Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, the myUSGS Confluence service is targeted for retirement on January 28, 2022. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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Ignite Open Innovation Forums


Recordings Available on Meeting Pages and
Ignite OI Forum Stream Channel
(Only Accessible to DOI)

July 1, 2020

Open Innovation for Floods
Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Competitions as Force Multipliers for Flood Science and Management

Crowdsourcing, citizen science, and prize competitions are emerging open innovation techniques that are increasingly being used as force multipliers to enhance flood science and emergency management. Dr. Sophia B Liu will provide an overview of terms, concepts, and typical misconceptions related to these open innovation techniques, provide examples of flood-related open innovation projects and publications, and how your potential USGS open innovation projects related to floods can inform the development of a USGS Open Innovation Strategy and the products being developed. The presentation has 100 slides but mostly contains a lot of screenshots of various resources, projects, and publications. Approximately 30 minutes of videos each around 2-5 minutes long are also shown in the presentation and embedded in the slides. Links to the resources in this presentation are provided below.

June 19, 2020

Indigenous Observation Network (ION):
Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring Project

The hydrology of the Yukon River Basin has changed over the last several decades as evidenced by a variety of discharge, gravimetric, and geochemical analyses. The Indigenous Observation Network (ION), a community-based project, was initiated by the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) and USGS. Capitalizing on existing USGS monitoring and research infrastructure and supplementing USGS collected data, ION investigates changes in surface water geochemistry and active layer dynamics throughout the Yukon River Basin. Over 1600 samples of surface water geochemistry (i.e., major ions, dissolved organic carbon, and 18O and 2H) have been collected at 35 sites throughout the Yukon River and its major tributaries over the past 15 years. Active layer dynamics (maximum thaw depth, soil temperature and moisture) have been collected at 20 sites throughout the Yukon River Basin for the past eight years. Important regional differences in geochemistry and active layer parameters linked to permafrost continuity and tributaries will be highlighted. Additionally, annual trends and seasonal dynamics describing the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the watershed will be presented in the context of observed hydrological changes. These data assist the global effort to characterize arctic river fluxes and their relationship to the carbon cycle, weathering and permafrost degradation.

Ryan Toohey, hydrologist and Science Applications Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (AKCASC). His interests in water quality led Toohey to pursue an environmental science degree from Huxley College at Western Washington University. He graduated with an environmental science degree in the year 2000, having focused on water quality and Geographic Information Systems. In 2012, Toohey received an interdisciplinary joint Ph.D. in environmental science with a focus in both hydrology and agroforestry from the University of Idaho and the Centro Agronómico  Tropical de investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica. In addition to his position at the Alaska CASC, Toohey serves as an Affiliate Research Assistant Professor for the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Nicole Herman-Mercer is a social scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in the Decision Support Branch of the Water Resources Mission Area's Integrated Information Dissemination Division. Nicole began at the USGS in 2008 as a Student Intern in Support of Native American Relations (SISNAR) working on a case study of Indigenous Observations of Climate Change in a rural Alaska Native Village in the Yukon River Basin. Her work explores the interactions between different knowledge systems regarding human dimensions of landscape change and water resources in rural Alaska Native villages. She manages the Indigenous Observation Network and also conducts research on the impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities in Alaska. Currently, her focus is on the co-production of knowledge utilizing community-based and participatory methods in the Arctic and sub-Arctic to form a better understanding of environmental change and impacts on the populations of this region.

June 18, 2020

overlapping screenshots of the desktop view and mobile view of the new Guide to the PRA

Tackling the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
in the Age of Social Media and Web-based Interactive Technology

Crowdsourcing, citizen science, and prize competitions are open innovation techniques for engaging, educating, and empowering the public to contribute their talents to a wide range of scientific and societal issues. Often these contributions come from a large number of volunteers and can vary in the types of information or activity being requested. When the federal government collects information from 10 or more non-federal people, this often requires Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Clearance to ensure we reduce the burden on the public for collecting information. Although these open innovation activities are often voluntary and not typically seen as a burden on the public, there is still growing confusion on if PRA applies to these public engagement projects and how to complete the PRA process.


