Visioning a Nationwide Infrastructure for Community Statistics Community Statistical Systems Network May 27, 2004    (1GO)

Participant Profile    (1GP)

Name(s): Brand Niemann    (1GQ)

Organization: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Co-Chair of the CIO Council’s Semantic (Web Services) Interoperability Community of Practice (SICoP)    (1GR)

Title or Subject of Initiative, Project, Program, or Other Effort Relevant to Meeting: New Paradigms for Community Statistical Systems Using Semantic XML Web Services Nodes and Networks    (1GS)

Nature of Effort:    (1GT)

_X_ system for on-line delivery of nationwide local area data to individual users _X_ tabular data _X_ mapped data geographic units (e.g., states, counties, places) include: All primary data sets include: Census, EPA, and USGS (LandView 6)    (1GU)

_X_ tool to assist national and local data intermediaries in accessing and organizing data sets for inclusion in on-line statistical systems    (1GV)

_X_ development of applications, technologies, or standards to aid in the above    (1GW)

___ other:    (1GX)

Current Status: _X_ in operation ___ under construction ___ in planning, in conceptual development, under consideration    (1GY)

URL (if relevant):,, and    (1GZ)

Purpose and Audience (Ends): The use of eXtensible Markup Languages (XML) and Semantic Web Services are suggested and illustrated as a new paradigm for community statistical systems to make them interoperable so reuse and integration within and across domains of interest and communities of practice are more likely to occur. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Geography Markup Language (GML), and LandView 6, a viewer for spatial (administrative) databases, are also introduced for the same purpose.    (1H0)

Brief Description (Means): Indicators are usually expressed in graphical form based on data tables that should have metadata (data about the data) which are usually embedded in documents that need to be Semantic Web Services that can be searched (find what expect to find), discovered (find what you don’t expect to find), and exploited (reused).    (1H1)

Indicator data needs to be interoperable to facilitate: (1) reuse (e.g. in statistics we should ask: compared to what?); and (2) integration within and across domains of interest and communities of practice. eXtensible Markup Language (XML), XML Web Services, and Semantic Web Services help accomplish those needs as will be illustrated in this presentation.    (1H2)

We want to move simultaneously from static to dynamic Web Services and from interoperable syntax (XML) to interoperable semantics (RDF and OWL). We want to virtually centralize the content instead of physically centralizing the content (e.g. leave it distributed and connect it over the Internet). We want to build a fully distributed indicator management system for the Council on Environmental Quality based on the work for the Interagency Working Group on Sustainable Development Indicators at A good example is our work with the Annual Statistical Abstract, which is an XML content collections consisting of the conversion of about 50 PDF files and 1500 Excel files with their metadata, which could be distributed back to the 200 some statistical programs that contribute to it each year to eliminate most of the manual aggregation that is done by the Census Bureau each year, to make it a “living and reusable” document. Another example is the EPA Report on the Environment, 2003.    (1H3)

Brief Narrative of History, Current Status, Plans: Status of Web Service Nodes Pilots (as of May 4, 2004): Key National Indicators Forum Report (GAO): Completed Key National Indicators Web Site (NAS): Completed Annual Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2003 (FedStats): In process LandView 6 (Census, EPA, and USGS): In process Jacksonville Community Council 2003 Quality of Life Progress Report (CD-ROM): In process The Boston Foundation: 2002 Indicators Report: In process Others to be selected    (1H4)

Relevant Background Documents (with URLs, if available): New Paradigms for Community Statistical Systems Session 13, Friday, March 12th, 3:30 – 5 p.m., Panel Presenter: Brand Niemann, US EPA. The 2004 National Community Indicators Conference: Advances in the Science & Practice of Community Indicators, Eldorado Hotel, Reno, Nevada, March 10-13, 2004. See    (1H5)

Contact information: Address: US EPA Headquarters, EPA West Building (14th and Constitution Avenue), Mail Code: 2833T, Room 5219P, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460. Telephone: 202-566-1657. E-mail:    (1H6)