The Forest Service is good at data collection.  I mean, as an agency, the amount of information that the FS gathers, stores, and maintains is astounding.

However, the FS is not so good at implementing innovative and interactive methods that respond quickly and nimbly to information consumption desires of the public.

That situation results in tons of data sitting around, and folks who really want to see it having to dig extensively for it.

Well, the FS is not designed to be a leader in mobile apps, social media, or other technological capabilities.  So why not let others do it?  Other groups and individuals are really good at making the 'consumption' parts of the equation, so why don't we just focus on serving data?  By making our data easily available in appropriate formats and then facilitating or encouraging others to develop applications using those data, we can make gov a platform - rather than trying to be a technologocal application development center as well.

I've read a few gov2.0 articles around the web, and i've heard this "Gov as a Platform" stuff before (go ahead - google it!) but it didn't make sense for me until i saw this:

http://headwaterseconomics.org/interactive/national-forests-timber-...

The folks at Headwaters Economics took the Forest Service's Cut and Sold reports and made them into an interactive tool.  Take a look and see for yourself. 

I was hovering over different units, and looking at the charts for each one.  And i thought "wow.  this works.  gov is the platform.  someone else is developing the application."  and i got it.

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Comment by John Gallo on March 8, 2012 at 11:37pm

nice one!  good to see it in action.  Just the other day I was reading an excerpt from the OReilly book about Government 2.0:  

Similarly, Government 2.0 is not a new kind of government; it is government stripped down to its core, rediscovered and reimagined as if for the first time.

And in that reimagining, this is the idea that becomes clear: government is, at bottom, a mechanism for collective action. We band together, make laws, pay taxes, and build the institutions of government to manage problems that are too large for us individually and whose solution is in our common interest.

Government 2.0, then, is the use of technology—especially the collaborative technologies at the heart of Web 2.0—to better solve collective problems at a city, state, national, and international level. 

http://ofps.oreilly.com/titles/9780596804350/defining_government_2_... 

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