A grassroots approach to online agency org charts

Crowdsourced wikis on the Web are the latest method for keeping federal agency and contractor organizational charts up to date with the help of users—albeit not perfectly.

Departmental and agency organizational charts are typically available on department and agency websites, and accessible through the USA.gov Web portal. They also are published on the Web by various organizations, blogs and groups.

But as a rule, the organization charts are difficult to assemble and maintain up to date. With tens of thousands of executives and frequent moves, many have incomplete information or are outdated.

The chart information can be valuable--especially to job seekers, vendors and others doing business with the government, and especially if the chart offers details such as full name, title and chain of command. Private sector companies, including Deltek Input Inc. and Carroll Publishing, assemble and sell organizational information for a price.

But now some of the organizational information is available for free on the Web. A host of crowdsourcing wiki sites have sprung up that allow users to view the charts, and in many cases to add, arrange and remove names on charts. The wikis are published on the Web with free, or almost free, access to the public. With the charts available for public display on the Web and hundreds of users contributing, the information is assumed to be the latest available.

Here are several crowdsourcing sites offering federal organizational charts:

  • Wikiorgcharts.com allows users to register for free viewing of organizational charts for a comprehensive list of dozens of federal agencies.
  • Netage.com also offers dozens of federal agency organizational charts for free viewing.
  • Cogmap.com also is a wiki crowdsourcing website offering organizational charts for U.S. government agencies.
  • TheOfficialBoard.com is a website offering access to organizational charts for 20,000 large global companies. Users receive free access initially, but must provide data to the charts to continue receiving free access.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 Farhan Memon Norwalk, CT

Thanks for covering WikiOrgCharts. There a couple of distinctions that I would draw between what we do and what the other sites that you mention. First and foremost is quality of data. Our information comes directly from the federal government and is accurate as to employee name, agency, and position. We rely on the crowd to create linkages between individuals so as to display hierarchy. Second, WikiOrgCharts uses standard web technologies to display its org charts. A site like org scope requires users to download and install a proprietary plugin. Third, we believe that in order to be successful an org chart wiki needs to have an intuitive design. That's why we've looked to successful consumer genealogy sites like MyHeritage ad Geni for best practices. Last but not least it's important to mention that some of the sites listed are defunct or barely functioning and this affects the quality of data.

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