Live video for "Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management" will appear in this space Thursday, September, 13, 2012 at 11:00am EDT
Senior Spatial Analyst, USAID
Shadrock Roberts is a senior spatial analyst at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) GeoCenter, which is focused on building geographic information systems (GIS) capacity in USAID missions and operating units. Shadrock is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia’s Department of Geography, where he studies the use of geospatial tools and volunteered geographic information for humanitarian response to refugee and internally displaced populations.
Presidential Management Fellow, USAID
Stephanie Grosser is a Presidential Management Fellow at USAID, where she serves as the communications specialist for USAID’s Development Credit Authority. In this space, Stephanie finds creative and innovative ways of telling the story of credit guarantees as a powerful tool to unlock private resources for development. Prior to joining USAID, Stephanie worked on immigration and refugee policy at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society for more than five years. She received a bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University.
D. Ben Swartley
Agriculture and Environment Officer and GIS Analyst in USAID’s GeoCenter
D. Ben Swartley is an Agriculture and Environment Officer and GIS Analyst in USAID’s GeoCenter. Before coming to the Center he was posted in USAID’s Haiti mission and Latin American and Caribbean Bureau. Ben received his M.S. in forestry from Oregon State University and served as a Peace Corps volunteer and environmental coordinator in Cameroon from 1995-1999.
USAID’s Development Credit Authority utilizes risk-sharing tools to encourage private financial institutions to increase financing for creditworthy but underserved borrowers. Geovisualization of these loans will allow donors, host governments, and the public to see where USAID has helped enhance the capacity of the private sector to make loans to new businesses and could act as a gauge for trends or signal areas for synergy.
Until recently, these data could not be mapped due to problematic and non-standard location data for each loan. Under the policy umbrella of the First Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, USAID leveraged federal partners, volunteer technical communities, and the power of crowdsourcing to perform intensive data clean-up and “geo-coding” to understand the geographic distribution of loans and make these data open to the public. Without any additional cost to USAID, data.gov, an online platform for hosting released data, was used for crowd-sourcing for the first time.
This case study details technical and policy implementation challenges and solutions to help other government entities explore how to leverage the power of “the crowd.” This form of engagement is opening government and development to the public in an entirely new way. Interested individuals – from transparency advocates to development students to geography fanatics – virtually sit next to USAID staff as true partners working to solve a complex problem.
How to participate
You can follow the Twitter conversation on the right and watch the live video above. To add your comments or questions, please list them in the comments section below or send a tweet using the #DG2G hashtag.