00:01Only the hardiest of conference goers would be here on a Friday, right?
00:06And with me lining up or ending up, you're even hardier and have more perseverance than perhaps I.
00:12But it's been a fantastic...fantastic conference.
00:15I was able to attend a good portion on Wednesday and have just gotten wonderful feedback over the last couple of days...
00:21...and I appreciate Jack and the Esri team giving me an opportunity to talk about what the Department of Agriculture is up.
00:28We've had a long and storied history in geospatial and GIS capabilities, delivering very cutting-edge products...
00:35...very timely products to a very wide mission set, so I'm excited to talk to you a little bit today about...
00:41...who the Department of Agriculture is, what we do, some of those products....
00:46...but then really talk about what I think is exciting, and it's been a current and under theme...a theme...
00:51...an undercurrent that we've been talking about.
00:53It's...it's the concept of a national platform that is going to take the great and extraordinary work...
00:58...you all do as practitioners day in and day out and take us to a higher level of productivity...
01:03...improve communication, and improve collaboration.
01:07The Department of Agriculture has a very broad mission set.
01:10I think when people think about agriculture, they obviously jump right to the farmer...
01:14...and the two million farmers of this nation are extraordinarily important to us...
01:18...ensuring an economic and viable food supply for the nation.
01:22We've had a bright spot in the economy over the last year, in FY 2011, 40-billion-dollar trade surplus on agricultural exports...
01:32...which we're very, very proud of and hope to see that grow...
01:35...the opportunity for farmers to sell their products to the largest markets on the face of the earth.
01:41But we also have the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture, 193 million acres of forest and grasslands...
01:47...in which tens of millions of people re-create every year...
01:51...ensuring that wildline fire practices are as best as they can be to ensure that the property and lives of our citizens...
01:58...are taken of and that we're stewarding those natural resources in the best manner that we can.
02:03Change gears again but still in the conservation practice, there's 2.3 billion acres of private working lands...
02:09...within the United States and the Natural Resources Conservation Service is dedicated to ensuring the stewardship...
02:15...ensuring that our water, our soil, and our capabilities there, and in terms of environmental resources...
02:21...continue to be as robust as they possibly can be.
02:25About 55 million people call rural America home, some of the best places on the face of the earth to live.
02:31We're very focused on thriving, self-sustaining communities in which there's economic opportunity...
02:38...not just on the farm but an off-farm income, and that we've got broadband capabilities out to those important places...
02:45...that we've got the best in telemedicine and distance learning.
02:48Change gears again. We're touching each and every one of you every day.
02:52Look at the lunch you just had.
02:54A safe, secure food supply, again economically viable, abundant, bar none on the earth.
03:00We deliver that day in and day out.
03:02And the science that goes on behind that is another change in gears on the mission set.
03:09We have the best science on the face of the earth, ensuring not just our natural resources and that economic and abundant food supply...
03:18...but, if you've been on the East Coast in the last couple years, we're got little critters called stink bugs...
03:27They are problematic.
03:28The Agricultural Research Service is very focused on ensuring that we don't have those critters living in our house.
03:32...that are invading our gardens and coming in to warm up during the winter.
03:34And even more nefarious are the bedbugs, right?
03:37That's not something you want to come home with or end up in a room with...
03:40...so, the practices are very broad.
03:43I talked about the food on your plate today.
03:45The Food Safety and Inspection Service, extraordinary job in 6,000 slaughterhouses and food processing plants...
03:51...with roughly 7,000 inspectors around the globe.
03:55I didn't hit every mission area. I just wanted to tell you broadly what we do.
03:59We're in almost every county in the US and a hundred countries overseas.
04:02Agriculture does touch Americans every day and hundreds of millions of people overseas.
04:08As I said, we have a very strong tradition in geospatial and GIS.
04:13I'm going to talk to you a little bit about what we've been up to.
04:15I'm not going to hit every mission area, but these are mission-critical products.
04:20You guys are practitioners and purveyors, and I know there's a good contingent from the Department of Agriculture...
