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Digital Strategy

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On May 23, 2012, President Obama issued a directive entitled “Building a 21st Century Digital Government”. It launched a comprehensive Digital Government Strategy aimed at delivering better digital services to the American people. This website, will be updated over the next year to track progress in implementing the strategy. EPA recently provided an update to meeting ongoing Digital Government milestones which are available at, download the update to those one-year milestones.

On May 9, 2013, the Administration issued Executive Order 13542 and associated Open Data Policy (M-13-13) that continues promoting the adoption of Open Data practices by agencies with their first set of milestones due by November 30, 2013. As its response, EPA is submitting the following Open Data Implementation Plan and will provide periodic updates at this site as described in the plan.

Strategy Milestones

# Milestone Actions Timeframe (months)
1 3 6 12

Part A: Information Centric

1. Make Open Data, Content, and Web APIs the New Default
1.2 Ensure all new IT systems follow the open data, content, and web API policy and operationalize agency.gov/developer pages. [Within 6 months of release of open data policy/ May 9, 2013]       x
1.2.0 Overall status: In Progress Nov 9, 2013
1.2.1 Paragraph on policy:
  1.2.2 EPA provides developer assistance tools, tips and current news at: http://m.epa.gov/index.html. Additionally, EPA provides a range of tools and registry content (eg, Reusable Component Services, Environmental Dataset Gateway, and Data Element Registry) through its System of Registries located at: www.epa.gov/sor.
2. Make Existing High-Value Data and Content Available through Web APIs
2.1 Engage with customers to identify at least two existing major customer-facing services that contain high-value data or content as first-move candidates to make compliant with new open data, content, and web API policy.   x    
2.1.0 Overall status: Completed Due: August 23, 2012
2.1.1 Paragraph on customer engagement approach:

EPA is encouraging engagement with external parties regarding its data holdings through several forums. The Data and Developer Forum encourages the public and developers to tell EPA what data assets they want. In addition, the Developer Central encourages feedback from developers about how they can use EPA’s APIs to make apps. During the Apps for the Environment Challenge, the public submitted over 100 ideas for apps. EPA will encourage people to tell us which apps they want most. For each idea, EPA will identify the associated EPA data assets so developers can more easily convert the ideas into apps. Finally, EPA is using agency blog, It’s Our Environment, to encourage feedback about the Digital Government Strategy and EPA’s data holdings. We will review this feedback to identify data needs on an ongoing basis.

2.1.2 EPA has ongoing engagement with external parties regarding its data holdings and has taken many steps to enable improved access to data assets that are requested most frequently.  In responding to the milestones of the Digital Government Strategy, the Agency is drawing attention to the points of entry where the public is invited to share ideas and pose requests on an ongoing basis. These include the Data and Developer Forum and Developer Central. The Data and Developer Forum encourages the public and developers to tell EPA what data assets they want. Developer Central encourages feedback from developers about how they can use EPA’s APIs to make apps. In addition, EPA has encouraged people to provide feedback about data on EPA’s blog, It’s Our Environment.

Through these sources and in monitoring the frequency of external access to existing data assets, EPA has identified a select number of candidate systems that it will consider further enabling either with APIs or increased optimization to support mobile access.


2.2 Make high-value data and content in at least two existing major customer-facing systems available through web APIs, apply metadata tagging and publish a plan to transition additional high-value systems. [Within 6 months of release of open data policy].       x
2.2.0 Overall status: In Progress Due: May 23, 2013

2.2.1 Report on systems: (datasets) (Name, Description, Scope, Customers, API Link, Compliance Summary)

System Name: Envirofacts
System Description: Envirofacts provides access to several EPA databases that provide information about environmental activities that may affect air, water, and land. While an API exists for all of the public data sources in Envirofacts, there is a need to develop dedicated APIs and Web services that combine specific data for the user. EPA is evaluating the creation of a dedicated API to support access to drinking water monitoring information from the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) based on a high rate of access from external users in its current form.
System Scope: external
Estimated availability: (05/23/13)


System Name: Regulations.gov
System Description: Regulations.gov is the federal-wide online public docket and comment system that provides public access to and the ability to comment on Federal agency rulemakings. An API is currently available that allows government and non government sites to more efficiently and accurately repackage and incorporate regulatory data and services from regulations.gov into their sites.  This API is located at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!developers.
System Scope: both
Availabile: (08/30/12)

System Name: Regulations.gov
System Description: The eRulemaking program has also created a “Write” API that would provide  advocacy organizations the ability to feed mass comment submissions into the system, giving partner agencies the ability to accept bulk comments into eRulemaking’s repository more easily. This tool was created in March of 2013, but it requires individual agencies to implement.  Some agencies are currently working toward integrating this ability with their current comment review processes, but none have made it available for their proposed rules as of May 23, 2013. 
System Scope: both
Estimated availability: (09/30/13)

