Pretty interesting article in yesterday’s USA Today on the growing uses of wikis in government circles. Get this:
The communities of practice wiki is not the only one drawing federal officials’ fascination. Patrick Hogan, learning technologies program manager at NASA, depends on a wiki site to program NASA software. An open-source program, NASA World Wind, lets users look at satellite imagery. They can peer into the Grand Canyon or follow the Nile River from its source, Lake Victoria, or leap over the Himalayas. Users in metropolitan areas can view street-level imagery. The program is popular, judging by the 2 million people who have downloaded it despite its 200M size.
And now those 2 million people — or anyone else — can suggest modifications to the program. A private enterprise, not affiliated with NASA, recently launched a wiki site called World Wind Central.
“These folks are not being paid by NASA at all and yet are providing a tremendous service to NASA,” Hogan said. The development community has donated hundreds of hours of coding effort, including a search tool for NASA World Wind’s 5 million locations and a mouse-over effect that simulates gravity’s varying strength worldwide, he said. Hogan routinely participates in the wiki and thanks outside developers. He has only a handful of full- and part-time employees, so he appreciates the free labor.
Wiki life is good, eh?