data Inventory Schedule - Summary
Summarize the Inventory Schedule: NASA was founded on the principles of transparency and openness via the 1958 Space Act with requires NASA to “provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning the activities and the results thereof.” NASA datasets are available across a variety of Agency websites and portals for use by the public. We are committed to making our data as accessible as possible, and are working with our Mission Directorates to systematically identify, collect, and format existing data that is routinely made available through open sources, most often mission program websites.

The 2014 inventory has grown extensively. Updates included 1000 new datasets in Earth Sciences, 51 new datasets in Space Science, 50 new datasets in Space Technology, 375 new datasets in Human Spaceflight, and 55 new datasets in Aeronautics.

1.2.5. Develop Data Inventory Schedule - Milestones
Title: Publication of updated PDL
Description: This major effort consists of mapping currently known datasets to the Project Open Data Schema and ensuring publication into PDL JSON format for harvesting into data.gov.

Milestone Date: monthly
Description of how this milestone expands the Inventory: NASA is using the Project Open Data metadata schema to build the Public Data Lists and the Enterprise Data Inventory., We are continually adding datasets owned by NASA's Mission Directorates and other functional offices. We are developing an agency-level NASA Information Architecture Management (NIAM) process to help us share and reuse the data across the agency, and allow our researchers to more easily identify common research datasets across agencies. The information architecture is one of our Open Government Plan flagship initiatives. We are making significant progress with common metadata, contract language, and search capacity. As we mature this process, identification of datasets will be more streamlined so that we can add new agency data to our inventory
Description of how this milestone enriches the Inventory: The data from each Mission Directorate is unique; therefore, expanding the inventory greatly. NASA currently has over 3000 datasets within the data.gov catalog and will continue to expand this through collaboration with the Mission Directorates and through our customer engagement methods such as challenges and prizes competitions.
NASA has enriched the data by applying categories as seen on http://data.nasa.gov/. The categories include Aeronautics, Earth Science, Climate, Engineering, Institutional, Life Science, Operations, and Space Science. These categories were identified by the NASA Open Innovation Team based on NASA mission data most frequently accessed via the program websites or customer-facing programs.
Description of how this milestone opens the Inventory: Each monthly milestone adds new datasets to open the inventory. The NASA Open Innovation Team collaborates with the data owners to make the datasets available in machine-readable format for ease of use by our customers and the public. As an engineering and science agency, NASA has protocols to ensure sensitive data, such as ITAR-related or privacy data is secured. NASA has always and will continue to proactively release our non-sensitive scientific data for the benefit of the general public. This not only increases the level of transparency and accountability, but also improves the timely sharing of the data for better science and technology. One of the examples of NASA’s commitment to proactively disclose information is our Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Program. The STI program is a critical component in the worldwide activity of scientific and technical aerospace research and development. This program houses over 4 million documents. Yes, we have our work cut out to convert these documents into machine-readable format – with no additional funded authorized by Congress to make this happen.
NASA places a high priority on protecting all our sensitive unclassified information (SBU) created, collected, maintained, and managed on behalf of NASA. Among the various categories of SBU, privacy information (identifiable form, personally identifiable information, and information subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, are among the most sensitive, requiring multiple levels of protection and compliance with federal standards and laws. Meeting these requirements ensures that NASA complies with all related federal laws and standards, and ensures NASA and the federal government retain the public trust. All system, application, and information owners must fully comply with NASA Privacy Policy and Procedures, and all employees are required to maintain a state of awareness and training that ensures we are able to appropriately protect such information. NASA’s Privacy Page provides greater detail
The Open Innovation team defers to the strictly-defined processes within each mission program and organization to ensure the data can be made available to the public. Once NASA data is deemed open by the technical experts through their processes and the agency privacy review process, the Open Innovation team converts it to machine-readable format for inclusion in the data inventory.


