NOAA Moves to Unleash “Big Data”…

NOAA Moves to Unleash “Big Data” and Calls Upon American Companies to Help by Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator.

RFI: Deadline March 24, 2014.

From the post:

From the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), part of the Department of Commerce, works to keep citizens informed about the changing environment around them. Our vast network of radars, satellites, buoys, ships, aircraft, tide gauges, and supercomputers keeps tabs on the condition of our planet’s health and provides critical data that are used to predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coastlines. As we continue to witness changes on this dynamic planet we call home, the demand for NOAA’s data is only increasing.

Quite simply, NOAA is the quintessential big data agency. Each day, NOAA collects, analyzes, and generates over 20 terabytes of data – twice the amount of data than what is in the United States Library of Congress’ entire printed collection. However, only a small percentage is easily accessible to the public.

NOAA is not the only Commerce agency with a treasure trove of valuable information. The economic and demographic statistics from the Census Bureau, for example, inform business decisions every day. According to a 2013 McKinsey Global Institute Report, open data could add more than $3 trillion in total value annually to the education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, health care, and consumer finance sectors worldwide. That is why U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has made unleashing the power of Commerce data one of the top priorities of the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.”

All of that to lead up to:

That’s why we have released a Request for Information (RFI) to help us explore the feasibility of this concept and the range of possibilities to accomplish our goal. At no cost to taxpayers, this RFI calls upon the talents of America’s best minds to help us find the data and IT delivery solutions they need and should have.

This was released on February 21, 2014, so at best, potential responders had a maximum of thirty-two (32) days to respond to an RFI which describes the need and data sets in the broadest possible terms.

The “…no cost to taxpayers…” is particularly ironic, since anyone re-marketing the data to the public isn’t going to do so for free. Some public projects may but not the commercial vendors.

A better strategy would be for NOAA to release 10% of each distinct data set collected over the past two years at a cloud download location along with its documentation. Indicate how much data exists for each data set, the project, contact details.

Let real users and commercial vendors rummage through the 10% data to see what is of interest, how it can be processed, etc.

If NOAA wants real innovation, stop trying to manage it.

Managed innovation gets you Booz Allen type results. Is that what you want?

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