National Aeronautics and Space Administration

M-13-13 Milestone 8 - August 31st 2015

OMB Review Complete: OMB has completed the agency review for this milestone. Agencies should contact their OMB desk officer if anything looks incorrect.

Leading Indicators

These indicators are reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget

Review Status complete
Reviewer Rebecca Williams
Last Updated October 6, 2015, 3:33 pm EDT by Rebecca Williams

Assessment Summary

NASA should be commended for their 88% growth of their PDL, their iterative public feedback engagement conducted through, and identifying 5 dataset improvements this quarter.

Action Items: 1. Provide a Public EDI dataset per the IDC requirement. 2. NASA only includes Public Domain/licensing information for 67% of their datasets, which is the same percentage as last quarter. To ensure the legal reuse of federal open data is conspicuous DOT must prioritize including an explanation for all datasets that do not include a Public Domain URL. 3. NASA must continue to expand the quality of their EDI/PDL metadata to include: well documented APIs, Collections, Data Dictionaries, relevant Data Standards, and keywords.

Public Dataset Status

Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone
Inventory Updated this Quarter
Number of Datasets
4 Number of APIs
Schedule Delivered Crawl details
1 Bureaus represented
20 Programs represented
Number of public datasets
Number of restricted public datasets
Number of non-public datasets
Inventory > Public listing
Percentage growth in records since last quarter
216,000 Spot Check - datasets listed by search engine
Agency provides a public Enterprise Data Inventory on
67.0% License specified Crawl details
Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone
31382 Number of Datasets Crawl details
Number of Collections Crawl details
16878 Number of Public Datasets with File Downloads Crawl details
4 Number of APIs Crawl details
31644 Total number of access and download links Crawl details
Quality Check: Links are sufficiently working Crawl details
Quality Check: Accessible links Crawl details
Quality Check: Redirected links Crawl details
Quality Check: Error links Crawl details
Quality Check: Broken links Crawl details
+88% Percentage growth in records since last quarter
31382 Valid Metadata Crawl details
/data exists Crawl details
/data.json Crawl details
Harvested by
5580 Views on for the quarter
Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone
Description of feedback mechanism delivered Crawl details
Data release is prioritized through public engagement
Feedback loop is closed, 2 way communication
See below Link to or description of Feedback Mechanism
Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone
Data Publication Process Delivered Crawl details
Information that should not to be made public is documented with agency's OGC
Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone Open Data Primary Point of Contact
POCs identified for required responsibilities
Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone
Identified 5 data improvements for this quarter
See below Primary Uses
NASA’s available open data is exceptionally diverse; therefore the primary uses are incredibly varied. The agency’s data has been used to create data visualizations, websites, mobile apps, APIs, hardware projects, and other interactive tools as well as to conduct critical academic research. It is used for NASA's Prizes and Challenges Programs and events such as International Space Apps Challenge and Innovation Pavilion as well as by other agency challenges like the UN Climate Challenge. Educators and individual citizens also have a wide spectrum of interest in using NASA data. We frequently hear from users who created products from our data that they would like NASA to purchase or manage on their behalf. Though this is rarely an option for us to accept an unsolicited program or project from a citizen, we added a new feature to the redesigned site where we can feature their innovation story and thank them for the creative uses of NASA data.
Value or impact of data
See below Primary data discovery channels
Primary channels for key users to learn about open data resources include NASA websites, challenge communication plans and event resources, Agency press releases, and informally via the developer and data science communities. The Technology and Innovation division manages the Data Portal ( where anyone can access NASA datasets, APIs, and find developer resources, and request data sets. NASA sponsors numerous external events where public users can learn about and work hands on with NASA data. NASA continues to expand opportunities for the public to interact and engage with its missions and initiatives. One of the most successful events for the Technology and Innovation Division is the International Space Apps Challenge. Space Apps is an international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world. The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space. The 2015 event included 13,758 participants across 133 cities in 62 countries who were able to produce 949 solutions from NASA's open data. As a result of this year's success, the Space Apps Challenge model expanded to include a NASA Space Apps Intern Challenge and a Space Apps Next Gen event, which focuses on high school student participation. Because of user feedback on NASA data and tools, we continue to upgrade and improve our data, such as the redesign of the portal, the addition of the new website, new code-sharing capabilities, and the redesigned website which features data stories about users who innovate using NASA data and innovative solutions created by users during Space Apps and other NASA challenges using NASA data and tools. Through these new vehicles, we can highlight the good work citizens create with NASA's open data.
See below User suggestions on improving data usability
User feedback is the basis of many new programs, processes, and tools.Users asked data collected in one place, which we've provided through the updated portal, which features easy to create APIs and visualizations around the datasets. Users asked for help accelerating their data projects at the local level; therefore, we created the Space Apps Project Accelerator toolkit to offer local Space Apps hosts a vehicle to accelerate promising projects created with NASA data and tools during the Space Apps Challenge process. Users asked for more frequent challenge and data engagement opportunities to engage with NASA data; therefore, we added the new Datanaut program to provide monthly data challenges, learn-to-code and orbital dynamics tracks to allow users to advance their code skills and create shared, authenticated orrery and trajectory code, and toolkits for host user data dinner clubs and maker events coordinated around NASA data and tools in their local communities. We continue to make progress in these areas, we created and continue to add APIs to improve data discoverability/usability in order to address the suggestions from users to include improving the accessibility and usability of provided data, including improvements in metadata and machine readability of unstructured data, as well as continuing to map the huge and ever-growing expanse of NASA data to help people understand available resources. Finally, we added a developer toolkit to the new data portal.
See below User suggestions on additional data releases
Suggestions from key users on additional agency data resources to release include data on the New Horizons mission, updated data on spacewalks, carbon dioxide data, landsat data for specific areas, and additional data on astronomical phenomena visible from Earth throughout history. We've worked with the NASA mission data owners to collect and inventory the requested data sets as part of our Public Data list.
Digital Analytics Program on /data

