Tag Archives: Data

Have you backed up your data?

The following is from FEMA. Don’t think for a minute that this is only a business concern. Do you do online banking? Pay bills online? How about e-mailing your attorney? Don’t put yourself at risk – invest in a backup drive and consider an online backup system like Carbonite, as well.

Back It Up

Businesses create and manage a large amount of data and electronic information. Some of that data is essential to daily operations and business survival. Vital information can be lost due to hacking, human error or hardware failure resulting in significant business disruption. Would you know what to do if your information technology stopped working? This is when having a plan for data backup and recovery will come in handy. To develop your data backup plan, you should:

  • Identify what data to backup;
  • Implement hardware and software procedures;
  • Schedule and conduct backups; and
  • Periodically check data to ensure it has been accurately backed up.

Data backup and recovery is an integral part of the business continuity plan for IT disaster preparedness. Data on network servers, wireless devices, laptop and desktop computers should be backed up along with hard copy records and other information. Tapes, cartridges and large capacity USB drives with integrated data backup software are effective means for business backup.

Taking steps to secure your business’ vital information is also a great way to support the America’s PrepareAthon! campaign to increase community resilience in times of disaster.  Follow @PrepareAthon on Twitter for all things disaster preparedness!

 

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Mapping the health effects of climate change

GENEVA — Two U.N. agencies have mapped the intersection of health and climate in an age of global warming, showing that there are spikes in meningitis when dust storms hit and outbreaks of dengue fever when hard rains come.

Officials said Monday that their “Atlas of Health and Climate” is meant to be a tool for leaders to use to get early warning of disease outbreaks.

Though the data or conclusions aren’t necessarily new, the way in which they are presented may sharpen governments’ ability to respond to the threats posed by rising temperatures and changing climate.

Read more here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49602198/ns/world_news-world_environment/#.UJBFHWl27ES

IRIN Africa – DISASTERS: Smart weather data can make a difference

Photo: CIMMYT
Farmers are increasingly uncertain about when to plant

NAIROBI, 15 February 2012 (IRIN) – “When should we plant?” is a question increasingly being asked by small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa who depend on rain-fed agriculture. To help answer such questions, climate scientists are being urged to provide more reliable and relevant local climate data, and better communicate their knowledge on climate adaptation techniques. 

“When we think about preparing for imminent disasters it is not possible to prepare for flooding, for example, just a few days in advance, which we get from the weather forecast. We need to think about preparedness further in advance and think in terms of what kind of decisions we can make, say, three months in advance, such as moving important resources away. We need a continuum of information,” said Simon Mason, the chief climate scientist at Columbia University’s International Research Institute (IRI) in the USA.

According to Mason, more effective short, mid-range and seasonal weather forecasting is needed for the development of useful early warning systems. 

Spatial weather tools, including satellite imagery and weather forecasts, allow the processing of weather data over different space and time frames. By allowing better integration of historical data with real-time weather data, such tools can improve the accuracy and impact of forecasts.

Continue reading here: irinnews.org

How Google Maps is changing the face of data

Already incredibly useful for helping us get directions, find the nearest grocery store and find out our state capital, Google Maps is now becoming the hot way to display enterprise or organizational data that’s associated with particular places. As a data visualization method, the timing of this trend isn’t surprising. The concept of big data has opened organizations’ eyes to the value of their myriad data sources — many of which are tagged with geo-location information — and now is opening up new ways to process and display that data.

IBM’s Jeff Jonas described the importance of geospatial data at our Structure: Data conference in March, calling it “prediction super-food.” You can watch the video below to get the full (and rather entertaining) explanation, but here’s a summation: geospatial, or space-time, data adds context to the information we already have, allowing us to make better decisions. Using a puzzle analogy, lots of data without context is like a pile of puzzle pieces, but lots of data with context is like those same puzzle pieces coming together to complete the picture.

Geospatial adds an incredible amount of context. It allows for complex tasks such as tracking of people as they go about their business to help determine who’s connected to whom, or predicting where someone might go next and what’s the best route to get there. If we’re talking about a spreading disease, Jonas explained, geospatial data helps us determine its vector and velocity.

Read the rest at gigaom.com

Government Information in Peril | American Libraries Magazine

By Bernadine Abbott Hoduski

Fri, 07/29/2011 – 13:16

Librarians need to work now to preserve the GPO Federal Digital System.

Wake up, librarians! No-fee public access to government information is in danger, because on July 22 the U. S. House of Representatives voted 252–159 to drastically cut the Government Printing Office (GPO) appropriations for 2012 and eliminate funding for the GPO Federal Digital System (FDsys). FDsys was created by GPO in 1994 to fulfill the requirement of the 1993 GPO Access Act to provide online electronic government information at no charge to the American people. The cuts are part of H.R. 2551, which provides legislative branch appropriations for 2012.