04:25...but whether you're in the intelligence community, the Department of Defense, the HS, EPA, DOE...
04:30...Department of Interior, these are extremely important products that may focus on life and limb.
04:38They could just be decision tools.
04:39They could improve science.
04:41But we're very proud of what we do, and we really have a national treasure sitting in the middle of this nation...
04:46...since the late 1930s, we've been overflying the nation and capturing aerial imagery of every state...
04:53...to ensure we understand what's being planted out there, what are the economic opportunities...
04:58...are we safe and secure?
05:00The Aerial Field Photography Office in the Farm Services Agency actually has 11 million images sitting right now in our warehouses.
05:07We're taking that information in every year.
05:09We're providing that out.
05:11Really, a national treasure, and I'm actually going to challenge you all.
05:14We're looking for a creative way to take those 11 million images...
05:17...while for the past few years, we've been doing this in a digitized manner, digital cameras.
05:21We're sitting on this national treasure of 11 million images in which we need to find a creative way to get that digitized...
05:27...and get it out into the public's hands, because think about the temporal change or chronological look...
05:33...at what has been going on in our nation from the 1940s and forward.
05:38It would be extraordinary.
05:41Here are a few of the products.
05:42I'm going to just hit them at a very high level.
05:44That's an example of a temporal change.
05:47You're seeing Redlands, California, in a time phase.
05:50What was broadly rural area and you see some growth there.
05:55The yellow polygons behind that are what we call the common land unit.
05:58It's a base layer that we develop so that we can talk in a common manner to the farmer...
06:03...as to what they're doing within their operations and the programs they sign up.
06:07We use them for insurance. We use it for natural resource conservation.
06:13Extremely important, and you can see the products that we can build upon that.
06:17When a farmer comes into an office and talks to us about what they're planning, they want to be in a program with us...
06:23...they want to take out insurance on that to make sure that their operation is in the best position it possibly can be.
06:30We want to show them that image.
06:31They want to be able to see a landmark, so very high definition, yep, that's my field and that's a shed...
06:36...and that's what I'm planting over here, so if there is a loss...
06:40...we can go back and work with them to get them taken care of as quickly as possible.
06:45Another example, Mount St. Helens, before and after.
06:49What's interesting is that if you look at Google or Bing or a lot of open source imagery out there...
06:54...you'll see a little tag on the bottom says, you know, came from the Department of Agriculture...
06:58...the US Forest Service, the Farm Services Agency.
07:01This chart shows how much imagery we've got in these areas over time.
07:07Going to change gears real quick. Talk about the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
07:11I think I did a good job of stating at a high level what's going on.
07:16But again, very, very strong practices in using geospatial capabilities.
07:20Give you an example of what a technician out in the field is up to.
07:26May jump in their truck in the morning to go out and visit a farmer in a county 50 miles down the road, gets there.
07:31In today's workflow, we'll take GPS readings, we'll work with the farmer.
07:35They may want to put a pond on that land, so they may want to stop a running water flow...
07:38...so that they've got better irrigation practices or they want to water livestock.
07:43They'll come up, take the readings, lidar or something that we're relying heavily on, you need a lot of good elevation data.
07:48They'll jump back in the truck, drive 50 miles back, work for a couple days to a week or so, maybe even two weeks...
07:54...put together maybe three options for that farmer, everything from, here are the designs, here are the blueprints...
08:00...here's how we could do it, here's the bill of materials.
08:02Get back in the truck, drive another 50 miles back and show that to the farmer.
08:04We hope that the farmer likes option one, two, or three; agrees to it; and then we move on.
08:09Well, in many cases that's not the way it goes down, right?
08:12We would like to have tools that are mobile, mobily available so that that technician goes out once...
08:18...gets five options for the farmer within a couple hours, shows the imagery overlaid on their common land unit...
08:24...here's the elevation, lidar data, yep, I agree to that. Here's your bill of materials.
08:28We sign a contract. Or they get a grant.