  • Jeff Parrillo - Department of Interior (DOI) Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer

  • Madonna Baucum - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Information Collection Clearance Officer (DOI alternate)

  • James Sayer - U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Information Collection Clearance Officer


  • Background on the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

  • Discussion on how the PRA applies to Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Prize Competition activities

April 23, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.13.33 AM.png

Let's Celebrate Citizen Science Month, Earth Day, and Take Your Kids to Work Day!
Take Your Kids Teleworking with Citizen Science to Understand Our Earth

Disruption to daily education is affecting nearly 1.5 billion learners around the world and nearly 30 million students in the US, as more teachers and teleworking parents are having to shift to doing educational activities at home. Citizen Science allows people of all ages to contribute to science virtually anywhere, making them fun social and educational activities that contribute to science while maintaining safe "physical" distancing. You and your kids can help advance scientific knowledge by asking questions, reporting observations, conducting experiments, collecting data, or developing low-cost technologies and open-source code online, on a mobile phone, at home, in your backyard, or outdoors! In this Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum, Eleanour Snow, Erin Posthumus, Sally Cook, and Erin Korris will share citizen science projects and other educational resources that have been developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), other federal agencies, and other partner organizations.

Eleanour Snow (USGS Youth and Education in Science Program)
USGS Learning from Home 

Erin Posthumus (USA National Phenology Network)
National Phenology Network

Sally (Sarah) Cook (USGS National Land Imaging Program)
AmericaView Education Website

Erin Korris (USGS National Geospatial Technical Operations Center)
USGS The National Map Corps

April 17, 2020

All Hands on Deck:
COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts and The Opportunity Project Earth Sprint

Sophia B Liu (USGS Science & Decisions Center)

Citizen scientists are playing the Foldit game designing protein structures to fight against coronavirus. GISCorps digital volunteers are crowdsourcing information online to develop the COVID-19 Testing Sites Locator Map in coordination with the FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Call to Action to the Tech Community on New Machine Readable COVID-19 Dataset led to a series of Artificial Intelligence Challenges on Kaggle for developing text and data mining tools for the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge (CORD-19)USAID has also launched the COVID-19 Innovation Hub to aggregate and highlight innovations responding to COVID-19. More examples can be found on the COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts wiki page. How can USGS and the Community for Data Integration (CDI) community learn from these open innovation efforts in terms of how we integrate and communicate data, how we understand and communicate risk, and how we contribute and use open innovation efforts that can inform the decisions we all are having to make in our professional and personal lives right now in this global crisis?

The US Census Bureau sponsors The Opportunity Project (TOP) to engage government, communities, academia, and the technology industry to facilitate cross-sector collaboration in the development of new digital solutions with open data that help strengthen American economic opportunity. This year they are hosting a 12-Week Earth Sprint and a COVID-19 Sprint starting this summer. It would be great to have USGS more officially involved and potentially collaborate with other federal agencies and non-profit organizations to define high-priority challenges facing the public. Sophia will present potential Problem Statements to submit to the TOP 2020 Earth and COVID-19 Sprint (see the attached PDF documents for more information and guidance on TOP).

March 16, 2020

Using Volcanic Hazards in Hawai‘i as a
STEM Platform in Problem-Based Learning

Jefferson Chang (USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)
Bridging Local Outreach & Seismic Signal Monitoring (BLOSSM)

Hawai‘i Island is home to Mauna Loa and Kīlauea, respectively the largest and most active volcanoes on the planet. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) monitors, investigates, and assesses the hazards posed by these volcanoes since 1912. HVO uses real-time information from instruments to monitor thermal and visual changes, volcanic gas emissions, ground deformation, and seismic activity. However, most of these monitoring instruments are located along volcanic edifices and rift zones, far from heavily populated areas, such as Hilo, Kona, and Pāhoa. Increasing the coverage of monitoring stations on the island is financially impractical, due to the high cost of instrumentation. In recent years, publicly available data and technological advancements have given new momentum to citizen science initiatives. Data gathered by specialized instrumentation are reproducible by enthusiastic hobbyists, using readily available off-the-shelf components. We use emerging technology to empower youth in a problem-based learning approach during a summer-long course. With guidance from HVO scientists, students essentially adopt the hazards mission of the USGS. Students not only aid in the volcano monitoring efforts on Hawai‘i Island, but also (1) take ownership of their own learning, (2) increase their capacity in STEM, and (3) engage the local community and address its needs.

