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White House encourages data scientists to help with climate change initiative

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March 20
8:49 AM 2014

The White House has introduced a new web portal on Data.gov that would enable developers and data scientists to help it in its efforts to combat climate change, TechCrunch reported.

Through the new portal, the White House has made all government data available for researchers so they can come up with calculations and simulations that will allow cities to prepare for the effects of climate change. Data.gov features tools like the Coastal Change Analysis Program Land Cover Atlas that gives information on land cover and land cover change, Coastal Change Hazards Portal that helps coastal planners lower the risk in the nation's coastlines and the Hawaii Tsunami Hazard Information Service that provides all information related to tsunamis.

A fact sheet from the Office of the Press Secretary of the White House said about the portal, "Through the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is today issuing a call to America's top private-sector innovators to leverage open government data resources and other datasets to build tools that will make America's communities more resilient to climate change and to forge cross-sector partnerships to make those tools as useful as possible."

Because the topic is fairly new, the government is adding prize-based contests to get developers to share their talents for the program. One of this is the "Coastal Flooding Innovation Challenge" which seeks to "help people understand their exposure to coastal hazards and their increased vulnerability due to population increase and sea level rise."

The White House initiative to crowdsource solutions for climate change is part of Chief Technology Officer Todd Park's thrust to share government data with researchers and entrepreneurs. Park told TechCrunch in 2012, "We are enabling entrepreneurs and innovators across all walks of life to tap into fields of data sitting in the vaults of government in machine-readable form. They can, as they did with weather data, as they did with GPS data, create all kinds of services and products that we can only even barely imagine."

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