2.2.2 Plan on future activity (link)

Part B: Shared Platform

4. Establish Intra-Agency Governance to Improve Delivery of Digital Services
4.2 Establish an agency-wide governance structure for developing and delivering digital services. [Within 3 months of release of governance guidance].     x  
4.2.0 Overall status: In Progress Due: August 9, 2013
4.2.1 USEPA governance document

4.2.2 List of goals, measures, and target completion dates

  • (1.2) Ensure all new IT systems follow the open data, content, and web API policy and operationalize agency.gov/developer pages
    • Due: May 2013                  Status: In Progress
  • (2.1) Engage with customers to identify at least two existing major customer-facing services that contain high-value data or content as first-move candidates to make compliant with new open data, content, and web API policy
    • Due: August 2012             Status: Complete
  • (2.2) Make high-value data and content in at least two existing major customer-facing systems available through web APIs, apply metadata tagging and publish a plan to transition additional high-value systems
    • Due: May 2013                  Status: In Progress
  • (4.2) Establish an agency-wide governance structure for developing and delivering digital services
    • Due: November 2012     Status: Complete
  • (5.2) Develop an enterprise-wide inventory of mobile devices and wireless service contracts
    • Due: November 2012     Status: Current and on-going
  • (5.3) Evaluate the government-wide contract vehicles in the alternatives analysis for all new mobile-related procurements
    • Due: May 2013                  Status: In Progress
  • (6.3) Ensure all new digital services follow digital services and customer experience improvement guidelines
    • Due: May 2013                  Status: In Progress
  • (7.1) Engage with customers to identify at least two existing priority customer-facing services to optimize for mobile use
    • Due: August 2012             Status: Complete
  • (7.2) Optimize at least two existing priority customer-facing services for mobile use and publish a plan for improving additional existing services
    • Due: May 2013                  Status: Complete
  • (8.2) Implement performance and customer satisfaction measuring tools on all .gov websites
    • Due: January 2013           Status: Complete

 

4.2.3 Checklist of agency-wide policies and standards established

In September of 2012, EPA updated its suite of System Life Cycle Management (SLCM) policies.

    • System Life Cycle Management (SLCM) Policy (CIO 2121.1): The purpose of System Life Cycle Management (SLCM) policy is to establish a consistent framework across the Agency to ensure that EPA IT systems and applications are properly planned and managed, controllable, cost-effective and that they support the Agency’s mission and business goals. This policy and its supporting documents provide EPA Offices with direction for tailoring and implementing SLCM requirements to develop and manage effective and efficient IT solutions.
    • System Life Cycle Management (SLCM) Procedure (CIO 2121-P-03.0): The procedure defines the requirements and processes for implementation of EPA’s SLCM Policy. The SLCM Procedure establishes EPA’s (Agency) approach and practices in the pre-definition, definition, acquisition/development, implementation, operations and maintenance, and termination of EPA information technology (IT) systems and applications.
    • System Life Cycle Management (SLCM) Requirements Guidance (CIO 2121-G-01.0): The guidance defines documents that can be used by Project Managers and System Managers when they follow the SLCM Policy and the SLCM Procedure. The documents defined within the guidance are used in various phases of the SLCM procedure. These definitions will enable System Managers and Project Managers to use the most applicable documents for their system development and system operations efforts.
    • Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (CIO 2130.0): The guidance defines standards for Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) in the agency to be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d). Section 508 mandates the development, procurement, maintenance and use of EIT that is accessible to people with disabilities.
    • National Geospatial Data Policy (CIO 2131.0): This policy establishes principles, responsibilities, and requirements for collecting and managing geospatial data used by Federal environmental programs and projects within the jurisdiction of EPA. The Policy also establishes the requirement of collecting and managing geospatial metadata describing the Agency’s geospatial assets to underscore EPA’s commitment to data sharing, promoting secondary data use, and supporting the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).
    • Data Standards Policy (CIO 2133.0): This policy establishes principles, responsibilities, and requirements for the development, maintenance, and implementation of data standards within the jurisdiction EPA. The policy supports the Agency’s Enterprise Architecture and Quality System for Environmental Data and Technology by underscoring EPA’s commitment to improve data quality and promote data interoperability, exchanges, sharing and the ability to effectively use the data in situations other than originally intended.
    • Data Related Registries: The System of Registries (SoR) is a resource for environmental system developers and enterprise architects. It provides environmental program managers and users of environmental information with automated services to enable better understanding of environmental terminology and data used by the Agency.
    • Web Governance and Management Policy (CIO 2180.0): This policy establishes that EPA will operate and maintain a public access Web site to assist in fulfilling the Agency’s mission - to protect the environment and public health – with the goal of a web site design and implementation that best facilitates the free flow of communications and information.
    • Social Media Policy (CIO 2184.0): This policy establishes the principles for the use of social media at EPA. For purposes of this policy, “social media” is a term for a wide-spectrum of user-driven content technologies.

