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GCN : July 2013
12 GCN JULY 2013 • GCN.COM [BrieFing] The military is taking a page from the smart-phone industry in an effort to speed up development of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) ground sensors. Researchers for the Defense Ad- vanced Research Projects Agency s Adaptable Sensor System, which goes by the name ADAPT, are developing a hardware and software package with a customized Android operating system for the unattended ground sensors. The sensors -- which are small, self- powered devices that sense ground activity, including acoustic, seismic, magnetic and weather events -- can communicate wirelessly with other sen- sors and devices, according to DOD s Armed With Science website. It typically takes three to eight years to develop military sensors systems using contract manufacturers, a long cycle that can mean devices are out- dated by the time they re introduced, DARPA said. By following the design processes of smart phone makers, which are always creating new or updated models, DARPA hopes to de- velop new devices in a year or so. The ADAPT program focuses on three core elements: reusable hard- ware, reusable software and sensor applications, DARPA said. "We believe that the ADAPT build- ing block approach --- where you take the ADAPT core and easily plug it into any number of ISR sensor reference designs --- will transform how the mili- tary services and the defense industry approach ISR sensor research and development," said DARPA program manager Mark Rich. "This method has the promise of being much more cost-effective, faster to the war ghter and easier to refresh with technology upgrades." DARPA plans to test new sensors based on the ADAPT reference design this summer, he said. The agency also could develop other reference designs for air and sea ve- hicles. In one recent test, for example, researchers replaced the control inter- face of a small, quad-copter UAV with the ADAPT core. • DARPA takes a smart-phone approach to developing Android ground sensors BY KEVIN MCCANEY New York City Comptroller John C. Liu unveiled the Checkbook NYC 2.0 web- site, announcing that the source code for the nancial transparency website would be available to developers on GitHub, which will allow other govern- ment organizations to use Checkbook to build similar. Checkbook NYC illustrates how the city government spends its nearly $70 billion annual budget. Using a dashboard that combines graphs and user-friendly tables, the site displays up-to-date information about the city s revenues, expenditures, contracts, payroll and budget. It also offers that information programmatically via APIs. Built on the Drupal open source content management platform, Check- book NYC s data warehouse contains more than 50 million nancial transac- tions, according to REI Systems, which worked with the city to develop the system. The data warehouse is updated daily and is growing at a rate of approxi- mately 2 million transactions per month. REI was selected to lead the project, the comptroller s of ce said, because of its experience with government trans- parency websites, including USASpen- ing.gov, Data.gov, and ITDashboard.gov Other partners, centralized account- ing software vendors Oracle and CGI, worked to develop "adapters," or automated data feeds, between their nancial management systems and Checkbook NYC. These feeds will en- able other state and local governments that use Oracle and CGI solutions to easily share their nancial data with the public. Collectively, it s estimated that Oracle, CGI and REI Systems have commit- ted to investing more than $1 million of resources in order to make Checkbook NYC rapidly adaptable by other govern- ments, city of cials said. Checkbook NYC is signi cant be- cause it makes a vast storehouse of information available online in a timely, structured and human-readable form, according to the Sunlight Foundation. "Checkbook NYC is an outstanding example of local government adoption of the open source software model, and with this project New York City has truly stepped up and into the open IT ecosystem," said Deborah Bryant, Open Source for America co-chair and direc- tor of the Open Source Initiative. • NYC opens the books -- and source code -- on Checkbook 2.0 BY SUSAN MILLER