Gov 2.0 Roundup: Week of January 28

North Carolina aims to use data to predict health crises, NASA moves NSSC to the cloud, the Secret Service turns to technology to makeover a long-used training tool, suggestions for preserving Gov 2.0 data in the cloud, and the IRS helps you track your refund, all in this week’s version of the Gov 2.0 Roundup.

— Tracking health threats and diseases has long been a process that involves documenting reports from health care professionals; but what if there’s a better way? That’s a question asked by the North Carolina Bio-Preparedness Collaborative. Instead of waiting for reports to be filed, the group hopes to one day predict risks and outbreaks before they have an impact. The team is working to analyze data from past events including ambulance calls, tainted food reports, school attendance records, and even veterinary records. Better still the team is adapting existing cloud computing services to “[bring] down the cost of the project to a fraction of what has been spent on previous similar federal projects.”

— As an agency, NASA has consistently embraced cloud computing, so there’s little surprise that they would be among the first to respond to calls for agencies to cut costs by eliminating data centers over the next 5 years. Using a suite of applications provided by RightNow CX, rather than Nebula the agency’s own cloud infrastructure—NASA has moved their NASA Shared Services Center to the cloud. With an application on the NSSC website, users will be able to find answers online reducing calls to a center that last year received approximately 7,000 calls each month.

— Technology is effective for more than just cutting costs, however—just ask the Secret Service. In the past, when faced with the challenge of training agents for a range of security scenarios, the agency turned to a tabletop model. That’s now changing: the agency is adapting gaming technology and 3-D modeling to make the service more interactive. The Virtual Tiny Town (built on Virtual Battlespace from the US Army) will provide virtual environments with touch-screen interfaces, the ability to change the user’s view of the situation, and even the option to simulate a chemical plume—and development will continue so that other factors can be easily taken into consideration.

— Efforts to embrace Gov 2.0 don’t come without challenges, of course. One of the most common issues is simple: What’s the best way to preserve all of the data? A former senior enterprise architect and data scientist at the EPA, Brand Niemann, offered his suggestions this week. What’s included: suggestions for categorizing information in wikis, properly tagging and categorizing information, and moving employee files to the cloud rather than desktop files.

— On the go and wondering about the status of your tax refund? Get the answer using the IRS’s new IRS2go app. Available for iPhone and Android the app is reflects the IRS’s commitment to engaging taxpayers in new ways. In addition to refund information you can get tax tips, too.

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