08:32The farmer's in a better position. The environment's in a better position.
08:35We're that much more productive in what we do, that much more efficient, and that much more effective.
08:42I think the diagram to the left is self-explanatory, but it talks about how we want to talk in more common standards...
08:47...and layer this information so that we can use it once and in multiple cases.
08:56Natural Resource Conservation Service has been leading, extremely strong in what they do...
09:00...just like Farm Services Agency is strong in what they do.
09:03They've built a basically one-stop shop with standardized definitions for NRCS employees.
09:10This talks a little bit about that, a true asset for the nation.
09:14I'm going to switch gears real quick, though, and talk about the Forest Service.
09:17Forest Service, I think everybody gets it, right? Wildland fire.
09:20It's something that really resonates.
09:22The remote sensing data the department pulls down through the Forest Service is extraordinary, up to 36 sensors from Landsat...
09:30...and MODIS satellite capabilities, turning those into real-time products, so at an incident basecamp when a fire team shows up...
09:38...and, oh, by the way, they may come from a local entity, they may come from DOI, another agency...
09:43...they may come from the Forest Service.
09:45We put these fire teams together, then we try to get them extraordinarily good information so they can go out and fight that fire.
09:52Near real-time data is extraordinarily important so that team on the ground has situational awareness, who's on their flanks...
09:58...what's the burn pattern, what's the weather that's going on.
10:01These products that Forest Service puts out are mission critical, just like the first two that I said, extraordinarily mission critical.
10:08And we have an issue, we can't get in each other's way as we're doing this.
10:11The snag is a big department.
10:12I think I laid that out well for you, a very broad mission set.
10:15But I believe that together, we can do even greater things.
10:20And we've begun that.
10:21The cloud, well, there's a lot of hyperbole in our business.
10:25We get excited about SOA. We get excited about the cloud.
10:28And now it's big data.
10:30These things are very synergistic.
10:32The evolution and service-oriented architecture has allowed us to better leverage cloud computing capabilities.
10:39That's a reality today.
10:40So where I showed you three cases of the Department of Agriculture...
10:44...very different mission sets doing very mission-critical things that are important to their business line...
10:48...they're all doing it on their own.
10:51Here's an example, and I'm going to go to a second example, but I'm going to hit one that we did almost a year, year and a half ago...
10:57...it was on the national-level exercise.
11:00Because of cloud technologies, we could allow the existing legacy infrastructures and the business products...
11:05...that come out of that that are mission critical to go along, but for the first time in history...
11:09...we were able to take every mission area, seven mission areas, and more than 19 different business lines under that...
11:17...and take disparate data and present it in a common operating picture so that when we went through the national-level exercise...
11:23...for continuity of operations, we could the secretary, we could tell the undersecretary, we could tell the business lead...
11:30...here's what we've got going on.
11:31We've got a hurricane occurring in this part of the country.
11:34We need to do emergency housing.
11:36RD mission area has a role in that.
11:39We had a blow down in a recreation area that was national Forest Service land.
11:43We need to evacuate citizens. We've got real-time information on that.
11:47Perhaps there was livestock damaged, and those livestock deteriorating can cause an environmental issue...
11:54...so the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a need to clean those carcasses up and move them out.
11:59It is extraordinarily powerful when we work together to achieve a common operating picture.
12:04And some agencies do it better than others.
12:07But as a whole in the federal government, we're not winning.
12:11This is an example of another product that came out of the cloud, and we did it in basically 30 days...
12:17...and it was taking very disparate mission information and presenting a picture on deputy secretary Merrigan's initiative for...
12:25...know your farmer, know your food, which is about thriving, sustainable, local food systems...
12:31...for small and mid-sized business, making sure we've got economic opportunity, nutritious capabilities...
12:36...and we're doing it in an environmentally sound way, extraordinarily important.
12:40What we were able to do is take, where's the local farmer's market where a farmer can sell his or her goods?
12:47Where can we grow vegetables longer in the growing season by putting hoop houses or tunnels up?
