Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is scheduled for retirement on January 27th, 2023. 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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Join the Open Innovation Community 

The Open Innovation (OI) Community welcomes anyone interested in using participatory science and innovation methods like Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Prize Competitions to obtain ideas, data, services, and solutions from the public and organizations in an open way. The Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum is a series of different talks and panels to inform the development of a USGS Open Innovation Strategy.

Point of Contact: Sophia Liu and 

Open Innovation Community Wiki  

Join Open Innovation Community Listserv  |  Join USGS Open Innovation Teams Site (Code: mom37z3)  |  Join Federal Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community Listserv  |  Join Federal Challenge & Prize Community Listserv


Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum

Series of talks and open discussions to inform the USGS Open Innovation Strategy

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All Hands on Deck: COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts and The Opportunity Project Earth Sprint
Friday, April 17, 2020 at 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT

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Sophia B Liu (USGS Open Innovation Lead) will provide an overview of the various open innovation efforts inside and outside of government that have emerged in response to COVID-19. She will also discuss The Opportunity Project Earth Sprint and proposed Problem Statements.

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 Datasetled to a series of Artificial Intelligence Challenges on Kaggle for developing text and data mining tools for theCOVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge (CORD-19)USAID has also launched the COVID-19 Innovation Hubto aggregate and highlight innovations responding to COVID-19. More examples can be found on theCOVID-19 Open Innovation Effortswiki 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 sponsorsThe 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).

Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum

Series of talks and open discussions to inform the USGS Open Innovation Strategy

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Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community
"All Things Geo Crowdsourcing"
Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 2:30 - 4:30 PM ET

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Elizabeth McCartney (USGS) - National Digital Trails and GaiaGPS

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

Tom Gertin (State Department) - MapGive to Develop Open Geographic Data

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

Kim Stephens and Katie Picchione (FEMA) - FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit Maps

Scott Kaplan (NGA) - Civil Air Patrol GIS Use of Crowdsourcing Tools

Join Federal Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community Listserv

(Federal Government Only)

Past Open Innovation Community Meetings

March 16, 2020 - Jefferson Chang

February 26, 2020 - Sheree Watson and Sophia B Liu


What does Open Innovation mean?

Open Innovation: Open Innovation is an umbrella term that refers to participatory methods and techniques for obtaining ideas, expertise, and resources from the public, organizations, and experts in an open way.

Citizen Science: The public participates voluntarily in the scientific process, addressing real-world problems in ways that may include formulating research questions, conducting scientific experiments, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, making new discoveries, developing technologies and applications, and solving complex problems.

Crowdsourcing: An open call for voluntary assistance from a large group of individuals for gathering ideas, observations, or services. Many crowdsourced efforts use rigorous procedures to ensure data quality, such as checking for agreement from multiple volunteers or developing verification protocols.

Challenges & Prize Competitions: An approach to federal contracting that promotes innovation by offering a monetary or non-monetary reward upon completing a specific objective or task. Prize competitions are a proven way to increase innovation for the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. Incentivized, open competition is a standard tool in many agencies’ toolboxes for delivering more cost-effective and efficient services, and advancing agencies’ core missions.

Civic Hacking: A creative and collaborative approach to problem solving. Hackathons are gatherings that encourage meaningful engagement between technology developers, designers, data scientists, subject matter experts, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders, making them great places to understand our users, build volunteer community and capacity, as well as recruit new talent. The goal is to produce quick and creative solutions, learn new tools and skills, and meet new people.


Open Innovation Announcements

April 2020 Newsletter

A monthly newsletter with links to upcoming and past events related to open innovation. 

FEMA PrepTalk Released
"Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science as Force Multipliers for Emergency Management"

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Featured on and available at FEMA PrepTalk
Check out the YouTube Video and Discussion Materials which includes COVID-19 Open Innovation Resources.

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. 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

Upcoming Open Innovation Meetings

Celebrate Citizen Science Month:
Take Your Kids Teleworking with Citizen Science

Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:00 - 12:00 PM ET

  • April is Citizen Science Month!
    • Citizen Science Month resources
  • Distance Learning at Home and with Citizen Science
    • Share educational resources to learn at home for kids
    • Federal and other citizen science projects for kids

Tackling the Paperwork Reduction Act with DOI Generic Information Collection Request 
Friday, April 24, 20202 at 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

overlapping screenshots of the desktop view and mobile view of the new Guide to the PRA
  • Background on the Paperwork Reduction Act
    • A Guide to the PRA - Digital.Gov Resources
  • DOI Generic Information Collection Request for Crowdsourcing for Citizen Science
    • Request for potential projects that want to use DOI Generic ICR
    • Request for feedback on draft 60 Day Notice

Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community: All Things Geo Crowdsourcing 
Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 2:30 - 4:30 PM ET

Past Open Innovation Community Meetings

March 16, 2020 - Jefferson Chang

February 26, 2020 - Sheree Watson and Sophia B Liu