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App-lifying and Enhancing USGS Earth Science Data Calling all app developers, the USGS wants you

USGS scientists are looking for your help in addressing some of today's most perplexing scientific challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss. To do so requires a partnership between the best and the brightest in Government and the public to guide research and identify solutions.

The vehicle to achieve this is Challenge.gov, the contest platform administered by the General Services Administration. Challenge.gov is aimed at facilitating creative applications for government agencies to address a range of societal issues more effectively.

The USGS is seeking help via this platform from many of the Nation's premier application developers and data visualization specialists in developing new visualizations and applications for datasets.

"The USGS has produced several key biogeography datasets that are integral to understanding the natural world. We need to maximize their impact by combining them with other national datasets. By accessing and visualizing these datasets in new ways, the public can help USGS scientists tackle many of our Nation's scientific challenges," said Kevin Gallagher, USGS Associate Director of Core Science Systems.

"We know there are extremely talented people out there who will be able to devise new ways to expand the reach and/or capabilities of our data," said Cheryl Morris, Director of USGS Core Science Analytics and Synthesis. "We're eager to see what folks come up with."

USGS datasets for the contest consist of a range of earth science data types, including:

  • several million biological occurrence records (terrestrial and marine);
  • thousands of metadata records related to research studies, ecosystems, and species;
  • vegetation and land cover data for the United States, including detailed vegetation maps for the National Parks; and
  • authoritative taxonomic nomenclature for plants and animals of North America and the world.

Collectively, these datasets are key to a better understanding of many scientific challenges we face globally. Identifying new, innovative ways to represent, apply, and make these data available is a high priority.

Submissions will be judged on their relevance to today's scientific challenges, innovative use of the datasets, and overall ease of use of the application. Prizes will be awarded to the best overall app, the best student app, and the people's choice.

Submissions will be accepted from January 9, 2013, to April 1, 2013. Winners will be announced on April 26, 2013 and will be invited to present at the USGS The National Map Users Conference/Community for Data Integration Workshop (May 21-24, 2013, in Denver, Colo.), where their applications will be demonstrated to USGS scientists and program managers.

To learn more, visit:  http://applifyingusgsdata.challenge.gov

The USGS Core Science Analytics and Synthesis program focuses on innovative ways to manage and deliver scientific data and information. The program implements and promotes standards and best practices to enable efficient, data-driven science for decision-making that supports a rapid response to emerging natural resource issues. One of the ways this is accomplished is by developing national data products that increase our understanding of the Earth’s natural systems.

Learn more about the USGS Core Science Analytics and Synthesis programs and activities.


USGS provides science for a changing world. Visit USGS.gov, and follow us on Twitter @USGS and our other social media channels.
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Links and contacts within this release are valid at the time of publication.

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