12:54Where is the closest extension service so that people can get information on how to do that?
12:59In the past, we would have developed four or five products and we would have tried to marry them up.
13:04It would have taken a long time.
13:05Today, we're doing this in days.
13:10Is Kathleen back there?
13:13Another example, and there's a point why I'm hitting these a little more detailed, energy.
13:20Now energy is something from a geopolitical standpoint and economic standpoint and many other factors...
13:27...that we have a great amount of untapped resources out there, a great opportunity in biomass.
13:36So, you know, in the agriculture industry, it's about food and fiber and feed.
13:41We'd like to see it about energy and chemicals that we can derive from the oils, biopreferred products.
13:50And the reality is, if we look at this just from the farmer's perspective who could grow some biomass...
13:54...we may miss the point that there are some lands that are being underutilized that could be put into a different stream...
14:01...and could provide us biomass.
14:03But the issue is, where would we refine those products?
14:05Have we placed a biodiesel facility in the right place?
14:08Have we put the ethanol plant in the right place so we draw and everybody's boat is floated at the same time.
14:13And, oh, by the way, you need a demand. Is there a biodiesel demand? Where does our navy sit in relation to these things?
14:20Can we move over to diodiesel for our fleet? Can we do that for aircraft?
14:24So in a very quick time frame and iterating new products and new functionality...
14:30...we took that broad, disparate set of characteristics and in our energy map which you can see on our home page...
14:36...or just type in "USDA energy maps," you will see that we've got this capability, and we delivered it very quickly...
14:43...and, oh, by the way, we want to put this in the farmer's and the rancher's hand...
14:47...or into the business's hand that want to put a refinery somewhere.
14:50Let them run the economic numbers, get the technical support, and say, yes, we're going to go do this for the nation...
14:56...and we're going to move forward.
14:59So, I talked a little bit about the great work we do, and I'm going to tell you, you can extrapolate this across the federal government.
15:08You can put it into the local government. You can put it into the state. You can put it in the commercial sector.
15:12This is a diagram, and I blame Michael Locatis from Department of Energy or Malcolm Jackson for...if I get this wrong.
15:20But they have been my partners in moving forward on this.
15:23I don't know their infrastructure. I may have it slightly wrong.
15:27But I can tell if you...I have it directionally correct.
15:29If you look at the bottom of the stack, that's generally where we are today.
15:34Some agencies within a department have legacy infrastructure.
15:37They may be on a server-based platform.
15:39But they may be in a stand-alone environment with just a desktop running their geospatial and GIS products.
15:47The power of that is minimized because you can't share information readily.
15:52You're doing your own thing.
15:53You're not leveraging compute power. You're not leveraging the network.
15:58We all have that, and I'm not saying that's going to go away immediately.
16:01It's probably going to need to coexist like a number of the things I'm going to say here.
16:04But just take USDA.
16:05I've got at least five different environments running right now.
16:08They're all on different virgins...versions, excuse me.
16:11They are not necessarily patched well, scanned well, and that information is stovepipe.
16:18I call them "stovepipes of excellence," but it's critically important to the mission.
16:21They do great work. It's important.
16:24We can't get in each other's way as we do this.
16:26But if you think about that, and I'm doing that if Michael Locatis is doing that over at the Department of Energy...
16:31...and if Malcolm Jackson at EPA is doing that, and if Bernie Mazer is doing that over at the Department of Interior...
16:37...and I just named four CIOs, and I don't have it exactly right, but I guarantee that's what's happening.
16:41It's not cost-effective. It's not secure. It's not overly productive. And it sure isn't information sharing.
16:48So what we've got going on is, the cloud has come.
16:51It is here today.
16:52And I believe that in the middle, you're going to see organizations build their own clouds.
16:57We've done it. We're three years in.
16:59Our OPEX is down 60 percent, so what cost a server to host a...
17:04...an Esri software package on a server was about $18,000 benchmark...
17:10...that's competitive commercial rate two years ago.
