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Appendix 3. GSA's Strategic Action Plan for Transparency

Overview of the GSA Data and Information Transparency Process

Data.gov is the central portal where agencies post high-value, machine-readable data sets for the public and private sector to view or download. We are committed to transparency and have formulated an internal process to publish suitable data sets on Data.gov. Our services and staff offices are reviewing their data sets, identifying those that are candidates for publishing to Data.gov and processing those that meet the suitability review processes. Services and staff offices are responsible for ensuring that their data sets are made available in machine readable, independent formats.

As the collection point for Federal information, GSA maintains websites that provide governmentwide information to the public. These sites are being analyzed to identify how their underlying data can be made more transparent.

We use a citizen-engagement tool to gain feedback from users to validate the status of current data and to prioritize data that need to be added and enhanced. Based on public feedback, we recently identified data on Federal vehicles, buildings and other assets, which we are publishing on Data.gov.

GSA Data Set Inventory and Process to Select and Publish Data Sets to Data.gov

We are using our IT governance groups to formally identify data sets. Under the GSA IT Executive Committee, the Enterprise Applications and Services Committee and the Data Management Task Force have assumed responsibilities to identify and inventory agency applications and their data sets. The enterprise committee is responsible for an agency inventory of all applications and is overseeing services and staff offices as it conducts an analysis of each application to determine if there's an associated data set that should be released. The task force and groups such as the Federal Acquisition Service data quality team are reviewing information generated or maintained across the agency to identify additional data sets, including the data that may be the underlying basis for textual reports posted online. The initial reviews were completed in fiscal year 2010, but data sets will continue to be published.

GSA is using internal review processes to track data sets being considered for publication on Data.gov. The GSA Data Set Pipeline keeps track of information about data sets as they are identified by our services and staff offices, and tracks the status of the data set reviews. While the Office of the Chief Information Officer maintains the GSA Data Set Pipeline data at a publishing milestone level, each service and major staff office has an internal discovery-and-review process for its data sets.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • GSA’s services and staff offices are responsible for determining which data sets and tools are suitable for publishing on Data.gov. The service or staff office retains the right and responsibility for managing its data and providing adequate technical documentation, to include version control and archiving.
  • The services and staff office data steward ensures the data set complies with information and data quality guidelines. The steward makes the initial assessment of data set appropriateness for publication on Data.gov. The data steward maintains metadata about the data sets.
  • The services and staff office ensures the data sets proposed for publication meet legal, security, accessibility, privacy and confidentiality requirements.
  • The services and staff office and the GSA Office of the Chief Information Officer ensure authoritative data sets are in platform independent and machine readable formats.
  • The Office of the Chief Information Officer maintains tracking and status information about our data sets submitted to and published to Data.gov. The OCIO also monitors the services and staff offices internal processes to assure all appropriate data sets are published on Data.gov.
  • The GSA Data Management Task Force assists the Office of the Chief Information Officer in tracking and keeping information current and accurate. It provides information to the OCIO regarding internal office processes to identify, review and propose data sets for publication to Data.gov.
  • The Data.gov point of contact is an Office of the Chief Information Officer staffer who maintains metadata about data sets and tools in the GSA Data Set Pipeline for publication to Data.gov and for the data sets and tools already published to Data.gov.

Data.gov Submission Process

  • The GSA Data.gov submission process for candidate data sets to be published on Data.gov has seven core processes and three subprocesses that result from alternative decision paths.
  • The Data.gov submission process scope is initiated by a request for a data set for publication and ends with the publication of the data set on Data.gov or, alternatively, a determination that GSA is not the authoritative source or that the data set is not suitable for publication.
  • The GSA Data.gov submission process begins when a customer requests publication of a data set. A customer can be internal or external to GSA. If the request is from a government agency, the Data.gov Program Management Office forwards the request to the GSA Data.gov contact person. That person determines if GSA is the authoritative source for the requested data set. If it is, then the contact person identifies the appropriate data steward and forwards the request.
  • The data steward determines if the data set is suitable for publication. Suitability is based on conformance to GSA information and data quality guidelines, as well as our Data.gov checklist. If the data set is deemed suitable, the data steward obtains approval of the services and staff office using its internal review process and completes the metadata template.
  • The data steward conducts an impact assessment on the data set request package to test compliance with privacy, Freedom of Information Act, legal and security considerations. Upon a successful impact assessment, the data set proposal is forwarded to the GSA Data.gov contact person.
  • The Data.gov contact person reviews the submitted data set package and, if complete, forwards it to the Data.gov Program Management Office for publication to the Data.gov website. Upon publication, the core process is completed.
  • An alternative data set request submission process is engaged under three conditions. Each could occur in a decision not to publish the requested data set to Data.gov.
    • Condition 1. If the data set request does not pass initial screening and filtering requirements, the request is rejected, and the data set is not published.
    • Condition 2. If the data set request is valid and passes initial screening, but the Data.gov point of contact determines that GSA is not the authoritative source for the data set, the request is forwarded to the Data.gov Program Management Office to identify the correct authoritative source.
    • Condition 3. If the data set request is valid and GSA is the authoritative source, but the data steward deems the data set not suitable based on the information and data quality guidelines and/or impact assessment, the request is rejected and the data set is not published.