 

5. Shift to an Enterprise-Wide Asset Management and Procurement Model
5.2 Develop an enterprise-wide inventory of mobile devices and wireless service contracts.     x  
Overall status: In Progress  
5.3 Evaluate the government-wide contract vehicles in the alternatives analysis for all new mobile-related procurements.       x
Overall status:  

Part C: Customer-Centric

6. Deliver Better Digital Services Using Modern Tools and Technologies
6.3 Ensure all new digital services follow digital services and customer experience improvement guidelines. [Within 6 months of release of improvement guidance]       x
Overall status: In Progress  
7. Improve Priority Customer Facing Services for Mobile Use
7.1 Engage with customers to identify at least two existing priority customer-facing services to optimize for mobile use.   x    

Overall status: In Progress


 
7.2 Optimize at least two existing priority customer-facing services for mobile use and publish a plan for improving additional existing services. [Within 6 months of release of digital services improvement guidance]       x

Overall status: In Progress

System Name: How’s My Waterway
System Description: The direct local access by mobile geolocation, simplicity, and plain English tone of the “How’s My Waterway?” application aims to remove complexity barriers and better inform more people on how water issues affect them locally, thereby improving their awareness and support of efforts to protect and restore the nation’s waters under the Clean Water Act.
System Scope: external
Status: completed (10/18/12)


System Name: EPA.gov
System Description: EPA is replacing the limited mobile access currently available for home page content with a more fully featured page using responsive design. We are continuing to work on components of our EPA.gov site including deployment of several responsive sites included below. We will continue to convert popularly requested content in our new Drupal templates as part of our optimization efforts.

http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa
http://www2.epa.gov/learn-issues
http://www2.epa.gov/science-and-technology
http://www2.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/

System Scope: both
Status: In progress


System Name: FRS Mobile Facility Data Collection
System Description: EPA will release a prototype application for field inspectors and emergency response personnel, which retrieves facility data and displays it with aerial photography and GIS base mapping, and which allows updates to be captured in the field via GPS and submitted back to EPA via Exchange Network web services. FRS tools are available at: http://www.epa.gov/enviro/html/fii/RESTServices.htm
System Scope: external
Available: (02/15/13)
May 23, 2013

7.2.2 The Digital Government Strategy repeated many of the same data access objectives as those expressed in the Open Government Directive. EPA addressed provided a plan for evaluating increased access to existing information assets in response to the Open Government Directive in its Strategic Data Action Plan (SDAP). The SDAP is available at: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/epa_sdap_v1.0.pdf.

Many agencies consulted this product in developing their approach to increased data access and EPA intends to update this plan based on requirements from OMB’s recently released Open Data Policy.
Status: On-going

 
8. Measure Performance and Customer Satisfaction to Improve Service Delivery
8.2 Implement performance and customer satisfaction measuring tools on all .gov websites. [Within 3 months of release of tools and guidance]     x  
Overall status: In Progress  

8.2.1. Implement performance measurement tool

Implemented the Analytics Tool Provided by GSA: Alternative Implementation
Describe Implementation: In order to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of EPA’s performance metrics, EPA is working with GSA to implement a custom modification to EPA’s existing Google Analytics implementation.  This modification will allow GSA to leverage the methodology used at EPA by sending a copy of all EPA performance metrics to a duplicate account maintained by GSA.  EPA will work with GSA to ensure that the proper configurations are maintained in both accounts.
The GSA tracking code does not include cross-domain tracking for sub- and alternate-domains, which is necessary in order to collect accurate visit-based metrics for websites that have more than one domain and/or sub-domains, as EPA does.  For example, if a visitor to www.epa.gov clicks on a link to www.water.epa.gov or www.urbanwaters.gov, our custom implementation allows that the session, or Visit, to continue, and visit-based metrics are not adversely affected.  The GSA code considers sub- and alternate-domains to be separate websites, which would skew all visit-based metrics, including Bounce Rate, Visits, Visit Duration, Pages per Visit, etc, for the EPA website.  For example, if someone visited www.epa.gov and immediately clicked on a link to www.water.epa.gov, the GSA code would record a Bounce (a Visit that includes only one Pageview) and a Visit of only a few seconds, when the Visit should actually include all EPA pages, regardless of the domain.

Percent of Websites Covered: 88%

Target Date for 100% Completion: FY2013, Q3

8.2.2. Implement customer satisfaction tool
Describe Implementation: EPA has implemented the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ForeSee survey tool to measure customer satisfaction on its public websites.   The Agency uses ACSI results to identify which elements have the greatest influence on satisfaction and future customer behavior.  Annual and quarterly reports are published by Foresee as "Satisfaction Indexes."

URL of Performance Data: http://www.foresee.com/research-white-papers/research-by-industry.shtml#government

 


Join the Conversation

Open Data Policy on our blog
November 26, 2013

Senior Contact:
Andrew Battin, Director
Office of Information Collection
Office of Environmental Information (OEI)


Policies and Procedures

 

Related Activities and Documents

EPA Mobile Apps

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