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USGS is deploying Drupal as a platform CMS in the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure in order to modernize its web infrastructure to allow for the rapid support of varied scientific activities, and the ability to quickly deploy innovative experiences. As such, the Cloud Hosting and Web Reengineering project aims to design, develop, and deploy a Drupal CMS platform within the Amazon Web Services Cloud environment and migrate aging websites and outdated development tools to this new infrastructure.

Our team is working closely with USGS to design and deploy the Drupal platform in the Amazon Cloud environment. In particular, we performed the following tasks outlined below.

USGS website

What We Did

Technical Architecture and Infrastructure Scripts: Our team is working closely with USGS and the Cloud Hosting Services (CHS) staff to design the Drupal 7 Palladium Platform cloud architecture to ensure high-availability, high-security, and high-performance. In addition to the design, our team is developing automated scripts to automate the deployment of the AWS cloud architecture for the Drupal platform in development, test, and production.

Drupal Palladium Platform: Our team is redeveloping the Drupal 7 Palladium platform in the Cloud Hosting Services (CHS) Amazon Cloud environment. Palladium is the flagship site for which will eventually ingest over 300+ USGS subsites. The Drupal Platform has been configured to embrace the Create One, Publish Everywhere (COPE) philosophy, allowing content managers to create content once and have the capability to deliver it throughout the entire website. This is accomplished through taxonomies that link together content that would otherwise be siloed across all of the subsites.

Custom Module Development: Our team is developing custom Drupal modules that comply with the USGS Drupal Development Framework standards. These modules are architected so they can be deployed across a number of websites for maximum reuse. The first module being developed is a common Water Module. Currently, water data and information is presented differently on different sites, with no consistent user experiences across all of the current Water Science Center (WSC) websites. This has led to product identity and branding concerns, costly redundancy, overlap in software development and maintenance, data presentation and quality issues, and confusion among the web users. Our team is developing a single Drupal module to meet the goals of WSC while providing a simple, consistent presentation along with predictable functionality. Site administrators will be able to easily configure it, and it will support the display of water data from one or several States. The new Water data module will also be usable on mobile devices.

Content Manager Training: Our team developed initial content manager training materials and conducted a training class for close to 40 people across all USGS regions. The team was also responsible for providing training for three science center pilot sites and assisting with the creation of content for each of these sites. Our team is designing, developing and deploying a new on the Drupal platform. This replaces a legacy system the ran within multiple disparate email boxes. The new system is a custom developed ticket support Drupal module that provides USGS site visitors the ability to request information from USGS through a webform and/or real-time chat and USGS staff members the ability to respond to those inquiries. The system also captures critical metrics such as number of tickets per topic, active vs open tickets and includes a ticket search functionality. In addition, the customer friendly site will integrate with the USGS FAQ systems for rapid access to self-service information. These requests along with customer support calls will be recorded in the system and routed to the appropriate customer service representatives to ensure they are tracked and responded to in a timely manner.

Publications and Profiles: Mobomo is migrating the Publications Warehouse (Pubs) database and the USGS Professional Pages (Profiles) database into the Drupal Palladium platform. Once it is in the Palladium platform, the Professional Pages will be entirely managed within Palladium and feature the same COPE philosophy as with the rest of the site. Although Publications will not reside within Palladium, content managers will be able to create new records linking off to archived databases and external sites.

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