While improving the management of data across agencies is an ongoing challenge for Federal agencies, leveraging geospatial data as a strategic asset is turning into an area of opportunity for the Departments of Energy and Transportation (DoT), officials from both agencies said on Dec. 17.

Speaking at an event organized by the AFCEA Bethesda Chapter, both Pamela Isom, Deputy CIO for Architecture, Engineering, Technology, and Innovation at the Department of Energy, and Daniel Morgan, Chief Data Officer at DoT, explained how their agencies are using geospatial data help drive decision-making.

“The way that we are accelerating the use of information, and the use of data, is because we’re paying attention to the geospatial elements,” Isom said. She added that geospatial data gives “additional insights into what’s happening within [an] environment.”

Leveraging geospatial data, Isom said, will help the Energy Department drive better adoption capabilities. She said the agency has created an Innovation Exchange so it not only can share innovations across the department and across Federal agencies, but also can categorize innovations and make that  information available.

Isom and Morgan agreed that managing data relies to a large extent on the people who are charged with carrying out the necessary organizational and management tasks, as well as those who the data impacts.

“What I have to do is believe these folks, organize them to give them the tools and techniques to be successful in managing their own data, and stewarding the data for their own program for the rest of the folks in the agency and other Federal agencies – and for the good of the public and the economy,” Morgan said about his responsibilities.

How does industry and academia play a role in data management? Isom and Morgan offered that industry provides an assist in helping agencies in how they make decisions. Both industry and academia also think differently than Federal agencies, and can provide different perspectives to data management, the officials said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.