We are also in danger of losing GPO, the agency charged by Congress for the past 150 years to protect the public’s access to government information, just to save a few bucks. Dismembering or privatizing GPO, as the House proposes, will not save the government any money, but it will damage public access to government information. The bill directs the Government Accountability Office to “review the feasibility of Executive Branch printing being performed by the General Services Administration, the transfer of the Superintendent of Documents program to the Library of Congress, and the privatization of the GPO” (“Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, 2012,” House Report 112–148, July 15). Former Rep. Charlie Rose (D-N.C.), who convinced Congress in 1993 to vote for the GPO Access Act, had asked Congressional Joint Committee on Printing (JCP) staff, including myself, to draft a bill transferring Superintendent of Documents to LC but did not pursue the measure because he realized that the role of a library is very different from the role of a publisher, printer, and distributor.

The House-passed bill cuts funding for the Superintendent of Documents program from nearly $40 million to less than $34 million, making it very difficult for GPO to support the Federal Depository Library Program; the acquisition, cataloging, and dissemination of government documents; the LC International Exchange Program; and mandated distribution of publications to the three branches of government.

Congress is about to break its promise that if libraries and the public give up paper, they will still have permanent no-fee access to electronic government information. The House proposes that GPO fund FDsys by renting GPO’s unused space in its big red brick building to federal agencies. There is no guarantee that even if GPO is able to find renters by October 1 that it will collect enough money to keep FDsys in operation and allow the inclusion of new publications. Members of Congress may think they can turn to LC’s THOMAS database for legislative information, but they probably do not realize that much of THOMAS’s content is provided by GPO.   
    
GPO is the only federal agency required by law to provide publishing and dissemination services to all three branches of government, which makes it possible for GPO to fulfill Title 44 U.S. Code, “Distribution and Sale of Public Documents,” Sec. 1710–11, and “Depository Library Program,” Sec. 1903, which require GPO to identify, catalog, and disseminate government publications to the American people.  Without a centralized source for publishing services, we are in danger of losing access to more and more government documents.

The Cost of Being Female: How Much the Average Woman Spends on a Lifetime of Basic Health Care – Health – GOOD

The Institute of Medicine has named eight preventive services that women should get for free under the new health care law. Exactly how much money are we talking about? GOOD took stock of the money spent by a “typical” American woman whose sexual health and life choices correlated with the national averages. Turns out being a woman is pretty pricey.

Infographic, Healthcare, Female, HIV, HPV, Birth Control, Domestic Abuse, Transparency, Reproductive Health

U.S. to Close 800 Computer Data Centers – NYTimes.com

The federal government plans to shut 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years to reduce its hefty technology budget and modernize the way it uses computers to manage data and provide services to citizens.

Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg News

Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for the government, said cloud computing could save the country billions of dollars.

Computer centers typically do not employ many people to tend the machines, but analysts estimate that tens of thousands of jobs will most likely be eliminated.

The federal government is the largest buyer of information technology in the world, spending about $80 billion a year. The Obama administration, in plans detailed Wednesday, is taking aim at some of that by closing 800 of its sprawling collection of 2,000 data centers. The savings, analysts say, will translate into billions of dollars a year and acres of freed-up real estate.

The government is following the lead of private business. For years, companies have been using software that shares computing tasks across several machines in a data center. The task-juggling technology enables computers to run at far higher levels of efficiency and utilization than in the past, doing more computing chores with fewer computers and fewer data centers.

In an interview, Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for the federal government, explained that the data center consolidation was part of a broader strategy to embrace more efficient, Internet-era computing. In particular, the government is shifting to cloud computing, in which users use online applications like e-mail remotely, over the Internet. These cloud services can be provided by the government to many agencies or by outside technology companies.

Tapping cloud computing services, Mr. Kundra said, could save the government an additional $5 billion a year, reducing the need for individual government agencies to buy their own software and hardware.

Continues here: nytimes.com

U.S. to Close 800 Computer Data Centers – NYTimes.com

The federal government plans to shut 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years to reduce its hefty technology budget and modernize the way it uses computers to manage data and provide services to citizens.

Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg News

Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for the government, said cloud computing could save the country billions of dollars.

Computer centers typically do not employ many people to tend the machines, but analysts estimate that tens of thousands of jobs will most likely be eliminated.

The federal government is the largest buyer of information technology in the world, spending about $80 billion a year. The Obama administration, in plans detailed Wednesday, is taking aim at some of that by closing 800 of its sprawling collection of 2,000 data centers. The savings, analysts say, will translate into billions of dollars a year and acres of freed-up real estate.