1.2.6. Develop Customer Feedback Process
Describe the agency's process to engage with customers: NASA engages with the public through a variety of avenues, perhaps the most relevant to the Digital Strategy initiative and Open Data Policy being our commitment to open data and open source software. Two platforms, data.nasa.gov and code.nasa.gov, serve as the home for the agency's customer engagement efforts. Code.nasa.gov expands NASA’s open source activities, surfaces existing activities, and guides internal and external groups in open development, release, and contribution. In doing so, NASA hopes to lower barriers to building open technology in partnership with the public. Future plans for code.nasa.gov include closer integration with our GitHub presence as well as improved catalogs of our available APIs and software release processes. If you are a developer employed by NASA or a NASA contractor and have open source code you wish to host on the NASA GitHub repository, email NASA at opensource@lists.nasa.gov. Data.nasa.gov is NASA’s flagship platform for sharing information about the vast data we collect and store - over 100 years of U.S. aeronautics and space data. As part of the Open Government Initiative, the Agency is working to improve accessibility to this data and incentivizing the use of government data by citizens. Developers, technologists, entrepreneurs, citizen scientists and many others can contribute directly to the exploration of space and Earth by helping to create new ways of looking at this data. We engage directly with these citizens through programs like the International Space Apps Challenge and via the platform of open.nasa.gov, receiving their comments and inputs to shape ongoing data engagement.
1.2.7. Develop Data Publication Process
Describe the agency's data publication process: NASA takes seriously its responsibility to increase public access to our scientific, research and program data while observing precautions related to privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions to release permitted by law.

Identify: The NASA Open Innovation Team continues to collaborate with the agency Mission Directorates to identify, collect, and format existing terabytes of data that are routinely made available through open sources, most often mission program websites. Captured data has already been technically reviewed at the program level.
Review: The data is reviewed in standard processes in terms of all privacy, confidentiality, security, and other legal requirements. Office of the General Counsel consults as needed where there are questions about recommendations.
Publish: Data available on the mission websites is converted to machine-readable format using the Open Data standards, published on data.NASA.gov to allow CRUD operations on identified data sets for our agency public data list, and subsequently harvested by the data.gov process for publication. Other data release channels include mission program and project websites, journals, and presentations at meetings and workshops.

Concerning restricted data: NASA data restricted under ITAR (International Trade in Arms Regulations), EAR (Export Administration Regulations), SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research), trade secret/commercial confidential or subject to Section 303(b) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act is considered to be SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified) and shall be marked with the appropriate notice (ITAR, EAR, SBIR, etc.) in all appropriate locations. Release or distribution of the same information by NASA contractors is subject to the same notice.
2.2. Make high-value data and content in at least two existing, major customer-facing systems available through web APIs, apply metadata tagging and publish a plan to transition additional high-value systems
Overall Status: completed
2.2.1. Publish plan on future activity
Describe policy: NASA is committed to making our data, software, and tools available to the public to spur innovation and improve lives of citizens of this planet. We are looking for ways to create create machine-readable files for every NASA website – as we do with 508 compliance processes. This is a longer-term solution to the commitment to make our data accessible. In the short-term, we will continue to convert data-sets as they come available and we have the resources to make this a reality. We will continue to engage one-on-one with data-consuming citizens through challenges and collaboration opportunities to enable citizen developers around the world to help us in our quest to further the transparency and accessibility of NASA data systems. Events like the International Space Apps Challenge open the opportunity for thousands of citizen developers from across the planet to contribute their time to use NASA data to solve problems facing their communities at the local level
NASA has hosted three International Space Apps Challenge events. In the 2013 event, 83 cities around the world with over 9,100 participants created 770 unique, open source solutions to a series of challenges the agency issued. In 2014, over 8000 participates in 95 cities and 46 countries engaged with NASA’s data to create 671 solutions. The challenges varied in scope and subject, from the creation of visualizations of our data to creating new API interfaces to legacy datasets. Solvers created innovative methods to monitor air, water, and urban pollution, track environmental mishaps, and alerts to warn citizens of weather and health-related disasters, as well as track the asteroids and celestial events. NASA is building on these efforts, and collaborating with other agencies to create solver profiles that can be used by citizens to engage with NASA and other agencies on a long-term basis. We're also developing innovation pipelines to help accelerate the infusion of data solutions at the local host level, as well as to infuse the solutions back into mainstream NASA.