17:13In the cloud, sharing infrastructure, we can do that for $6,000 a year, and we've gone down to $5,000 this year.
17:18So you'll see us, and we're doing that for a lot of products, right?
17:20Anything that we bring in, that we put up as we're consolidating data centers, we want to put that in and share that compute.
17:27And that's great, and that's going to happen.
17:29But the question I'll ask, Is USDA going to be as far ahead as DOE is?
17:35Locatis is much smarter than me, and he's always out in front, right?
17:38Energy may be iterating more quickly, may get to a newer version.
17:43So the top picture is probably the most controversial, but where I think we need to be, it's a reality today.
17:48We're doing business there.
17:50And the reality is that together we can do extraordinary things, and we can move together.
17:56So we moved 120,000 people and 130,000 e-mail boxes in four months into a commercial public cloud with Dell and Microsoft.
18:06The reality is, I have to move with that wave when it goes.
18:09The days of saying, "I'm unique and my 120,000 people are unique," and then the Forest Service turns around and say...
18:14..."My 40,000 people are unique."
18:15Yes, we are unique. We do different things.
18:17But together for unified communications, collaboration, and productivity...
18:21...we decided we could go with 3.2 million commercial customers.
18:25And let me tell you, it's cheap. And let me tell you, it's better functionality.
18:28So this picture here for geospatial is, in my mind, the national platform.
18:34I'm doing business out in it right now.
18:35EPA is doing business, and the DOE's doing it.
18:38Why aren't we sharing our information? Why aren't we doing it in the multitenant way?
18:41That's my challenge to you all.
18:43You have learned so much over the last couple days and brought your expertise to bear.
18:47We as a nation have an opportunity to share information there.
18:51Yeah, some of it need to be protected.
18:52That's the boxes that show that USDA has stuff that maybe EPA shouldn't be seeing.
18:58But why can't expose anything else which I think is the preponderance of what we do.
19:01Why can't DOI do that? Why can't the state be in there doing it? And local?
19:06I'll tell you what, we are under diminished resources.
19:09The constraints are real to the nation.
19:12This is cheap, it's fast, and it's awesome.
19:16And you know what? People feel better in there and they say you only get one or two of those constraints.
19:20You can't have all three, and that was true five years ago.
19:22This is a reality.
19:24We're doing it. We're iterating product.
19:25We have people knocking on our doors. We've got a coalition of people that are very interested in doing this.
19:30I think we're on the cusp of ideation and creativity that we have not been before.
19:35And sometimes we're not as optimistic in this nation, certainly over the last few years...
19:39...I think some of the stalemate we're going through.
19:42But we have more in common than anybody else on the face of the earth.
19:46This is it.
19:47This is an opportunity. You guys are the purveyors.
19:49Daniel Burnham, who was the architect of the White City in the Columbian Exposition in 1893...
19:53...kind of seen as the father of modern urban planning, you know, built a city and in a number of months...
20:00...it was...it was the biggest hit on the face of the earth in 1893.
20:02They used power and electricity and irrigation in ways that hadn't been used in cities.
20:09It was the showcase, and he's got one of the best quotes I've ever heard, and that is...
20:14..."Make no small plans, for they fail to stir man's blood and they in themselves will never be realized."
20:21That's my challenge to you all.
20:22You're great at what you do.
20:23You do extraordinary things together.
20:25Over the next number of months and year or two, there may be some coexistence in what I'm talking about here.
20:31The legacy may need to continue for a period of time.
20:35We will build private clouds, but there's a public cloud there right now.
20:39Done smartly, we can do it more efficiently, more effectively, and in the best manner that I think this nation deserves.
20:46So I thank you. Those are my remarks today, and, Jack, thank you, again, for having me up.
USDA Geospatial and Thoughts on U.S. National Platform
Chris Smith, Chief Information Officer of the USDA, shares how his agency is using GIS as a platform that enables collaboration across government organizations.
- Recorded: Feb 24th, 2012
- Runtime: 20:57
- Views: 1210
- Published: Mar 15th, 2012
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