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SOA to help federal agencies become more service oriented

Agencies pool their resources within the US Interior Department's Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) data system.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

SOA may help government agencies become more service oriented.

Federal Computing Week's Alice Lipowicz reports that two federal government agencies within the US Department of the Interior -- the the US National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are integrating their six separate scientific data systems into a single, SOA-enabled system.

Keeping everyone Sleeping Bear Dunes, part of the National Park Service

Keeping everyone aligned: Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan, part of the SOA-aware National Park Service. Photo by the author.

The SOA component was detailed in the Interior Department’s "Customer Service Plan," surfaced by Lipowicz. The new shared system, called the Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) data system, is intended to provide improved customer access to scientific data, reports and other documents, maps, images, links, and other information. The plan will also streamline how resource data are entered, managed, discovered, and shared.

IRMA will be an internet-based tool for more efficient and effective discovery and delivery of scientific data and information about NPS natural and cultural resources to DOI internal and external customers.

The National Park Service has already integrated six previously stand-alone silos into one system with a consistent user interface using SOA, the report notes. In 2012, NPS intends to modernize and integrate several additional legacy, standalone data systems, such as the NPS Public Use Statistics system, into IRMA, as well as adapt and pilot the “Data Store” component of IRMA at 8 National Wildlife Refuges.

The agencies' SOA plans fit right in with the federal government's shared services initiative, announced in December 2011. Federal agencies are being asked to develop a shared services plan and to identify at least two commodity IT areas for migration to an “intra-agency shared service model” by the end of 2012. The goal is a “federal government that is leaner, more agile and more efficient. Leveraging commodity IT services at the department level within agencies presents quick win opportunities, and is typically less complex to implement and easier to manage than efforts between agencies.”

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