Federal Acquisition Service Data Set Inventory Process

The FAS data quality team was formed in January 2010 with the executive sponsorship of the FAS Chief Information Officer and business line representatives. The Chief Information Officer identified respective data stewards and corresponding data owners from business line representatives and assigned the FAS enterprise architect to lead the effort. The team is charged with identifying and reviewing all potential FAS data sets that would be publishable and is tasked with identifying the due diligence to ensure data quality. Specific activities in support of open government include:

  • Analyzing all FAS applications that create data and identify publishable data sets produced by the execution of core mission activities.
  • Analyzing recurring Freedom of Information Act requests with the intent of publishing applicable data sets to Data.gov and maintaining currency.
  • Tracking and documenting cycle times to publish data sets to create a quantitative prediction model for data publication.
  • Establishing a FAS hosting site and the ancillary support infrastructure to facilitate the ongoing publication of data.

As of February 2012, FAS had published 23 data sets on Data.gov. The FAS data set pipeline includes publishable data sets produced by 77 FAS applications in the execution of the core mission, recurring Freedom of Information Act data sets and balanced score card reporting.

Additional sources are being investigated and data set identification requested. The table below lists the applications being actively reviewed for publishable data sets.

FAS Applications with Inventory of Data Sets

Application Name In Pipeline or Published Data Set
Network Services Ordering and Billing System Application with publishable information being considered for Pipeline Networx transition and billing data set
Offer Registration System Application with publishable information being considered for Pipeline Vendor offer(s) data set
GSA Advantage (National Stock Number) Published on Data.gov National Stock Number Extract List
GSA Advantage! Schedules E-Library System Published on Data.gov Complete GSA Advantage Vendor listing
GSA e-Buy Published on Data.gov Partial RFQ and Award data set
Federal Supply Service-19 Application with publishable information being considered for Pipeline Multiple data elements which are subsets of other data sets
Federal Disposal System
(GSAXcess, Computerized Facility Integration LLC, Agency Asset Management System)
Application on website with publishable information being considered for Pipeline Excess Personal Property data set
Federal Asset Sales Portal (GovSales.gov) Application on website with publishable information being considered for Pipeline Sales volume numbers
Customer Analysis and Research Tool Publishable information being identified and reviewed for Pipeline Multiple data elements which are subsets of other data sets
Customer Supply Center Publishable information being identified and reviewed for Pipeline CSC transactions data set
E-Gov Travel Published on Data.gov for Pipeline Agency travel data
Electronic Centralized Acquisition Tool Publishable information being identified and reviewed for Pipeline Acquisition instructional letters and policies
eMod Publishable information being identified and reviewed for Pipeline MAS Mods
eOffer Publishable information being identified and reviewed for Pipeline MAS offers
eSign Publishable information being identified and reviewed for Pipeline Electronic signature applications and data

Public Buildings Service Data Set Inventory Process

  • Review the PBS application inventory, consisting of 49 national applications.
  • As of February 2012, PBS had published 14 data sets on Data.gov.
  • As of June 2010, identified 27 of the 49 applications as having potential high-value data sets for publication on Data.gov.
  • Work with the PBS Freedom of Information Act Office to obtain a listing of the recent types of requests, to assist in prioritizing the type of data sets that businesses and the public are requesting or interested in.
  • Identified three websites available to the public from GSA.gov and that contain information suitable for publishing on Data.gov.
  • Actively reviewing seven applications and the associated websites for data sets to be published on Data.gov. The review process consists of the following steps:
    • Identification of data fields to be included in the data set, along with a data dictionary for each data set.
    • Submission of a proposed data set to legal counsel for review, comment and final determination as to what may be released; this may require follow-up meetings for clarification purposes.
    • Finalization of data set and data dictionary by the applicable system owner or business line.
    • Completion of final checklist and metadata sheet for the data set to be submitted to the GSA Data.gov point of contact for processing and submission to Data.gov.
    • Submission of checklist, metadata sheet, data set and data dictionary to GSA Data.gov contact person for final review and publication on Data.gov.
  • One data set (PBS Information Portal Recovery Act data) has been posted on Data.gov.
  • Additional data sets followed at a rate of four per quarter through Dec. 31, 2010.