February 26, 2020

Using Open Innovation to Engage
Youth and Underserved Communities in the Pacific Islands

Sheree Watson (USGS Youth and Education in Science, AAAS Fellow)

Sheree Watson is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow working with the Youth and Education in Science (YES) program in the Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI). Sheree’s experience spans a range of disciplines in aquatic biogeochemistry, as well as an educator in both formal (K-12), and informal STEM education. Sheree will talk about three open innovation USGS projects she is currently developing aimed at youth and underserved communities in the Pacific Islands:

  1. Using Raspberry Shake for educational outreach and seismic signal monitoring with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO),
  2. Developing a mobile app to engage communities in the restoration of the keystone and culturally important Hawaiian tree (‘Ōhi’a) with the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center (PIERC), and
  3. Developing a mobile app to engage affiliated Pacific Island community members in sea-level rise research with the Pacific Island Climate Adaptation Center (PICASC).

Why Open Innovation Matters and
Participating in the USGS Open Innovation Strategy

Sophia B Liu (USGS Science & Decisions Center)

Sophia will provide an overview of what is open innovation and why it matters. This presentation is intended to provide brief examples of how open innovation (crowdsourcing, citizen science, prize competitions, etc.) already exists at USGS as well as how we contribute to and use crowdsourced data personally and professionally everyday.

Sophia also leads the USGS Open Innovation Strategy and will discuss how you can participate in this strategy, the collaboration platforms and tools that will be used, and the types of presentations and working group meetings that will be proposed. This is intended to be an interactive discussion to gather suggestions and questions using a Mentimeter poll.

Past Open Innovation / Citizen-Centered Innovation Meetings

Federal Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science (FedCCS)
Community Meetings

FedCCS Community Meetings are every Last Thursday at 2 - 4 PM Eastern

JOIN FedCCS Listserv for Meeting Invites by emailing:

Videos Available to FedCCS Members in
FedCCS Community Team Space

Stream is Only accessible to DOI Employees

August 27, 2020

FedCCS August 2020 Meeting
"Citizen Science for Social Justice" and
"Discussion on Webinar on Federal Citizen Science Report"

The FedCCS August 2020 Meeting will include a presentation from Abby Kinchy on "Citizen Science for Social Justice", a discussion on the upcoming FY19-20 OSTP Data Call for the Federal Prize and Citizen Science Report, an open forum for any agency updates, and an informal networking session at the end of the formal meeting.

Dr. Maria Aristeidou (The Open University) will present key findings from a paper she recently published on "Online Citizen Science: A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy."

Dr. Giff Wong (IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI)) will provide a brief update on the reporting process and timeline for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) "FY19-20 Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority Progress Report."


Abby Kinchy will talk about how deliberation about values and political commitments can help citizen science organizers and participants navigate the dilemmas they face. Abby Kinchy is a Sociologist Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She studies environmental politics and writes about conflicts involving science, social movements, and controversial new technologies. Most recently, she co-authored "Science by the People: Participation, Power, and the Politics of Environmental Knowledge" (Rutgers, 2019). Her research examines the relationship between science and democracy, with two main objectives: 1) to illuminate how science shapes politics and policy making, and 2) to understand changing forms of public participation in the making of science and technology. Kinchy's research and teaching focus on topics relating to agriculture, ecological sustainability, and environmental justice. Most recently, Kinchy's research has focused on the politics of "citizen science" - public participation in scientific research. In addition, her current NSF-funded project, Nuestros Suelos/Our Soil, explores how citizen science could help urban communities to identify heavy metal contamination in soil and to advocate for solutions. She previously led the NSF-funded Watershed Knowledge Mapping Project, which examined the practices and politics of environmental monitoring in the context of shale gas development, or "fracking." Kinchy's work extends beyond the politics of citizen science. She is the author of Seeds, Science, and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops (MIT, 2012). She is also a co-organizer of STS Underground, a research network that advances social science research on the technoscientific dimensions of mining, burial, and other forms of subterranean exploration.

