Dynamic Digital Communities


GeoPlatform.gov brings people together from around the Nation, and the world, to share geospatial resources, providing open access to national datasets, allowing users to add upload and share their own data, and create maps and galleries that can be viewed and utilized by others.

GeoPlatform Dynamic Digital Communities enable partners to quickly build cross-agency community portals with rich dynamic geospatial content and interactive tools. Whether for a major national event, an issue of great concern to the public, or a special multi-agency project, GeoPlatform allows stakeholders to collaborate and share their resources, as a curated interactive experience.

Dynamic Digital Communities are online spaces to collaborate with colleagues and interact with the public, delivering:

  • Data: authoritative, trusted, consistent data and services
  • Tools: visual and analytic tools and applications
  • Services: web based geospatial services

GeoPlatform provides a comprehensive toolset to rapidly build, deploy, and support wide-ranging community development and exploitation lifecycles. The open platform streamlines online community development processes, and enhances community experiences, providing a rich and diverse catalog of themes and templates, and providing new embedded applications (plugins and widgets) that populate community spaces with relevant, dynamic content––maps, map galleries, news and data feeds.

  • Provide end-end, cloud-native solutions for resource sharing
  • Gather and share geospatial data and services across the federal, state, and local government enterprise
  • Lower the bar for traditional and non-traditional data providers to easily contribute in times of crisis
  • Deliver mission-relevant, user friendly dynamic digital community capabilities and experiences

The GeoPlatform’s Community Tool Kit (CTK) integrates:

  • Common, standards-based services for sharing resources
  • Enhanced metadata for human and machine consumption
  • Open and interoperable business objects – Open Maps and Open Layers – independent of technology or where they exist in the Web
  • Dynamic data for active, current, relevant community experiences

Create dynamic, customized experiences with widgets and plugins for:

  • Curating the Community Portfolio of assets – documents, datasets, services, layers, maps and galleries
  • Event creation and management
  • Comment moderation
  • Community members and profile management
  • Managing multi-media content
  • Controlling access to selected content
  • Integrating business process and governance workflows into the community experience

Benefits:

  • Address issues of national importance
  • Answer questions, support decision-making, form initiatives, take action!
  • Engage with timely mission-critical data, and other significant curated Linked Open Data (LOD), like Open Maps, to answer mission-relevant questions
  • Build highly interactive experiences with rich, dynamic, interconnected geospatial and Web content.
  • Connect government and citizens in cross-agency initiatives
  • Organize and integrate people, processes, and technology


FAQ


How do I create and update my Community Space?
What is the Community Core Bundle?
What does the CCB consist of?
How do I manage user access to my Community Space?
What GeoPlatform services can I use within my Community Space?
What if I need to make changes to my Community Space after it is already in production?
Am I responsible for scanning my Community Space for vulnerabilities or will the GeoPlatform Team be doing that?
What is the policy for using other WordPress plugins, 3rd-party or custom plugins, applications, or content not included in the baseline CCB? Can for-purchase or licensed plugins be used?
How do I get started building my Community Space?

How do I create and update my Community Space?

Community spaces are created using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which allows community administrators and contributors to directly curate and modify the content and the messaging for their community. For information on creating and customizing your Community Space, please refer to these resources:


What is the Community Core Bundle?

The Community Core Bundle (CCB) allows content developers to create a web site and curate topical community content independently of other components of the GeoPlatform. It is the starting point for creating specialized, topical, or event-based content by GeoPlatform partners and communities-of-interest. Using the CCB, a Community Content Team (web site designers and subject-matter experts) creates the Community Space payload for hosting within the GeoPlatform.gov environment.

The CCB packages the essential tools, templates, widgets, examples, and guides needed to create and manage a Community Space. At the core of the CCB is a content management system (CMS) enabling authorized community contributors to directly and easily curate the online content for their community.

Each Community Space will receive a sub-domain URL for GeoPlatform allowing the integration with the GeoPlatform IDP/IDM services along with a clean legible and easily shared and disseminated URL within the GeoPlatform.gov domain (e.g.community.geoplatform.gov).


What does the CCB consist of?

We provide an up-to-date version of the “WordPress Core” (https://wordpress.org) files that includes the GeoPlatform WordPress Theme extension with Bootstrap template, GeoPlatform Stylesheet, and a few pre-configured WordPress plugins for easy integration with the GeoPlatform.

Refer to the GeoPlatform Style Guide (https://www.geoplatform.gov/style) for more information including links to the GeoPlatform CSS Stylesheet (https://www.geoplatform.gov/css/platform.css).