The government is following the lead of private business. For years, companies have been using software that shares computing tasks across several machines in a data center. The task-juggling technology enables computers to run at far higher levels of efficiency and utilization than in the past, doing more computing chores with fewer computers and fewer data centers.

In an interview, Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for the federal government, explained that the data center consolidation was part of a broader strategy to embrace more efficient, Internet-era computing. In particular, the government is shifting to cloud computing, in which users use online applications like e-mail remotely, over the Internet. These cloud services can be provided by the government to many agencies or by outside technology companies.

Tapping cloud computing services, Mr. Kundra said, could save the government an additional $5 billion a year, reducing the need for individual government agencies to buy their own software and hardware.

Continues here: nytimes.com

Kenya Launches Africa’s First National Open Data Initiative

kodi_schools.png

The Data

The data is being made available via the Socrata platform. Socrata calls the Kenyan initiative, “one of the most comprehensive open data projects anywhere in the world” and writes that its goal is “to create enabling infrastructure that can accelerate human and economic development throughout communities in Kenya.”

Data has been pulled from national census, the ministry of education, ministry of health, CDF projects, the World Bank and other sources, according to White African and Socrata. The data is organized under six types: education, energy, health, water and sanitation, population and poverty.

Paul Kukubo, CEO of Kenya’s ICT, the state corporation in charge of the development and marketing of the information, communications and technology sector in the country, outlined the hopes for the program in greater detail.

“For the first time ever, people in our communities will be empowered to choose the best schools for their children, locate the nearest health facility that meets their needs, and use regional statistics to lobby their constituency representative for better infrastructure and services in their county. The research community, on the other hand, can use this consolidated resource of valuable new data to discover practical insights that can guide economic and human development in Kenya. For example: What effect does access to drinking water have on school attendance in children? What is the correlation between access to healthcare and school grades? Where does it make sense to build the next hospital? School? Irrigation project? All Kenyans can now participate in finding solutions to these crucially important questions.”

kodi_energy.png

Data-Inspired Projects

The Ministry of Information and Communications is awarding grants to support the development of native and mobile apps that use the data, through iHub, a Kenyan tech hub and community of 4,250 geeks.

Ushahidi, notorious for not sitting on their hands when there are data to crush, have already created a health-based project. They have taken the census data and overlaid it with healthcare institution data on their Huduma site. “It’s still very beta, but it shows what can be done in just a few days.”

Other projects include the Msema Kweli mobile app, “that allows you to find CDF projects near you, and for you to add pictures of them” and an app by Virtual Kenya “that shows which MPs refuse to pay taxes.”

Almost 30% of Kenyans have Internet access and just over 63% have mobile access.

Nairobi photo by Brian Snelson | thanks to Rassina

Kenya Launches Africa’s First National Open Data Initiative

kodi_schools.png

The Data

The data is being made available via the Socrata platform. Socrata calls the Kenyan initiative, “one of the most comprehensive open data projects anywhere in the world” and writes that its goal is “to create enabling infrastructure that can accelerate human and economic development throughout communities in Kenya.”

Data has been pulled from national census, the ministry of education, ministry of health, CDF projects, the World Bank and other sources, according to White African and Socrata. The data is organized under six types: education, energy, health, water and sanitation, population and poverty.

Paul Kukubo, CEO of Kenya’s ICT, the state corporation in charge of the development and marketing of the information, communications and technology sector in the country, outlined the hopes for the program in greater detail.

“For the first time ever, people in our communities will be empowered to choose the best schools for their children, locate the nearest health facility that meets their needs, and use regional statistics to lobby their constituency representative for better infrastructure and services in their county. The research community, on the other hand, can use this consolidated resource of valuable new data to discover practical insights that can guide economic and human development in Kenya. For example: What effect does access to drinking water have on school attendance in children? What is the correlation between access to healthcare and school grades? Where does it make sense to build the next hospital? School? Irrigation project? All Kenyans can now participate in finding solutions to these crucially important questions.”

kodi_energy.png

Data-Inspired Projects

The Ministry of Information and Communications is awarding grants to support the development of native and mobile apps that use the data, through iHub, a Kenyan tech hub and community of 4,250 geeks.

Ushahidi, notorious for not sitting on their hands when there are data to crush, have already created a health-based project. They have taken the census data and overlaid it with healthcare institution data on their Huduma site. “It’s still very beta, but it shows what can be done in just a few days.”

Other projects include the Msema Kweli mobile app, “that allows you to find CDF projects near you, and for you to add pictures of them” and an app by Virtual Kenya “that shows which MPs refuse to pay taxes.”

Almost 30% of Kenyans have Internet access and just over 63% have mobile access.

Nairobi photo by Brian Snelson | thanks to Rassina