2.2.2. Make 2+ systems (datasets) available via web APIs with metadata tags
Name of system: NASA Data API
Description of system: The data.nasa.gov API allows a machine-readable interface to return metadata from the site organized by category, tag, date, or search term. We’re hoping this allows new and creative visualizations of the data resources NASA provides to the public. Additionally, it is a learning experience for us as we work to expand transparency, participation, and collaboration at NASA through new uses of technology.
Scope of system: both
Main Customers: Employees, Public
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001
API Link: http://data.nasa.gov/api-info/


Name of system: Earth Observing System (EOS) Clearing House (ECHO)
Description of system: The NASA-developed Earth Observing System (EOS) Clearinghouse (ECHO) is a spatial and temporal metadata registry and order broker built by NASA's Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) that enables the science community to more easily use and exchange NASA's data and services. ECHO's main objective is to enable broader use of NASA's EOS data. It allows users to more efficiently search and access data and services and increases the potential for interoperability with new tools and services. The value of these resources increases as the potential to exchange and interoperate increases. ECHO has been working with other organizations to provide their Earth science metadata alongside NASA's for users to search and access. ECHO stores metadata from a variety of science disciplines and domains, including Climate Variability and Change, Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems, Earth Surface and Interior, Atmospheric Composition, Weather, and Water and Energy Cycle.
Scope of system: both
Main Customers: Employees, Public
Unique Investment Identifier: 026-000000001
API Link: http://api.echo.nasa.gov/echo/
5.3. Evaluate the government-wide contract vehicles in the alternatives analysis for all new mobile-related procurements
Overall Status: completed
Describe Implementation: As part of NASA's transition to ACES, the consolidated solution for delivering end-user services across the agency to achieve increased efficiencies and reduced costs through standardization, the agency undertook an extensive review of mobile device and service procurements. The agency offers employees a variety of device and service options, and is currently researching other opportunities for further flexibility in mobile services, including bring your own device programs and enhanced teleworking options.
6.3. Ensure all new digital services follow digital services and customer experience improvement guidelines
Overall Status: completed
Describe Implementation: As part of NASA's Digital Governance, the agency is working to established improved digital service guidelines, many of which will be realized within the NASA’s Web Services Initiative, which is transitioning our web presence in to a modern, cloud-based, open source environment.
7.2. Optimize at least two existing priority customer-facing services for mobile use and publish a plan for improving additional existing services
Overall Status: completed
Describe Implementation: As mobile devices continue to count for a larger percentage of overall web traffic in the US, NASA has strived to offer a variety of services in mobile friendly offerings, including via specialized mobile applications, mobile optimized websites, and SMS gateways. With constrained budgetary resources, however, relying solely on NASA programs to release mobile interfaces is not the best approach to furthering this objective. Thus, our strategy has been to launch a series of challenges and collaboration opportunities to enable citizen developers around the world to help us in our quest to further the reach of NASA in to the mobile landscape. Events like the International Space Apps Challenge open the opportunity for thousands of citizen developers from across the planet to contribute their time to helping the agency create mobile interfaces for our programs.
7.2.1. Report on services
Service Name: WebTADS Mobile
Service Description: WebTADS Mobile is a lighter version of the desktop-based WebTADS developed to provide NASA Civil Servants with the convenience of recording time when they're not in the office or connected via VPN.
System Scope: internal
Primary customers: Employees
URL of service: https://apps.nasa.gov/content/webtads
Service Name: NASA Contacts
Service Description: Look up your NASA colleagues' contact information directly from your phone.
System Scope: internal
Primary customers: Employees
URL of service: https://apps.nasa.gov/content/nasa-contacts

Last updated November 26, 2014 at 6:20 am

Page Last Updated: November 26th, 2014
Page Editor: Jason Duley