The following table lists the Public Buildings Service's 27 applications identified with data sets that may be publishable, including three websites. These are in the Public Buildings Service Data Set Pipeline.

PBS Applications with Inventory of Data Sets

Application Name In Pipeline or Published Data Set
Asset Business Plan Application with publishable information for Pipeline GSA owned and leased buildings' physical information
Building Preservation Plan Published on Data.gov Historic building information
Capital Projects Application Published on Data.gov Project-related financial information for budget activities 51, 55 and 64
Electronic Program Management Application with publishable information for Pipeline Capital and small construction project information
Environmental Risk Index Published on Data.gov Environmental safety and health information
Electronic Spatial Management and Report Tool Application with publishable information for Pipeline Building spatial data and information
Energy Usage Acquisition System Application with publishable information for Pipeline Government owned and leased buildings energy usage information
Fine Arts Conservation Tools - Fine Arts Publishable information being identified and reviewed Fine arts collection information
Inventory Reporting Information System Published on Data.gov Building repair, alteration, and new construction project information
Natural Gas Acquisition Program Published on Data.gov Natural gas supply chain information for Government owned and leased buildings
Physical Condition Survey Publishable information being identified and reviewed for Pipeline Property condition assessment information
Project Information Portal Published on Data.gov PBS prospectus project information
Resource Center Application on website with publishable information that is being identified and reviewed for Pipeline Federally owned property sale information
Real Estate Disposal Inventory Network Publishable information being identified and reviewed Federally owned property sale information
Reimbursable Work Authorization and Tracking Application Application with publishable information Reimbursable work authorization information
Real Estate Across the U.S. Future application with publishable information to serve as a replacement for the System for Tracking and Administering Real Property (see below) See System for Tracking and Administering Real Property below
System for Tracking and Administering Real Property Application with publishable information for Pipeline Real property management information, including inventory, building, customer and billing data. To be replace by Real Estate Across the U.S. System above.
The Automated Prospectus System Application with publishable information for Pipeline Real estate project information including alternatives and housing plans
Civic Square Application on website with publishable information that is being identified and reviewed for Pipeline Good neighbor program project information
Electronic Transaction Management Playbook Application with publishable information for Pipeline Transaction management playbook information used to improve customer service
Appraisal Data System Application with publishable information for Pipeline Annual rent appraisal information
Rent Estimate Application with publishable information for Pipeline Rent projection information
Rent on the Web Application with publishable information for Pipeline Client agency rent information
eLease Application with publishable information for Pipeline Leasing activity information
Galaxy Application with publishable information for Pipeline Rental of Space program budget information
Inventory of Owned and Leased Properties Published on Data.gov GSA properties' expiring lease/occupancy information

GSA Data Set Pipeline

The GSA Data Set Pipeline tracks, by services and staff office, applications and data sets, and published reports with underlying publishable data sets, identified as appropriate for publication on Data.gov. The table that follows does not reflect the data sets in the services and staff offices for internal review for publication to Data.gov.

GSA Applications and Data Sets Inventory and Pipeline Status Summary

Office Name   Number of Applications with Identified Data Sets   Information online
that may have
underlying data
publishable to
Data.gov
  Data Sets Submitted to Data.gov  
    Applications Data Sets Inventoried   Reports Other   Raw Data Tools  
Chief Acquisition Officer

 

11

3

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Chief Financial Officer

 

29

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Chief People Officer

 

3

1

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Chief Information Officer

 

13

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Federal Acquisition Service

 

77

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Office of Civil Rights

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Office of Citizen Services
and Communications

 

1

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Office of Emergency Response
and Recovery

 

1

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Office of General Counsel

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Office of Government-wide Policy

 

11

1

 

0

0

 

0

1

 

Office of Performance Improvement

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Office of the Inspector General

 

1

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Office of Small Business Utilization

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

Public Buildings Service

 

49

27

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

196

32

 

0

0

 

0

1

 

 

GSA Data Set Categories

GSA categorizes its data sets into our primary business domains. The six GSA business domains are:

