Back in 1982, the U.S. Navy launched a recruiting campaign that focused on the highly effective slogan: “it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.”

For more than 40 years, this tagline has resonated on many levels in both government and industry, and today, it is very apropos for what is happening with big data in the federal sector these days.

Last week, AFCEA sponsored a panel that focused on how federal agencies are dealing with a rise in the amount of data they make available for outside consumption, as well as the challenges that come with this.

When it comes to gathering and facilitating access to agency datasets, the job is “never done,” per Daniel Morgan, chief data officer at the Transportation Department (DOT), who was also a panelist at the event.

According to FCW, panelist Donna Roy, executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Information Sharing Environment Office, also discussed how DHS is implementing four “data lakes” that will take in and store data – regardless of format.

The DOT has also developed solutions for handling the massive amounts of data that it manages.  For example, hundreds of local and state agencies must submit data on a daily basis to DOT from sources such as road sensors and crash sites.  To best manage this, the DOT has developed an interagency dashboard that shows how states are performing data-wise.

Roy also discussed how DHS is enabling major information integration across more than 20,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

While these agencies are prime examples of enhanced efforts around data collection, it is clear that more needs to be done from an analytics perspective. Collecting data is one thing. Turning it into actionable intelligence is a whole other challenge.

With this in mind, big data collection and analytics for government agencies in 2015 will be much more than a job; it will be an adventure.