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

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

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

April is Citizen Science Month!
April 22 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!
April 23 is 
Take Your Kids to Work Day!

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.

Visit the April 23, 2020 Open Innovation Meeting Page for more details on each speaker and the video recording.

Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community
"All Things Geo Crowdsourcing"

Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 2:30 - 4:30 PM ET

Join Federal Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community Listserv
to receive the meeting invitation for this and future FedCCS Monthly Meetings. 
(Federal Government Only Meeting)

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

Tackling the Paperwork Reduction Act with DOI Generic Information Collection Request 
TBD Date

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 Paperwork Reduction Act - Digital.Gov Resources

Department of Interior (DOI) Generic Information Collection Request (ICR) for Crowdsourcing for Citizen Science

Request for potential projects that want to use DOI Generic ICR

Request for feedback on draft 60 Day Notice

Past Open Innovation Community Meetings

April 17, 2020 - Sophia B Liu

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. 


(Filter by Age Group in Project Finder)

Citizen Science Month April 2020

SciStarter Event Finder

What is Citizen Science?   |   SciStarter Home School

Natural Inquirer Citizen Science Edition (PDF or Order for Paper Copy)
US Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey

5th Annual City Nature Challenge 2020
April 24 - 27, 2020


5th Annual City Nature Challenge encourages participants to safely document wildlife however they can—even from their own home—to ensure public health and foster a much-needed connection with nature and each other. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s City Nature Challenge is no longer a competition. We want to embrace the collaborative aspect of the CNC this year and the healing power of nature to allow people to document their local biodiversity in whatever way they can.

Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Lila Higgins) and California Academy of Sciences (Alison Young). The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

Open Innovation Resources Related to COVID-19 

COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts

USA Citizen Science Association COVID-19

European Citizen Science Association COVID-19

Australian Citizen Science Association COVID-19

OPM's Open Opportunities "COVID-19 Response Program"

NASA @ WORK (Politico Article)

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

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

All Hands on Deck:
Citizen Science and Serious Games Tackle Covid-19

Friday, April 24, 2020 at 11:00 - 12:15 PM EDT

EteRNA Rhiju Das, Ph.D. is a computational biochemist at Stanford University School of Medicine. Eterna couples a 250,000-player video game to the lab’s massively parallel experimental tools and deep learning, the first such platform in citizen science.

Protein-folding Citizen Scientists Tackle Covid-19 with Foldit Firas Khatib, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Computer and Information Science Department at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Firas has been the lead scientist of Foldit, a video game that has allowed hundreds of thousands of players to contribute to biochemical scientific research. The long-term goal of this project is to utilize the combined power of humans and computers in order to build accurate models of disease-related proteins.

Covid Near You - Kara Seawalk is an epidemiologist for Health Map at Boston Children’s Hospital. COVID Near You invites the public to report current symptoms in real time, identified only by ZIP code. Those who take a moment to share their health status on a given day will help the experts track specific locations where COVID-19 is spreading or receding and at what rate.

COVID.SI: Citizen Science Project to Fight Against NCOV-SARS-2 by Distributed Computing - Dr Črtomir Podlipnikis an assistant professor at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The project aims to examine libraries of molecular compounds and help find a cure for coronavirus. You can also help with your computer. With the help of a small program, You will download a subset of compounds on your computer, examine the compounds in the context of the studied target and send the results to a server where they are collected for later analysis.

Safecast and Responding to Covid-19 through Crowdsourced Data Angela Eaton leads Safecast’s air quality and radiation monitoring efforts and supports participatory environmental monitoring throughout the Americas. Currently, she’s working on COVID-19 response through the creation of a crowdsourced testing map and a virus progression diary.

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