100 Resilient Cities | Resilience in Action

Helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

Source: 100 Resilient Cities | Resilience in Action

Federal-Level Leadership for Nationwide Parcel GIS Data

This June, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD) teams co-sponsored a National Parcel Data Summit at USGS Headquarters in Reston, VA. One of the outcomes of that meeting was a recognition by the participants that:

  • – nationwide parcel GIS data is needed to support a diverse set of important application areas, and
  • – federal leadership is needed in order to best facilitate an efficient aggregation and publication of nationwide parcel GIS data.

The federal agencies at the Summit made it clear that they needed to know what the broader user community believed to be the requirements for federal leadership on parcels. In other words, what would be the role and responsibilities for a lead federal agency related to ensuring development and maintenance of a national parcel data set?

Over the summer, Cy Smith, the State of Oregon’s GIO, led a small work group of Summit attendees in the development of a document articulating requirements for federal leadership on a national parcel data set. The work group published its recommendations in a paper entitled, Leadership for a National Parcel Data Set. This document was delivered to Ivan DeLoatch at FGDC and David Alexander at DHS HIFLD as supporting information for a late September federal agency meeting to determine parcel data requirements and to discuss which agency or agencies will provide national leadership. Work group members, listed at the end of the document, included county government, state government, private industry, and geospatial professional associations.

Earlier this year, NSGIC took a similar approach in making recommendations relating to the National Address Database. This effort prefaced the FGDC decision to add Addresses as an official National Geospatial Data Asset theme, and the selection of Census and USDOT as the co-leads. NSGIC encourages federal decision-makers to likewise use the valuable parcel recommendations and observations made by the post-Summit workgroup.

New Federal Focus on Address Data Can Save Lives, Safeguard Resources and Improve Public Services

Adoption of Address Theme Lauded by National States Geographic Information Council

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) that it has established a new National Geospatial Data Asset Address Theme to support ongoing work to develop a National Address Database was met with approval by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), the nonprofit that convenes senior geospatial coordinators for states, districts and territories across the United States.

“With this shift in policy, we look forward to the work that the named Lead Agencies of the Department of Transportation and Census Bureau will accomplish together, drawing on the strengths of each agency, to build the comprehensive address database through a truly national process,” said NSGIC President Chris Diller.

Addresses in the U.S. are created at the local level, city and county. States are prepared to act as intermediaries in collecting and organizing that data. Several states are far advanced in doing that work. The states look to the Federal government as the coordinating body to pull state data together to create a national address database, said Diller.

FGDC’s new focus on address points acknowledges that finer-grained location information has great utility for public safety, policy and planning, and demography. Improved address information on roads and demographic statistics for block and tract summary areas will support the essential functions of government including wide area disaster response, time-critical emergency response and other 911 services, financial and taxation oversight, and elections management.

Addresses have been a high-priority data theme of NSGIC since 2006, with the formation of an Address Work Group and production of a position paper on a “master” address file for state and local governments. In 2012, NSGIC members led an effort at the FGDC National Geographic Advisory Committee to assess the need for a National Address Database.

Since that time, NSGIC has worked closely with the Census Bureau and Department of Transportation towards development of a national system to gather, organize and share address data to meet a host of needs of government at all levels. In a Department of Transportation pilot program launched earlier this year, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC, joined pilot states Arizona and Arkansas in contributing address data.

The Department of Commerce National Telecommunications & Information Administration State Broadband Program (SBP) is widely seen as a successful model for state-led address point programs. Launched in 2009, the State Broadband Program is designed to facilitate the integration of broadband and information technology into state and local economies via state entities and nonprofits. Because accurate data is critical for broadband planning, the SBP assists states in gathering data twice a year on the availability, speed and location of broadband services, as well as services used by public institutions.

“As with the State Broadband Program, funding for the FGDC Address Theme efforts will be critical,” said Diller. “Many small jurisdictions do not have the resources to create an electronic file of their addresses. They have the resources to maintain that database, but need help setting things up.”

NSGIC advocates for open sharing of taxpayer-funded geospatial data, asserting that open data sharing makes the most current and accurate geospatial data available for decisions affecting economic development, social services, public safety, emergency management, human or environmental health, agriculture, natural resources, planning and transportation.

More information:
Address Points for the Nation, a NSGIC issue brief (2015)
The Need for a National Address Database: A Report Submitted by the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (2012)
Geospatial Data Sharing – Guidelines for Best Practices (2011)

Molly Schar, NSGIC Executive Director

25th Annual Conference: Connecting our Past to Present with an Eye Toward the Future

In less than two months NSGIC will be holding its 25th Annual Conference.  I am inviting you to attend.  Whether you have been a long time member or one of the original members who started this great organization, please come.  If you are in federal, state, local or tribal government, please come.  If you work in the private sector, for a non-profit, in education or are retired, please come to Indianapolis. All are welcome.