The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) will demonstrate a new online data collection survey for this report and answer any questions from the respective Communities of Practice.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is Congressionally-mandated to report on prize competitions and crowdsourcing and citizen science activities every two years, as authorized by the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act (i.e. COMPETES Act) and Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act (Section 402, American Innovation and Competitiveness Act). The OSTP is working with the General Services Administration (GSA) and Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) STPI to collect and report on fiscal year 2019-2020 activities.

This report will be the seventh report on the use of prize competitions and challenges conducted by federal agencies to spur innovation, engage citizen solvers, address tough problems, and advance their core missions. It also represents the second report on crowdsourcing and citizen science activities conducted by federal agencies.

July 30, 2020

FedCCS July 2020 Meeting
"Online Citizen Science, Update on OSTP Data Call, and COVID-Economics Wiki"

The FedCCS July 2020 Meeting will have three presentations, an open forum, and an informal networking session at the end.

Dr. Maria Aristeidou (The Open University) will present key findings from a paper she recently published on "Online Citizen Science: A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy."

Dr. Giff Wong (IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI)) will provide a brief update on the reporting process and timeline for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) "FY19-20 Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority Progress Report."

Dr. Peter Meyer (Bureau of Labor Statistics) will give a FedCCS Member Lightning Talk on his interest in enabling crowdsourcing among federal employees and other specialists through wiki platforms. He will give a demo of his COVID-Economics Wiki that he has recently been working on to develop a bibliography database that tracks academic literature related to COVID economics.

Online Citizen Science:
A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy

Maria will talk about a paper she recently published in the Citizen Science: Theory and Practice Journal. Participation in online citizen science is increasingly popular, yet studies that examine the impact on participants’ learning are limited. The aims of this paper are to identify the learning impact on volunteers who participate in online citizen science projects and to explore the methods used to study the impact. The ten empirical studies, examined in this systematic review, report learning impacts on citizens’ attitudes towards science, on their understanding of the nature of science, on topic-specific knowledge, on science knowledge, and on generic knowledge. These impacts were measured using self-reports, content analysis of contributed data and of forum posts, accuracy checks of contributed data, science and project-specific quizzes, and instruments for measuring scientific attitudes and beliefs. The findings highlight that certain technological affordances in online citizen science projects can cultivate citizens’ knowledge and skills, and they point to unexplored areas, including the lack of experimental and long-term studies, and studies in formal education settings.

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OSTP Citizen Science Report:
Update on FY19-20 Data Call and Reporting Process

Giff from the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) will provide a brief update on the reporting process and timeline for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) "FY19-20 Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority Progress Report," which will be developed in collaboration with GSA and STPI. The following is a summary of some of the updates. If you have questions or comments on this upcoming data call, please provide them in these two Menti Poll Questions for Giff.

  • FY19-20 data call will be done online using the Qualtrics survey tool.
  • A unique survey URL will be generated and emailed directly to the point of contact for each citizen science project to be included in the report (i.e., you will get an email and URL for every activity you are managing).
  • The new process will streamline and simplify the user experience on the front end and facilitate data access and cleanliness on the back end.
  • An initial call for data will go out in August with submissions due by mid-November.

FedCCS Member Lightning Talk:
A Bibliography of 'COVID Economics" on a Wiki

Peter will give a brief talk on his interest in enabling crowdsourcing among federal employees and other specialists through wiki platforms. He will give a demo of his COVID-Economics Wiki that he uses to develop a database of academic literature related to COVID economics. He hopes this talk will reawaken discussion of how wikis can enable crowdsourcing within the federal government.

June 25, 2020

FedCCS June 2020 Meeting
"NOAA Citizen Science on Data Quality" and
"EteRNA OpenVaccine for COVID-19"

FedCCS Meetings are typically every last Thursday of the month. We are shifting the time to start at the top of the hour at 2:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern with the last 30 minutes available for informal virtual networking. The FedCCS June 2020 Meeting will include a presentation from Laura Oremland on citizen science data quality from NOAA Case Studies and from Do Soon Kim on the EteERNA OpenVaccine COVID-19 Challenge. 

