Monthly Archives: September 2012

Instrumental NSGIC Role in TFTN Win

Tom Roff (FHWA) and Steve Lewis (USDOT GIO) celebrated the culmination of joint work with NSGIC by announcing President Obama’s signing of Public Law 112-441, which authorizes the use of federal funds for the production of statewide centerline data and attribution for all paved and unpaved public roads. NSGIC’s Transportation for the Nation initiative (TFTN) has been working for a national road centerline dataset for many years, and this law provides the resources and driver for states to now collect all roads data within their boundaries and does not require the usual 20% state funding match for the effort. Planning for the data collection will begin in October, 2012, and the first data reporting will begin in 2014. Once again, NSGIC has provided significant national value encouraging the efficient and effective use of geospatial technology.

- Ed Arabas

2012 Annual Conference Keynote Speaker

Our keynote speaker, Bob Austin, PhD, of the City of Tampa, gave a presentation on four views of GIS:
- Personal View, where the main take away is that it’s all about the data. His advice is to document requirements (the ‘How’ will come later), and to never sacrifice “Good” in favor of “Fast” and “Cheap”.
- Local View, using the City of Tampa’s view of the challenges of information access. Specific challenges being Data access, Naming, Policy and Usability. A major takeaway from this view is that the policy and data sharing consume just as much time in a project as the technical components. His advice is to plan ahead for the sociological and policy aspects in project planning.
- Industry View, using his experiences with GITA (Geospatial Information & Technology Association) as the example. 85% of US Infrastructure is owned by industry, and understanding infrastructure interdependencies is key.
- National View, using his service with NGAC (National Geospatial Advisory Committee). He emphasized building once, and using many times by taking a portfolio approach. Sharing data makes sense. Check out the work they have done at www.geoplatform.gov
- A bonus 5th view is the International View, citing several examples that emphasize interoperability and the need for international standards.

He also shared the City of Tampa’s experience with the Republican National Convention and the 3 major concerns that they planned for:
- 1st concern was Hurricanes; in reality Tropical Storm Isaac prompted the cancellation of the first day of the convention.
- 2nd concern was Terrorism; in reality they did not have any terrorist attacks.
- 3rd concern was Violent Protests; in reality there were some non-violent protests, but nothing violent. There were only 2 arrests during the course of the convention.

To support the convention they stood up a situational awareness dashboard called TIGER (Tampa Information and Geographical Resources) that now has upwards of 185 data sets.

It was a great presentation to get insight into some of the different perspectives of GIS. As Bob stated, “GIS is not just a good idea, it’s inevitable”.

2012 Annual Conference Opening Speaker

The opening day of the annual conference began with an enlightening welcome from Florida’s state GIS coordinator, Richard Butgereit. He shared a couple of interesting facts about Florida. Between May and August, Florida has gone from a state of extreme drought to very wet due in part to 3 tropical storms and increased frequency of severe storms. Richard’s advice – if it thunders, run for cover!

We then had the pleasure of receiving a presentation from the State Archaeologist of Florida, James Miller, PHD, LLC, who shared examples of how GIS has made a profound difference in how they conduct their research and preservation efforts. He explained that GIS is the most powerful tool he has come across to help with his work and explain the results of his work. Examples included research into the Gainesville Depot, which they discovered had been moved 3 times since the 1800’s. Efforts are nearing completion to move the depot to its original location and restore it to become a useful building again. The second example was Heritage Park in the Bahamas. Their advice to the creators of the park – you don’t need to dig, you need a plan. Their research helped identify points of interest and the ideal location for the park using a combination of physical documents and GIS analysis. Finally, a highlight was the story of their research of Freetown in the Bahamas. Their research combined historic imagery, physical documents and interviews with former residents, including the Cooper family, to document what the town looked like in the past. They were able to identify wells, community centers, grave sites, and get a better understanding of the physical and cultural characteristics of the town. What an honor it was to hear about this research, and great examples of how GIS analysis can help preserve our past!

NSGIC 2012 Annual Conference Day 1

The NSGIC 2012 Annual conference kicked off today with a very informative and dynamic workshop facilitated by Sanborn. The workshop began with a presentation on sensor technologies, where they are today and where they are heading in the future. The presentation quickly took on the feel of an extended state caucus with an exchange of questions, answers and discussion on topics ranging from defining data classifications, quality control methodology, RFP’s and uses for 3D point clouds.

Here are some highlights:
- Suggestions for NSGIC to develop a common RFP “set” for procurement, that all states can use
- Several things drive up the cost of acquisition procurement, including: forced use of specific technologies; not allowing the experts to guide the process with creative options and lack of clarity regarding what is being requested.
- As cloud solutions become available, procurement will change for the variety of end-users and service levels, so a lot of new things to think about.
- A suggestion was made for Sanborn and NSGIC to develop a 1-pager with sample pictures for state reps to use as a handout to answer the question “why buy imagery when I can use free online resources?”

NSGIC thanks Brad Arshat, Sanchit Agarwal and Learon Dalby, they know their stuff!! Please contact them via Twitter @SanbornMap or ldalby@sanborn.com with any questions.

In true NSGIC style a discussion group met to talk about GIS as IT until about 10:45. Look for some useful tools born from this discussion to help market GIS in the midst of state leadership. Hats off to Danielle Ayan of Georgia for leading this discussion!

Looking forward to a very full day tomorrow including keynote speaker Bob Austin from the City of Tampa, LandSat and You, and the Corporate Sponsor Reception and Buffet!

Making the Case for Conference Attendance

NSGIC’s 2012 Annual Conference kicks off less than a week from today. For all who make the investments in time and money to participate, the ROI is typically very high. At least that’s what members tell us in the post-Conference evaluations and comments.

To those who have never attended or are attending for the first time, there may be concerns about the time that will be spent out of the office and the costs of travel/registration, and how those expenses will be justified. Although we know it’s there, NSGIC didn’t explain its Conference “ROI” very well or help prospective attendees justify their Conference expenses… until now.

Thanks to the efforts of several NSGIC volunteers, led by Membership Committee Chair Leland Pierce (NM), NSGIC has tools that help fill this need. “Attending NSGIC’s Annual Conference
is Worth Every Penny” is a two-page guide to identifying and quantifying the benefits of NSGIC Conference attendance. It provides helpful details on how our Conferences are organized, how NSGIC controls costs, and provides Conference Grants to help State representatives fund their participation. Read the document at http://www.nsgic.org/public_resources/Conference_ROI_060512_Final.pdfand be sure to visit the link for developing a conference attendance justification document to prove the value of attending NSGIC Conferences.