National Aeronautics and Space Administration

M-13-13 Milestone 9 - November 30th 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 January 11, 2016, 2:46 pm EST by Justin Grimes

Assessment Summary

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration should be applauded for the increase in their licensing documentation, having 100% valid data.json, and successfully providing a human-readable list of all datasets at [agency].gov/data.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration needs to address the following issues in their Enterprise Data Inventory: * EDI is less than PDL at [agency]/data.json * Fails to document non-public, and restricted public datasets * Fails to provide a public EDI as a dataset in your data.json file. * Fails to make progress adding outstanding non-public, restricted public datasets for more than 1 quarter * Fails to organize data assets in to Collections * Fails to document all non-public and restricted datasets, redactions, restrictive licenses and provides an explanation for non-disclosure (in the rights field).

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration needs to address the following issues in their Data Publication Process re:Privacy and Security: * Fails to provide an up-to-date Data Publication Process on the /digitalstrategy page.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is commended for their NASA Data Portal, a user-friendly site that encourages public engagement on data. The "Suggest a Dataset" site shows excellent responsiveness to public feedback and is highlighted this quarter as a Best Practice.

Inventory Composition

Public Dataset Status

Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone
Inventory Updated this Quarter
31422 Number of Datasets
43 Number of APIs
Schedule Delivered Crawl details
1 Bureaus represented
23 Programs represented
31422 Number of public datasets
Number of restricted public datasets
Number of non-public datasets
Inventory > Public listing
<1% Percentage growth in records since last quarter
170,000 Spot Check - datasets listed by search engine
Agency provides a public Enterprise Data Inventory on
100% License specified Crawl details
Status Indicator Automated Metrics
Overall Progress this Milestone
31422 Number of Datasets Crawl details
Number of Collections Crawl details
31422 Number of Public Datasets with File Downloads Crawl details
43 Number of APIs Crawl details
N/A Total number of access and download links Crawl details
Quality Check: Links are sufficiently working Crawl details
N/A Quality Check: Accessible links Crawl details
N/A Quality Check: Redirected links Crawl details
N/A Quality Check: Error links Crawl details
N/A Quality Check: Broken links Crawl details
<1% Percentage growth in records since last quarter
100% Valid Metadata Crawl details
/data exists Crawl details
/data.json Crawl details
Harvested by
16390 Views on for the quarter

Best Practice: National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been highlighted for demonstrating a best practice on the Public Engagement indicator

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, and the primary uses are incredibly varied, including uses such as application development, training, citizen science, hobbyists, thesis or university research. Users create data visualizations, websites, mobile apps, APIs, hardware projects, and other interactive tools.The International Space Apps Challenge and our new Women in Data Datanaut program are key users of the open data for mission-focused challenges to allow citizens to problem-solve with our data and tools.
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 Open Data team debuted the new website this quarter, with content geared to specific audiences: Developers, Citizen Scientists, Activitists, government officials, and the curious citizen. The website is the front fact to connect our other websites:,, and the new The NASA Data Portal allows users to access NASA datasets, APIs, and find developer resources. NASA also debuted the NASA Datanaut program which will accept classes of 50 citizens every six months to engage with NASA's data through Space Apps-like mission challenges. The International Space Apps Challenge is our most popular citizen data engagement event with nearly 14,000 participants from 133 cities in 62 countries who came together for the 48-72 hour hackathon in April 2015. We're currently in planning stages for Space Apps 2016.
See below User suggestions on improving data usability
Typically feedback is received via the issue tracker for improvements on the APIs and datasets, as well as dataset specific requests on two-way moderated dataset discussion forum. We created 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
NASA created a dataset request mechanism on the newly designed portal. User requests fall into one of several categories: 1) They aren’t sure what datasets exist to fit their needs, 2) They want to modify existing data sets, or 3) They are looking for data that are not currently in the PDL. We actively track suggestions that come out of the requests that fall into the second and third categories. For the second category: Often, users request APIs produced from existing data sets, such as this request for an API based on EPIC Camera Data: For the third category: Users are requesting raw data they cannot find in the PDL because it has not been added or is part of a current experiment, such as this request for Human Performance Data on the ISS. Additionally, suggestions from 14,000 Space Apps participants on the use and usability of NASA data provides an ongoing mechanism on what tools and capabilities we need to wrap around our data to make it as usable and accessible as possible -- which is why we added the Data Portal capabilities for users to create their own APIs from our datasets and custom visualizations -- all from the website.
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%(31422 of 31422)
Valid Schema Valid
Datasets 31422
Number of Collections 0
Datasets with Distribution URLs 100% (31422 of 31422)
Datasets with Download URLs 53.7% (16878 of 31422)
Total Distribution URLs 31684
Total Download URLs 16878
Total APIs 43
Public Datasets 31041
Restricted Public Datasets 381
Non-public Datasets 0
Bureaus Represented 1
Programs Represented 23
License Specified 100% (31422 of 31422)
Datasets with Redactions 0.0% (0 of 31422)
Redactions without explanation (rights field) 0.0% (0 of 31422)
File Size 85.81MB
Last modified Wednesday, 25-Nov-2015 16:04:10 EST
Last crawl Monday, 30-Nov-2015 23:18:48 EST
Analyze archive copies Analyze archive from 2015-11-30
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, 30-Nov-2015 23:12:03 EST
Expected /digitalstrategy.json URL (From Directory)
Resolved /digitalstrategy.json URL
HTTP Status 200
Content Type application/json
Valid JSON Valid
Last modified Monday, 31-Aug-2015 11:20:06 EDT
Last crawl Monday, 30-Nov-2015 23:12:03 EST
Digital Strategy

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

Date of digitalstrategy.json file: Monday, 31-Aug-2015 11:20:06 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.