Laura Oremland (NOAA Citizen Science Co-Coordinator) will provide an overview of NOAA’s citizen science programs, describe the data quality assurance and quality control processes applied to different programs, and summarize common themes and recommendations for collecting high quality citizen science data.   

Do Soon Kim (visiting researcher at Stanford University) will talk about the Eterna OpenVaccine Challenge for COVID-19 and how they are harnessing online gamers to develop mRNA vaccines stable enough to be deployed to everyone in the world and not just a privileged few.

Can We Trust the Power of the Crowd?
A Look at Citizen Science Data Quality from NOAA Case Studies

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a rich history in citizen science dating back hundreds of years. Today NOAA’s citizen science covers a wide range of topics such as weather, oceans, and fisheries with volunteers contributing over 500,000 hours annually to these projects. The data are used to enhance NOAA’s science and monitoring programs. But how do we know we can trust these volunteer-based efforts to provide data that reflect the high standards of NOAA’s scientific enterprise? This talk will provide an overview of NOAA’s citizen science programs, describe the data quality assurance and quality control processes applied to different programs, and summarize common themes and recommendations for collecting high quality citizen science data.   

Laura Oremland serves as one of NOAA's Citizen Science Co-Coordinators. She has been with NOAA since 2002 and resides in the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology in Silver Spring, MD where she also manages education programs and works in science communications. She has a BS in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and an MS in marine science from SUNY Stony Brook.

Eterna OpenVaccine:
Stabilizing mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 through Crowdsourcing

Eterna (@EternaGame) is a browser-based "game with a purpose" developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University with funding support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Players solve puzzles related to the folding of RNA molecules and can also suggest new puzzles. Similar to Foldit—created by some of the same researchers that developed Eterna—the puzzles take advantage of human problem-solving capabilities to solve puzzles that are computationally laborious for current computer models. The researchers hope to capitalize on "crowdsourcing" and the collective intelligence of EteRNA players to answer fundamental questions about RNA folding mechanics. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eterna project is looking to harness online gamers toward a solution. The mission is to develop mRNA vaccines stable enough to be deployed to everyone in the world and not just a privileged few. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for widely deployable, equitable vaccines. Although mRNA vaccine feature unique advantage compared to traditional vaccine modalities, there are critical roadblocks that must be addressed before it can be deployed widely. Eterna launched the OpenVaccine challenge to mobilize the citizen science community to help navigate this difficult scientific challenge through gamifying one of the toughest challenges in RNA biochemistry: sequence-structure prediction. This talk will describe Eterna's current effort to design a more stable mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.

Do Soon Kim is currently a visiting researcher in the laboratory of Professor Rhiju Das at Stanford University working on the OpenVaccine project. He is pursuing his PhD at Northwestern University in chemical engineering studying synthetic biology, and first got involved with Eterna from his interest in biomolecule design.

May 28, 2020

FedCCS May 2020 Meeting
"Community and Citizen Science Data Quality" and
"COVID-19 Citizen and Open Science"

The FedCCS May 2020 Meeting will focus on "Data Quality" and we will also have a speaker every month to discuss "COVID-19" related crowdsourcing and citizen science efforts. Professional scientists are often skeptical about the quality of data collected by unpaid volunteers, citizen scientists, and other community-based monitoring efforts. However, there is a growing body of publications proving that the data quality from citizen science and community-based projects can be equal to or even surpass that of professionals. In this month's meeting, we have two speakers presenting on data quality. Nicole Herman-Mercer from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will discuss the data quality from a community-based water quality monitoring project called the Indigenous Observation Network (ION) and how it compares to similar data collected by professional scientists. Hilary Burgess from the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) and member of the Citizen Science Association (CSA) Data and Metadata Working Group will explain the Data Quality Resource Compendium for Citizen and Community Science projects.
For our COVID-19 speaker this month, we will have Lea Shanley (FedCCS Co-Founder and former Co-Chair as well as Senior Fellow in the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin Madison) discuss the landscape of COVID-19 citizen science and open science efforts emerging.

