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  • www.geo-one-stop.gov
  • GeoData.Gov Launched to Curb Government Spending on GIS

    By Glenn Letham (editor@geocomm.com), July 01, 2003
    Federal agencies spend billions of dollars on geospatial systems, but as much as 50 percent is duplicative spending, a senior administration official told lawmakers (Source: Jason Miller, Government Computer News). GeoData.Gov officially launched on June 30, 2003 - will it help reduce needless spending and duplication of effort or will it merely add to the problem?


    Easy access and integration of digital geographic information from multiple sources in an effort to reduce government spending on the distribution of geospatial data from more than $4 billion per year, of which about 50% is considered redundant. Does this sound like an ambitions effort? Enter the solution... The Geospatial One-Stop initiative.

    On June 4, 2003 the Geospatial One-Stop Board of Directors (represented by State, Local, Tribal and Federal agencies) unanimously decided on a one year strategy to implement an Internet Portal that will allow easy access and integration of digital geographic information from multiple sources. The Board agreed to the implementation strategy on June 4, 2003 following Launched officially on June 30, the portal will serve to engage a broad community of current GIS users and attract new users seeking easy access to geographic information about their community. The Board of Directors using geospatial information to improve government services and support decision making.

    According to a dc.internet.com article, the Geospatial One-Stop Project is one of the 24 E-government initiatives being pursued as part of the President's Management Reform Agenda. The author reports that the government has no idea about the level of spending on geospatial systems, however, he stimates that total to be over $4 billion. Apaprently in the US there are more than 40 agencies having their own individual program for geospatial data collection and usage. Geospatial onestop has been developed in response to the duplicate efforts [and spending]. Ironically, the onestop innitiative iteself has been criticized as a duplication of effort. Michael Hardy reported in a recent article that "the project drew some fire earlier this year when the Interior Department, OMB's key agency partner, awarded a $375,000 contract to GIS vendor ESRI to develop a prototype. OMB had already given $450,000 to the Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) -- of which ESRI is a member -- for the same work."

    The Geospatial One Stop Board of Directors recently unanimously decided on a one year strategy to implement an Internet Portal with a mandate to allow easy access and integration of digital geographic information from multiple sources. The Board agreed to the strategy on June 4, 2003 following Portal demonstrations by teams from the OGC and ESRI. Now that the portal is officially launched, it is expected to serve to engage a broad community of current GIS users and attract new users seeking easy access to geographic information. The Board of Directors represents State, Local, Tribal and Federal agencies using geospatial information to improve government services and support decision making.

    Initial implementation of the Portal, known as GeoData.Gov, will feature intergovernmental and private sector collaboration with support provided by Geospatial One Stop and the BLM for policy and technical management. Initial implementation will be hosted by ESRI. Geospatial One Stop will explore with OGC as to how OGC might provide advice to ensure that Geodata.Gov exemplifies appropriate interoperability standards. A systematic assessment of portal capabilities will be conducted under the Executive Director's guidance during an evaluation period later this calendar year. The results of the assessment will be considered for incorporation into the system architecture for the next generation of the portal which the Board anticipates will be the subject of an RFP in 2004.

    GeoData.Gov Mandate

    The goal of Geospatial One Stop and the GeoData.Gov portal, which is managed by the Department of the Interior, is to provide faster, easier and less expensive access to geospatial information for governments and the public to support decision making and the business of government. More information is available at: www.geo-one-stop.gov.

    One of the most obvious mapping functions available from the site (GeoData.Gov) is the "launch the national map viewer" option. Clicking on this option causes a new map viewer (window) to appear. Numerous data layers can then be displayed including:
    • LANDSAT& data
    • National land cover dataset
    • Shaded relief
    • Ortho index
    • States
    • Interstates
    • Streams
    • Waterbodies
    • counties
    Visitors to the "onestop" are greeted with the following data layer options:
    • Administrative and Political Boundaries
    • Agriculture and Farming
    • Atmosphere and Climatic
    • Biology and Ecology
    • Business and Economic
    • Cadastral
    • Cultural, Society, and Demographic
    • Elevation and Derived Products
    • Environment and Conservation
    • Geological and Geophysical
    • Human Health and Disease
    • Imagery and Base Maps
    • Inland Water Resources
    • Locations and Geodetic Networks
    • Oceans and Estuaries
    • Transportation Networks
    • Utilities and Communication

    Behind the scenes

    The portal is a collaboration of a number of agencies including some very familiar names in the geospatial industry: FEMA, BLM, DOD, DOT, EPA, USDA, USGS, DOC, and NASA

    Searching for data

    Once your search area is established, you can set your search criteria based on content type, such as map service, geographic datasets, activities, etc., data theme, keywords or date ranges. The results of the search are displayed along with metadata and if appropriate a map. Users have the option of saving a search. So what? Well, get this. Your saved search can be saved in your geodata.gov user profile and you will be notified when additional data updates are added for that search region... very slick!

    Publish Data

    Like the geographynetwork - actually, this really is an extension of or essentially another geographynetwork (although it calls a catalog of OGC WMS servers) - users can register and publish data and metadata to the portal. Publishing is performed via an online form or an upload utility.

    Do you have comments about the OneStop? Please send your view, comments, or observations to editor@geocomm.com

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