Case studies & examples

Articles, use cases, and proof points describing projects undertaken by data managers and data practitioners across the federal government

Agencies Mobilize to Improve Emergency Response in Puerto Rico through Better Data

Federal agencies' response efforts to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico was hampered by imperfect address data for the island. In the aftermath, emergency responders gathered together to enhance the utility of Puerto Rico address data and share best practices for using what information is currently available.

Source

Federal Data Strategy

Keywords

geospatial

BUILDER: A Science-Based Approach to Infrastructure Management

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) adopted a data-driven, risk-informed strategy to better assess risks, prioritize investments, and cost effectively modernize its aging nuclear infrastructure. NNSA’s new strategy, and lessons learned during its implementation, will help inform other federal data practitioners’ efforts to maintain facility-level information while enabling accurate and timely enterprise-wide infrastructure analysis.

Source

Department of Energy

Keywords

data management, data analysis, process redesign, Federal Data Strategy

Business case for open data

Six reasons why making your agency's data open and accessible is a good business decision.

Source

data.gov

Keywords

open data

Data Standdown: Interrupting process to fix information

Although not a true pause in operations, ONR’s data standdown made data quality and data consolidation the top priority for the entire organization. It aimed to establish an automated and repeatable solution to enable a more holistic view of ONR investments and activities, and to increase transparency and effectiveness throughout its mission support functions. In addition, it demonstrated that getting top-level buy-in from management to prioritize data can truly advance a more data-driven culture.

Source

Office of Naval Research

Keywords

data governance, data cleaning, process redesign, Federal Data Strategy

Data.gov Metadata Management Services Product-Preliminary Plan

Status summary and preliminary business plan for a potential metadata management product under development by the Data.gov Program Management Office

Source

data.gov

Keywords

data management, Federal Data Strategy, metadata, open data

Format

PDF (7 pages)

Department of Transportation Case Study: Enterprise Data Inventory

In response to the Open Government Directive, DOT developed a strategic action plan to inventory and release high-value information through the Data.gov portal. The Department sustained efforts in building its data inventory, responding to the President’s memorandum on regulatory compliance with a comprehensive plan that was recognized as a model for other agencies to follow.

Source

Department of Transportation

Keywords

data inventory, open data

Department of Transportation Model Data Inventory Approach

This document from the Department of Transportation provides a model plan for conducting data inventory efforts required under OMB Memorandum M-13-13.

Source

Department of Transportation

Keywords

data inventory

Format

PDF (5 pages)

FEMA Case Study: Disaster Assistance Program Coordination

In 2008, the Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP), an E-Government initiative led by FEMA with support from 16 U.S. Government partners, launched DisasterAssistance.gov to simplify the process for disaster survivors to identify and apply for disaster assistance. DAIP utilized existing partner technologies and implemented a services oriented architecture (SOA) that integrated the content management system and rules engine supporting Department of Labor’s Benefits.gov applications with FEMA’s Individual Assistance Center application. The FEMA SOA serves as the backbone for data sharing interfaces with three of DAIP’s federal partners and transfers application data to reduce duplicate data entry by disaster survivors.

Source

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Keywords

data sharing

FederalRegister.gov API Case Study

This case study describes the tenets behind an API that provides access to all data found on FederalRegister.gov, including all Federal Register documents from 1994 to the present.

Source

National Archives and Records Administration

Keywords

API

Format

PDF (3 pages)

Government Data Hubs

A list of Federal agency open data hubs, including USDA, HHS, NASA, and many others.

Source

data.gov

Keywords

open data

Helping Baltimore Volunteers Find Where to Help

Bloomberg Government analysts put together a prototype through the Census Bureau’s Opportunity Project to better assess where volunteers should direct litter-clearing efforts. Using Census Bureau and Forest Service information, the team brought a data-driven approach to their work. Their experience reveals how individuals with data expertise can identify a real-world problem that data can help solve, navigate across agencies to find and obtain the most useful data, and work within resource constraints to provide a tool to help address the problem.

Source

Census Bureau

Keywords

geospatial, data sharing, Federal Data Strategy

How USDA Linked Federal and Commercial Data to Shed Light on the Nutritional Value of Retail Food Sales

Purchase-to-Plate Crosswalk (PPC) links the more than 359,000 food products in a comercial company database to several thousand foods in a series of USDA nutrition databases. By linking existing data resources, USDA was able to enrich and expand the analysis capabilities of both datasets. Since there were no common identifiers between the two data structures, the team used probabilistic and semantic methods to reduce the manual effort required to link the data.

Source

Department of Agriculture

Keywords

data sharing, process redesign, Federal Data Strategy

How to Blend Your Data: BEA and BLS Harness Big Data to Gain New Insights about Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.

A recent collaboration between the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) helps shed light on the segment of the American workforce employed by foreign multinational companies. This case study shows the opportunities of cross-agency data collaboration, as well as some of the challenges of using big data and administrative data in the federal government.

Source

Bureau of Economic Analysis / Bureau of Labor Statistics

Keywords

data sharing, workforce development, process redesign, Federal Data Strategy

Improving Data Access and Data Management: Artificial Intelligence-Generated Metadata Tags at NASA

NASA’s data scientists and research content managers recently built an automated tagging system using machine learning and natural language processing. This system serves as an example of how other agencies can use their own unstructured data to improve information accessibility and promote data reuse.