Nicole Herman-Mercer (USGS Decision Support Branch of Water Resources Mission Area)
Data Quality from a Community-Based, Water-Quality Monitoring Project in the Yukon River Basin

Hilary Burgess (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST))
- Citizen Science Association (CSA) Data and Metadata Working Group "Data Quality Resource Compendium for Citizen and Community Science"

Lea Shanley (University of Wisconsin Madison)
- The Landscape of COVID-19 Citizen Science and Open Science

April 30, 2020

FedCCS April 2020 Meeting
"Crowdsourcing All Things Geo"

Happy Citizen Science Month! The FedCCS April 2020 Meeting will be hosted in collaboration with the USGS Open Innovation Community. This month's topic is "Crowdsourcing All Things Geo" with a panel of six speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National-Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), Department of State (DOS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Each speaker will give a 10 minute talk about federal crowdsourcing projects involving volunteered geographic information (VGI), collaborative mapping, open source geospatial tools, and crowdsourcing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support.

Elizabeth McCartney (USGS) - National Digital Trails and GaiaGPS: Considerations When Proposing to Partner with a Private Company

Chris Clasen (NGA / GMU) - NaviGator: A Geographic Game With a Purpose

Erika Nunez (DOS) - MapGive: Humanitarian Mapping as Public Diplomacy

Will Mortenson (NGA) - NGA Open Mapping Enclave (NOME)

Katie Picchione (FEMA) - FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit

Scott Kaplan (CAP) -  Civil Air Patrol (CAP) GISProgram


Other Related Talks and Meetings

January 8, 2020

(Community for Data Integration (CDI) Meeting)

"USGS Open Innovation Strategy for
Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Competitions"

Sophia B Liu (USGS Science & Decisions Center)

The USGS has a long history of well-established projects using citizen science and other community-based research methods to enhance USGS science, but these projects are typically ad hoc and developed in response to specific science needs. “Open innovation” has become an emerging umbrella term to refer to the broad spectrum of public engagement methods like citizen science, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions. While there is growing interest within USGS to use these methods, there is currently no bureau-wide guidance, resources, or policy for how to use open innovation methods at USGS. Also, there are often concerns and misconceptions about data quality and validity of open innovation efforts that need to be addressed and dispelled. A comprehensive strategy is needed to provide uniform guidance and direction to USGS scientists, managers, and leadership on how to use open innovation methods most effectively and evaluate their effectiveness while ensuring compliance with Bureau and federal policy. A USGS Open Innovation Strategy is currently being developed that will include USGS-specific Guidance, Catalog, Toolkit, and Policy. These products will be collaboratively developed with input from USGS representatives across all mission areas, regions, and science support offices to ensure this strategy is relevant, reputable, and relatable to USGS programs and priorities. To participate and provide feedback on this strategy, join and contribute your input at the USGS Open Innovation Strategy Teams Site.

FEMA 2020 PrepTalk

(Presented in September 2019, Published in March 2020)

"Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science as
Force Multipliers for Emergency Management"

Sophia B Liu (USGS Science & Decisions Center)

YouTube Video  |  ASL Version  |  Discussion Materials

Dr. Sophia B Liu shares her journey in studying the use of social media in disasters since 2005 with Professor Leysia Palen, researching the use of citizen science to inform earthquakes and coastal hazard models at U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and helping to initiate the FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit at the National Response Coordination Center with Chris Vaughan and Emily Martuscello. In the past 15 years, the use of social media and interactive maps has evolved to become effective communication channels in disasters, emergency managers and hazard scientists are integrating data from the public to provide actionable intelligence during emergency response, and digital volunteers are becoming vital in curating data across the internet and untraditional channels during disasters to inform situational awareness. Also, check out the Crisis, Culture, and Curation - Ignite Talk at the International Conference on Crisis Mapping. PrepTalks are sponsored by FEMA, International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Naval Postgraduate School, and National Homeland Security Consortium. Other FEMA PrepTalks that might be of interest are:

The Next Pandemic: Lessons from History - John M. Barry

Let the Community Lead: Rethinking Command and Control Systems - Aaron Titus 

Our Changing World: The Challenge for Emergency Managers - David Kaufman

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