USAID plans to up its data game

WHAT: The U.S. Agency for International Development generates a lot of data from assistance programs and GeoCenter, which uses geospatial tools to support development goals. Now USAID, which spends about $30 billion annually, is looking to combine its data with other resources to create an analytics tool that processes big data, mines social media, and visualizes data.

WHY: USAID is looking to data to help staffers make projections, measure the efficacy of its work, design programs, and drive decisions, according to a recent request for information. Right now, "operating units within USAID are sometimes constrained by existing capacity to transform data into insights that could inform development programming," according to contracting documents. USAID is seeking outside help building capacity in data analysis and visualization, researching the application of data to international development, developing new data infrastructure including cloud-based storage, and training USAID to use data more effectively. USAID is especially interested in the international development experience of potential vendors, and their background working abroad in collaboration with local experts.

A clean-up of agency data is also part of the RFI. The agency is looking to develop an enterprise-wide data dictionary, ensure compliance with federal open data policy, publish data in common formats, and scrub existing datasets of any metadata that might contain sensitive or personally identifiable information.

The agency is seeking responses by Feb. 10. Read the full RFI here.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jan 27, 2015 at 7:43 AM


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