GSA seeks ‘forward-thinking’ tool to slash travel costs, winner gets $35K

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In a time when technology allows citizens to be increasingly more interactive with their government and vice versa, many agencies are turning to crowdsourcing to solve some of their most-pressing issues.

In the General Services Administration’s latest challenge, citizens are called upon to develop a technology-driven solution for better tracking the agency’s travel spending data — to the tune of $35,000 for the winner.

GSA hopes the challenge will help the agency identify opportunities to cut travel costs and make smarter businesses decisions, according to GSA’s website. Citizens will be using GSA travel data sets to create a tool that could be used across the federal government and be applied at every agency using their own data.

“GSA is looking for cutting-edge software design that enhances transparency and helps to hold agencies accountable on travel spending, while also providing federal agencies with the best recommendations on how to reduce travel costs,” said Anne Rung, associate administrator for the Office of Government-wide Policy.

The final version of the tool should be in open source code, and should be housed online so updates can easily be made. GSA said the tool should visually display the data, offer thorough analysis and be interactive for users.

“This should be a forward-thinking tool that enhances transparency and helps to hold agencies accountable for what they are spending on travel, while also providing agencies with recommendations for how to reduce costs,” GSA said.

An additional factor in the content will be determining the value of the travel data GSA is collecting by finding any potential gaps. The challenge requires recommendations submitted for how the government can improve insights into federal travel spending by collecting additional data.

“The purpose for this information is to gain an understanding of what the government could do with additional data elements, if those data elements were to be collected by agencies,” GSA said. “This will help increase awareness of needed improvements in data collection, and further the goal of leading greater transparency into government spending.”

Several GSA employees will judge this challenge, including GSA Associate Administrator for Government-wide Policy Anne Rung, Acting CIO Sonny Hashmi, and Tim Burke of the GSA Federal Acquisition Service, among others.

Deadline for this project is April 11, 2014.

GSA’s Travel Challenge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3jEx0dwIcQ

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Agencies, big data, data analytics, Departments, General Services Administration (GSA), Government IT News, Innovation, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, open data, Tech
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