Automated Metrics

These metrics are generated by an automated analysis that runs every 24 hours until the end of the quarter at which point they become a historical snapshot

Expected Data.json URL (From Directory)
Resolved Data.json URL
Number of Redirects 2 redirects
HTTP Status 200
Content Type application/json
Valid JSON Valid
Datasets with Valid Metadata 100%(31382 of 31382)
Valid Schema Valid
Datasets 31382
Datasets with Distribution URLs 100% (31382 of 31382)
Datasets with Download URLs 53.8% (16878 of 31382)
Total Distribution URLs 31644
Total Download URLs 16878
Total APIs 4
Public Datasets 31001
Restricted Public Datasets 381
Non-public Datasets 0
Bureaus Represented 1
Programs Represented 21
License Specified 67.0% (21021 of 31382)
Datasets with Redactions 0.0% (0 of 31382)
Redactions without explanation (rights field) 0.0% (0 of 31382)
File Size 86.40MB
Last modified Tuesday, 25-Aug-2015 15:22:08 EDT
Last crawl Monday, 31-Aug-2015 00:12:00 EDT
Analyze archive copies Analyze archive from 2015-08-31
Nearby Daily Crawls
/data page
Expected /data URL (From Directory)
Resolved /data URL
Redirects 1 redirects
HTTP Status 200
Content Type text/html
Last modified Wednesday, 04-Dec-2013 15:10:07 EST
Last crawl Monday, 31-Aug-2015 00:03:53 EDT
Expected /digitalstrategy.json URL (From Directory)
Resolved /digitalstrategy.json URL
HTTP Status 200
Content Type application/json
Valid JSON Valid
Last modified Friday, 29-May-2015 10:02:31 EDT
Last crawl Monday, 31-Aug-2015 00:03:53 EDT
Digital Strategy

Date specified: Tuesday, 28-Feb-2017 10:30:31 EST

Date of digitalstrategy.json file: Friday, 29-May-2015 10:02:31 EDT

1.2.4 Develop Data Inventory Schedule - Summary

Summarize the Inventory Schedule

NASA was founded on the principles of transparency and openness via the 1958 Space Act with requires NASA to “provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning the activities and the results thereof.” NASA datasets are available across a variety of Agency websites and portals for use by the public. We are committed to making our data as accessible as possible, and are working with our Mission Directorates to systematically identify, collect, and format existing data that is routinely made available through open sources, most often mission program websites. 

The 2014 inventory has grown extensively. Updates included 1000 new datasets in Earth Sciences, 51 new datasets in Space Science, 50 new datasets in Space Technology, 375 new datasets in Human Spaceflight, and 55 new datasets in Aeronautics.