Note: The GeoPlatform Stylesheet requires Bootstrap 3.3.x (or higher) and uses some extensions and rules that are beyond CSS Level 3, so running it through a validator may report errors and warnings that will not prevent usage.
The CCB is packaged with these components:

  • Latest WordPress 4.5.3 or higher
  • Bill of Materials
  • MySQL 5.6.24 or higher
  • MySQL Database initialization script
  • PHP: 5.4.16 or higher
  • Bootstrap 3.3.x or higher (http://getbootstrap.com)
  • GeoPlatform SimplSAML authentication module
  • GeoPlatform Style Sheets (https://www.geoplatform.gov/css/platform.css)
  • GeoPlatform Theme and Sample Content
    • Map Galleries
    • Dataset Search widget
    • Wiki Pages
    • Sample page content

All CCB instances will be deployed to the GeoPlatform production environment on a LAMP stack consisting of:

  • Redhat Linux 7.1 (x86_64) or higher
  • Apache 2.4.6 or higher

Note: The baseline CCB is constantly updated to stay current with the latest stable releases of these components since many consist of security patches required to pass security scans before the web site can be promoted into the production environment.


How do I manage user access to my Community Space?

By default, a Community Space is open to view by the public. Designatedadministrators for a Community Space are responsibe for managing community members, their roles, and rights to update community content. All users with rights to update content or access restricted content must have GeoPlatform user accounts. User membership, roles, and rights are managed using the standard facilities of the WordPress dashboard and/or custom plugins.


What GeoPlatform services can I use within my Community Space?

The following GeoPlatform capabilities are available to Content Teams for building rich and dynamic content for Community Spaces:

  • unified user authentication via the pre-configured SimpleSAML module for GeoPlatform IDP service,
  • embed published Maps and Map Galleries created using the GeoPlatform Map Manager application (https://maps.geoplatform.gov)
  • embed customized searches for Datasets published to Data.gov using the GeoPlatform Dataset Search application

Additional GeoPlatform widgets, applications and services for use within Community Spaces will be made available with each new release of the GeoPlatform.


What if I need to make changes to my Community Space after it is already in production?

Authorized users can update and manage their online content directly using the native WordPress authoring tools.

If significant changes to your site are planned, the changes should be first applied and tested in sandbox (development) or staging instance of the Community Space. When the updates are completed, the GeoPlatform Technical Team will work with you to test the updates, scan for security vulnerabilities, and move them into the production site.


Am I responsible for scanning my Community Space for vulnerabilities or will the GeoPlatform Team be doing that?

The Community Core Bundle will be scanned by the GeoPlatform Team prior to any baseline release or update. You are at liberty to perform self-scanning of your own software and content while developing your site. After development and testing of your site, a full scan of the Community Space will be performed before deployment to the staging and production environments. If significant vulnerabilities are identified, they will need to be remediated before promotion to production.

During normal operations and update cycles, the GeoPlatform Team may request updates, additions, or removal of code, services, and plugins affecting the overall security posture of the Community Space or GeoPlatform.


What is the policy for using other WordPress plugins, 3rd-party or custom plugins, applications, or content not included in the baseline CCB? Can for-purchase or licensed plugins be used?

Content Teams must follow this policy guidance for hosting CMS plugins or other 3rd-party or licensed software and content:

  • no security vulnerabilities, now and in the future. (i.e., the entire site must pass all security scans and vulnerabilities must be quickly remedied or the site will be taken offline)
  • no significant architectural/technical constraints or impacts to Geoplatform.gov servers or infrastructure (e.g., inordinate demand for CPU, RAM, storage, or network bandwidth)
  • no significant O&M effort is required by the GeoPlatform Technology Team to keep the site available, stable, and secure,
  • no software or content license encumbrances.
  • you are responsible for update and payment of for-purchase customizations

How do I get started building my Community Space?

To get started on your CCB instance, email the GeoPlatform service desk (servicedesk@geoplatform.gov) with the information below:

  1. Charter information describing background, purpose, scope, goals, and objectives of the new community
  2. A target Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) for your Community Space must be specified (https://communities.geoplatform.gov/[your_community _short_name]). Once we have this information we’ll create a sandbox instance for you to begin constructing the site. Please do not include spaces or punctuation characters in your community short name (subdomain).
  3. A list of community administrators including full name and email address for each. A community administrator is someone who is responsible for creating and customizing the appearance and content of your community space and managing user membership and roles.
  4. A copy of the signed Rules and Behavior agreements from each administrator.

For more information on getting started with your Community Core Bundle, visit the Getting Started page.