I am personally very excited about this conference.  You as members make our conferences great.  They are great because of the diversity of presenters we are able to attract and the rich content they provide.  The value in attending our conferences and becoming a member is that each of us will gain new ideas, collaborate on solving problems, establish or strengthen our connections with others, and share our knowledge.  This is the essence of NSGIC.  This is the reason NSGIC first met in 1991 followed by its first conference in Santa Fe, NM, in 1992.  It is the reason I attended my first conference in 2006 and have kept coming back year after year.

The 25th Annual Conference comes with an opportunity to recognize our past, yet the agenda is loaded with new ideas that will carry us forward. Why celebrate our past?  It does three things.  It shows respect for the challenges and efforts that came before us, it allows us to appreciate our current blessings, and finally it allows us to carry forward lessons learned so we don’t make the same mistakes.  These are three principles I adhere to in my own life and I believe should be applied to NSGIC.

There are a lot of special surprises being planned to help us celebrate 25 years.  I can’t tell what they are or they wouldn’t be surprises now, would they?  I’m not sure how we can ever top last year’s social event with fireworks at the WWI museum in Kansas City, unless of course we do fireworks again, but I can share a few things with you now.

For the first time, NSGIC has an executive director and Molly Schar will help me kick off the conference in style with a brief welcome message and Molly’s observations after four months on the job.  I have gotten to know Molly the last couple of months and I’m excited to introduce her to the membership.  You will have all week to introduce yourself to Molly, so don’t be shy.  NSGICers shy? Yeah, right!

The conference will also feature Admiral David Simpson from the Federal Communication Commission as the keynote speaker on the hot topic of Next Generation 9-1-1.  I had a chance to visit with Admiral Simpson earlier this summer and I think you will find him to be engaging and passionate about location accuracy for 9-1-1 and the need to provide our 9-1-1 centers with more accurate and comprehensive mapping data.

Wednesday afternoon is going to be special.  We have a 30 minute presentation on NSGIC history, a past presidents panel with some of our past presidents providing reflection from the early years of NSGIC, and finally a 25th anniversary celebration at the NCAA museum where we can all enjoy an evening of reflection and a bit of fun.   Be sure to represent your alma mater and wear your college colors.  It would be fun to see where each of you went to school.

Lastly, “In celebrating 25 years of facilitating smart policy, partnership-building, innovation and professional growth,” the Board of Directors has established a series of new awards called the Geospatial Excellence Awards.  I want to encourage our state reps to submit nominations by September 12, 2016.  If you know of anyone or any organization who is deserving, please consider submitting a nomination to info@nsgic.org  Awards will be announced during the conference.

I look forward to seeing you all in Indianapolis very soon!

Chris Diller (WI)
NSGIC President

Community Resilience

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages a multi-faceted program, assisting communities and stakeholders on issues related to buildings and the inter-dependencies of physical infrastructure systems. The Community Resilience Program, part of NIST’s broader disaster resilience work, complements efforts by others in the public and private sectors. NIST focuses on research, community planning and guidance, and stakeholder engagement.

Source: Community Resilience

Resilient Counties August 2016

Click here to read the August 2016 NACo Resilient Counties monthly newsletter – Resilient Counties August 2016

NACo Resilient Counties Initiative

In order to remain healthy, vibrant, safe and economically competitive, America’s counties must be able to anticipate and adapt to all types of change.

Learn More Here: Resilient Counties Initiative | NACo

Assessing the Next Gen 911 Funding Gap

This is an excellent article that summarizes where most states are with funding NG911 and how much it may cost to get it fully deployed across the country:


As a Heat Wave Builds, Obama Wisely Presses for Community Cohesion - The New York Times

With a heat wave building, President Obama uses Twitter to press communities to check for vulnerable neighbors.

Source: As a Heat Wave Builds, Obama Wisely Presses for Community Cohesion – The New York Times

As Storms Erode California's Cliffs, Buried Village Could Get Washed Away : NPR

Contributed By:  Leland Pierce
NM Geospatial Advisory Committee

Thought this might be of interest and wanted to pass it along: the big storms off the California coast in recent years are threatening Native American archaeological sites due to consistent erosion.  In the audio portion of the story is a great quote about not being able to do anything without their maps and GIS-and geospatial technology is huge out west in terms of cultural resources.

Until now, the archaeological philosophy at Redwood National Park has been “keep it in the ground.” But for one Native American site, climate change may force the park to reconsider that approach.

Source: As Storms Erode California’s Cliffs, Buried Village Could Get Washed Away : NPR

NSGIC Online Mapping Platform


NSGIC Online Mapping Platform

NSGIC has launched a new Online Mapping Platform based on Esri ArcGIS Technology. Our Continuum of Natural Disasters project is our first official use of this site, but more projects are being planned. If you would like to suggest ideas and or contribute maps / apps / data to this platform please let us know. To access the NSGIC Online Mapping Platform click HERE

Open Data Leader Waldo Jaquith Heads to 18F

Some of you who attended the 2015 midyear may remember Waldo Jaquith as our keynote speaker.  It appears he’s moving up in the world!