1.2.5 Develop Data Inventory Schedule - Milestones

TitlePublication of updated PDL
DescriptionThis major effort consists of mapping currently known datasets to the Project Open Data Schema and ensuring publication into PDL JSON format for harvesting into
Milestone Datemonthly
Description of how this milestone expands the InventoryNASA is using the Project Open Data metadata schema to build the Public Data Lists and the Enterprise Data Inventory., We are continually adding datasets owned by NASA's Mission Directorates and other functional offices. We are developing an agency-level NASA Information Architecture Management (NIAM) process to help us share and reuse the data across the agency, and allow our researchers to more easily identify common research datasets across agencies. The information architecture is one of our Open Government Plan flagship initiatives. We are making significant progress with common metadata, contract language, and search capacity. As we mature this process, identification of datasets will be more streamlined so that we can add new agency data to our inventory
Description of how this milestone enriches the InventoryThe data from each Mission Directorate is unique; therefore, expanding the inventory greatly. NASA currently has over 3000 datasets within the catalog and will continue to expand this through collaboration with the Mission Directorates and through our customer engagement methods such as challenges and prizes competitions. NASA has enriched the data by applying categories as seen on The categories include Aeronautics, Earth Science, Climate, Engineering, Institutional, Life Science, Operations, and Space Science. These categories were identified by the NASA Open Innovation Team based on NASA mission data most frequently accessed via the program websites or customer-facing programs.
Description of how this milestone opens the InventoryEach monthly milestone adds new datasets to open the inventory. The NASA Open Innovation Team collaborates with the data owners to make the datasets available in machine-readable format for ease of use by our customers and the public. As an engineering and science agency, NASA has protocols to ensure sensitive data, such as ITAR-related or privacy data is secured. NASA has always and will continue to proactively release our non-sensitive scientific data for the benefit of the general public. This not only increases the level of transparency and accountability, but also improves the timely sharing of the data for better science and technology. One of the examples of NASA’s commitment to proactively disclose information is our Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Program. The STI program is a critical component in the worldwide activity of scientific and technical aerospace research and development. This program houses over 4 million documents. Yes, we have our work cut out to convert these documents into machine-readable format – with no additional funded authorized by Congress to make this happen. NASA places a high priority on protecting all our sensitive unclassified information (SBU) created, collected, maintained, and managed on behalf of NASA. Among the various categories of SBU, privacy information (identifiable form, personally identifiable information, and information subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, are among the most sensitive, requiring multiple levels of protection and compliance with federal standards and laws. Meeting these requirements ensures that NASA complies with all related federal laws and standards, and ensures NASA and the federal government retain the public trust. All system, application, and information owners must fully comply with NASA Privacy Policy and Procedures, and all employees are required to maintain a state of awareness and training that ensures we are able to appropriately protect such information. NASA’s Privacy Page provides greater detail The Open Innovation team defers to the strictly-defined processes within each mission program and organization to ensure the data can be made available to the public. Once NASA data is deemed open by the technical experts through their processes and the agency privacy review process, the Open Innovation team converts it to machine-readable format for inclusion in the data inventory.

1.2.6 Develop Customer Feedback Process

Describe the agency's process to engage with customers

NASA employs several mechanisms to engage our customers, increase transparency and solicit the public's input and feedback;
(1) digital engagement The agency's data portal features a customer data suggestion engine ( which allows NASA to
solicit desired datasets from citizens.  Citizens can inquire about and suggest datasets important to them and their work
GitHub: NASA maintains a large Organization on whereby all of the NASA open source project issue trackers are actively monitored by software developers engaged with the community The NASA Open blog conveys important work within the agency's Open Innovation program and allows citizens to engage in dialog around topics using comments/discussion  - NASA's newly released API portal directly supports digital engagement by both conveying how to leverage NASA Open APIs as well as how citizen developers can contribute to the ever-expanding APIs available.
(2) stakeholder outreach (International Space Apps Challenge, Open Innovation Pavilion, NASA Tournament Lab, social media).
NASA's multifaceted customer engagement strategy enables us to understand the problems our data end users face and utilize that information to prioritize data set releases. NASA will continue to embark on ambitious citizen engagement through crowdsourcing, citizen science initiatives and our challenge portfolio throughout the fiscal year to infuse innovation, ensure we are providing valuable data to the public, as well as, spur new ways to do business in the federal government.

1.2.7 Develop Data Publication Process

Describe the agency's data publication process

NASA takes seriously its responsibility to increase public access to our scientific, research and program data while observing precautions related to privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions to release permitted by law.

Identify: The NASA Open Innovation Team continues to collaborate with the agency Mission Directorates to identify, collect, and format existing terabytes of data that are routinely made available through open sources, most often mission program websites. Captured data has already been technically reviewed at the program level. 
Review: The data is reviewed in standard processes in terms of all privacy, confidentiality, security, and other legal requirements. Office of the General Counsel consults as needed where there are questions about recommendations. 
Publish: Data available on the mission websites is converted to machine-readable format using the Open Data standards, published on to allow CRUD operations on identified data sets for our agency public data list, and subsequently harvested by the process for publication. Other data release channels include mission program and project websites, journals, and presentations at meetings and workshops. 

Concerning restricted data: NASA data restricted under ITAR (International Trade in Arms Regulations), EAR (Export Administration Regulations), SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research), trade secret/commercial confidential or subject to Section 303(b) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act is considered to be SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified) and shall be marked with the appropriate notice (ITAR, EAR, SBIR, etc.) in all appropriate locations. Release or distribution of the same information by NASA contractors is subject to the same notice.