Source

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Keywords

metadata, data management, data sharing, process redesign, Federal Data Strategy

Investing in Learning with the Data Stewardship Tactical Working Group at DHS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) experience forming the Data Stewardship Tactical Working Group (DSTWG) provides meaningful insights for those who want to address data-related challenges collaboratively and successfully in their own agencies.

Source

Department of Homeland Security

Keywords

data governance, data management, Federal Data Strategy

Leveraging AI for Business Process Automation at NIH

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), one of the twenty-seven institutes and centers at the NIH, recently deployed Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) to automate the process by which it receives and internally refers grant applications. This new approach ensures efficient and consistent grant application referral, and liberates Program Managers from the labor-intensive and monotonous referral process.

Source

National Institutes of Health

Keywords

standards, data cleaning, process redesign, AI

Format

FDS Proof Point

National Broadband Map: A Case Study on Open Innovation for National Policy

The National Broadband Map is a tool that provide consumers nationwide reliable information on broadband internet connections. This case study describes how crowd-sourcing, open source software, and public engagement informs the development of a tool that promotes government transparency.

Source

Federal Communications Commission

Keywords

open data

National Renewable Energy Laboratory API Case Study

This case study describes the launch of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Developer Network in October 2011. The main goal was to build an overarching platform to make it easier for the public to use NREL APIs and for NREL to produce APIs.

Source

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Keywords

API

Open Energy Data at DOE

This case study details the development of the renewable energy applications built on the Open Energy Information (OpenEI) platform, sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) and implemented by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Source

Department of Energy

Keywords

open data, data sharing, Federal Data Strategy

Pairing Government Data with Private-Sector Ingenuity to Take on Unwanted Calls

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) releases data from millions of consumer complaints about unwanted calls to help fuel a myriad of private-sector solutions to tackle the problem. The FTC’s work serves as an example of how agencies can work with the private sector to encourage the innovative use of government data toward solutions that benefit the public.

Source

Federal Trade Commission

Keywords

data cleaning, Federal Data Strategy, open data, data sharing

SBA’s Approach to Identifying Data, Using a Learning Agenda, and Leveraging Partnerships to Build its Evidence Base

Through its Enterprise Learning Agenda, Small Business Administration’s (SBA) staff identify essential research questions, a plan to answer them, and how data held outside the agency can help provide further insights. Other agencies can learn from the innovative ways SBA identifies data to answer agency strategic questions and adopt those aspects that work for their own needs.

Source

Small Business Administration

Keywords

process redesign, Federal Data Strategy

Supercharging Data through Validation as a Service

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service restructured its approach to data validation at the state level using an open-source, API-based validation service managed at the federal level.

Source

Department of Agriculture

Keywords

data cleaning, data validation, API, data sharing, process redesign, Federal Data Strategy

The Census Bureau Uses Its Own Data to Increase Response Rates, Helps Communities and Other Stakeholders Do the Same

The Census Bureau team produced a new interactive mapping tool in early 2018 called the Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM), an application that resulted in wider use of authoritative Census Bureau data, not only to improve the Census Bureau’s own operational efficiency, but also for use by tribal, state, and local governments, national and local partners, and other community groups. Other agency data practitioners can learn from the Census Bureau team’s experience communicating technical needs to non-technical executives, building analysis tools with widely-used software, and integrating efforts with stakeholders and users.

The Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool harnessed the power of millions of data records while protecting the privacy of individuals, creating an easy-to-use tool to better understand health disparities.

Source

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Keywords

geospatial, Federal Data Strategy, open data

The Veterans Legacy Memorial

The Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) is a digital platform to help families, survivors, and fellow veterans to take a leading role in honoring their beloved veteran. Built on millions of existing National Cemetery Administration (NCA) records in a 25-year-old database, VLM is a powerful example of an agency harnessing the potential of a legacy system to provide a modernized service that better serves the public.

Source

Veterans Administration

Keywords

data sharing, data visualization, Federal Data Strategy

Transitioning to a Data Driven Culture at CMS

This case study describes how CMS announced the creation of the Office of Information Products and Data Analytics (OIPDA) to take the lead in making data use and dissemination a core function of the agency.

Source

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Keywords

data management, data sharing, data analysis, data analytics

Format

PDF (10 pages)

U.S. Department of Labor Case Study: Software Development Kits

The U.S. Department of Labor sought to go beyond merely making data available to developers and take ease of use of the data to the next level by giving developers tools that would make using DOL’s data easier. DOL created software development kits (SDKs), which are downloadable code packages that developers can drop into their apps, making access to DOL’s data easy for even the most novice developer. These SDKs have even been published as open source projects with the aim of speeding up their conversion to SDKs that will eventually support all federal APIs.

Source

Department of Labor

Keywords

open data, API

U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Census Bureau collaborate on national roads and boundaries data

It is a well-kept secret that the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau were the original two federal agencies to build the first national digital database of roads and boundaries in the United States. The agencies joined forces to develop homegrown computer software and state of the art technologies to convert existing USGS topographic maps of the nation to the points, lines, and polygons that fueled early GIS. Today, the USGS and Census Bureau have a longstanding goal to leverage and use roads and authoritative boundary datasets.

USA.gov Uses Human-Centered Design to Roll Out AI Chatbot

To improve customer service and give better answers to users of the USA.gov website, the Technology Transformation and Services team at General Services Administration (GSA) created a chatbot using artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

Source

General Services Administration

Keywords

AI, Federal Data Strategy