Article on Waldo Jaquith

GovTech Article on New Government Uses for GIS

This article talks about the innovative ways GIS is being used to engage citizens by their local governments and to improve government services.  It’s a good read.

Introducing Molly Schar as NSGIC Executive Director

MollyScharOn behalf of the NSGIC Board of Directors, it is with great delight that I announce the hiring of Molly Schar as NSGIC’s first executive director.

During the search process, Molly impressed the search committee with not only her extensive background working with government and nonprofit organizations in advocacy, management, and communications roles but also with the creative ideas and enthusiasm she brought to our discussions about NSGIC’s future. I am confident that as you meet Molly in the coming weeks and months, you will also appreciate her warmth and candor, as well as the distinct perspective she brings to our organization.

Nearly two years ago NSGIC embarked on a journey to find our first executive director when I sat down with former NSGIC presidents Kenny Miller and Shelby Johnson by the fireplace at Kenny’s house in Maryland contemplating NSGIC’s future. I recall that during those early discussions we identified the need to better serve our membership, diversify our base by finding ways to grow it and develop a strategy that complements our volunteers’ commitment to NSGIC rather than asking members to do more than they can offer.

In 25 years of NSGIC, our organization has had plenty of success. However, the paradigm has shifted and so we must shift as well. Instead of trying to convince the people we work for that GIS is an essential element to decision making, we are now asked to do more with GIS than ever before. As a result, we have less time to collaborate amongst ourselves and therefore, NSGIC needs a bit more help than our membership can offer.

Not too long ago I was provided a Directions Magazine interview of Past President Bill Johnson from 2004. During that interview, Bill predicted that NSGIC would have an Executive Director within five years.

“Our hope as an organization is that we can continue to expand our financial base to the point where we can afford a full-time Executive Director, and I really believe it will be possible to reach that goal within five years, or perhaps sooner.” Bill Johnson, 2004

Bill was off about seven years but his vision was on point.

Molly began her government career with the National Credit Union Administration in Alexandria, Va., as a public affairs specialist. As a member of the public and congressional affairs office, Molly represented the federal agency and its priorities to a number of different audiences, including national and regional media. From there, Molly moved to the World Council of Credit Unions, where she directed its Washington advocacy efforts before federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. In that role, she served actively as part of the Washington-based Microenterprise Coalition and U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council as legislative committee co-chair.

Molly also worked in Washington as the head of the stewardship team for the development office of the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. There, she directed the execution of advanced strategy for donor retention and growth, focusing on effective donor communications in the complex and fast-paced disaster relief organization.

During a stint on the West Coast, Molly was campaign director of the million-dollar-donation-at-a-time “Women Moving Millions” campaign by the Women’s Funding Network, based in San Francisco. She also served for more than five years as the executive director of a medical association focused on leadership development.

Molly makes her home in New Orleans, La., on the “third coast.” A water lover, Molly has lived on boats in Washington, DC, as well as the Northern California coast. Currently living in a camelback shotgun house in New Orleans’ historic Esplanade Ridge neighborhood, Molly says she doesn’t own a boat on the Gulf Coast … yet.

Please join me in welcoming Molly to NSGIC as she hits the ground running.

• Molly Schar on LinkedIn
• Molly Schar on Twitter

Chris Diller, WI
NSGIC President

NSGIC's Continuum of Natural Disasters Project Launch

NSGIC Continuum of Natural DisastersNSGIC is pleased to announce its Continuum of Natural Disasters project which was designed to raise awareness of the nature, type and frequency of federally-declared natural disasters and how geospatial data can improve government efforts to plan for, mitigate and respond to these events.

Project Deliverables:  Three basic products were completed as part of this effort, including a report stressing the value of sharing geospatial data to effectively respond to disasters, a data matrix indicating sources of publicly available geospatial data, and a set of online maps and apps using FEMA’s federally-declared natural disaster data published on the new NSGIC Online Mapping Platform hosted on ArcGIS.

Project Funding:  This material was prepared by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) with funding assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NSGIC served as a professional services subcontractor to Woolpert, Inc. to develop this content and NSGIC is solely responsible for its content.

Project Resources:  All products may be reached by clicking on the ‘Natural Disasters’ button on the NSGIC Home Page or by going directly to the landing page for this project at https://www.nsgic.org/natural-disasters.  The report has been endorsed by the Association of State Flood Plain Managers (ASFPM), National Association of Counties (NACo), and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (NAPSG).  We encourage other organizations to forward these links to their members.

The project deliverables include a written report, data matrix and interactive web map