  1. Government Business Services. The government business services domain encompasses the core business functions of the Federal Acquisition Service and the Public Buildings Service – functions that are central to GSA’s core mission. Our government business services are supported by the acquisition value stream. The Federal Acquisition Service supports an acquisition value stream for personal property assets, typically classified as goods and services; while the Public Building Service supports an acquisition value stream that focuses on workspace (real property) and related assets. The business services domain’s segments are:
    • Acquisition:
      • Fleet management (vehicle leasing and acquisition),
      • Travel management and relocation services,
      • Federal assets sales,
      • Assisted acquisition services—non-buildings (internal and external), and
      • Supply chain management
    • Workspace:
      • Space acquisition, and
      • Public facilities management; and
    • Policy:
      • Acquisition policy and technical infrastructure.
  2. Citizen Services. The citizen services business domain consolidates all of GSA’s citizen-centered activities into a single organization, providing the American public access to information and services. It also helps government agencies procure contact centers, assists with consumer outreach and publications, facilitates a variety of Web services, and promotes intergovernmental collaboration and innovation. Citizen Services’ domain segments are:
    • Citizen access,
    • Citizen service, and
    • Public outreach.
  3. Financial Management. The financial management domain focuses on maintaining the critical government role of ensuring compliance with financial management regulations and policies, effective internal financial controls, financial data integrity, integration of financial data with mission-critical programs, and security and protection of Federal assets and data.
  4. Human Resources. The human resources business domain encompasses a wide range of activities, including staff acquisition, organization and position management; compensation and benefits management; performance management; and employee and labor relations.
  5. Information Technology. The information technology business domain provides IT services and solutions to GSA employees. Among the services are enterprisewide information technology infrastructure services, including desktop support and a wide area network; information technology portfolio management; information technology capital planning and investment control; information technology security programs and security management; enterprise architecture linking business needs to GSA’s information technology systems and services; and integration of e-gov and lines of business initiatives with the president’s programs.
  6. Policy. GSA’s policy domain manages governmentwide policies to guide and direct Federal agencies to use the most cost-effective and efficient management practices in the administration of their programs. Policymaking responsibilities cover personal and real property, travel and transportation, information technology, regulatory information and use of Federal advisory committees.

GSA Data Sources

Data Underlying Public Reports

GSA services and staff offices have started examining reports on Web pages, with the intent of identifying the underlying data. In some cases, finding and publishing underlying data will be a straightforward process. In other cases, the identification and extraction process will be complex and may incur significant costs. The process may be more complex because data have been extracted from multiple sources for public reports, and developing a periodic and ongoing data extraction and compilation into raw data sets may require extensive effort.

Data Published on GSA Public Web Sites

GSA publishes extensive data on various Internet sites. To ease the public burden of having to search multiple sites, we are inventorying our data available electronically and will publish raw data and tools from its existing sites on Data.gov.

Freedom of Information Act

The Federal Acquisition Service and the Public Buildings Service are each examining their Freedom of Information Act requests to determine what requests are being repeated and what types of requests for publishable data their offices are receiving. For multiple requests for publishable data, the services and staff offices will design ways to periodically publish data sets that contain releasable data or information.

GSA Applications Published to Data.gov

GSA had published 25 applications to Data.gov as of February 2012. The published applications are available on Data.gov at GSA Applications.

GSA Data Sets Published to Data.gov

GSA had published 100 data sets to Data.gov as of February 2012. The published data sets are available on Data.gov at GSA Data Sets.

High-Value Information

Services and staff offices are evaluating the data sets according to several factors, including relationship to the GSA mission, correlation to our strategic goals and objectives, type and frequency of Freedom of Information requests, and Data.gov and Open Government Directive public queries. They are also assessing potential value to users who may be able to combine the data with other information to create added value. Our offices are reviewing applications and the associated websites for additional data sets to be published on Data.gov.

Audience Identification and Outreach

We will continue to use Data.gov to obtain feedback to validate the status of current data sets and tools, and to provide prioritization for additions and enhancements. Our key audiences largely are in the Federal Government, but state, local and tribal governments are also audiences, as are businesses and the public. The general audience categories are listed below.

  • Entrepreneurs using data sets to create new products, new businesses, and create jobs;
  • Vendors wanting to do business with the government;
  • Vendors already on GSA schedules;
  • Contracting officers who buy for government agencies;
  • Emergency service providers;
  • The military at home and on the battlefield;
  • Government employees for travel, per diem and education services;
  • Commercial realty offices for buying, selling, constructing and leasing buildings for the government;
  • State and local governments for buying from the GSA schedules and for surplus materials and property;
  • The public seeking information about the government;
  • The public interested in buying government surplus materials and property; and
  • Academics doing research about the government.

Joint Data

In some cases, we share data publication with other Federal agencies. For example, while GSA has a large portion of the Federal fleet, agencies annually report motor vehicle fleet data using the Federal Automotive Statistical Tool, a Web-based reporting tool cosponsored by GSA and the Department of Energy. To view the tool, go to https://fastweb.inl.gov/.

Going Forward

Our transparency processes and practices will continue forward. GSA commits to publishing as much high-value data and information as possible. As we have seen in the past, the innovative public is using this open data to create new products and applications that may not have been created without this free data being made available via the Internet. We will continue to reach out to the users for their ideas on new datasets that can be used to create products, small business, and ultimately, new jobs and markets.


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