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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.
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
James Knudson passed away at the home he shared with his wife Kimberly on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. Jim was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. He studied geology and computer science at West Virginia University earning degrees in both fields. Jim built a career in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) working with private firms and with Pennsylvania government as the Commonwealth’s first Geospatial Coordinator. He also served as the Deputy State Chief Information Officer within the Office of Administration.
NSGIC members knew Jim as both the Pennsylvania State Representative and as a private sector partner. He is shown in the photograph below giving a presentation at the October 2006 Annual Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jim was always a step ahead and willing to share his work with others. He embodied the NSGIC spirit, and he will be missed.
The National Information Sharing Consortium Board of Directors has selected Kenny Ratliff as the NISC’s first Executive Director. Mr. Ratliff brings nearly two decades of experience to the NISC, with excellent skills in partnership building, collaboration, and information sharing. As Executive Director, he will work with the Board of Directors to advance the NISC’s mission and lead the organization with fundraising, strategic planning, and business development efforts.
NSGIC members know Kenny from his previous service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky as GIS Manager in the Department of Military Affairs, and as the Director of the Kentucky Division of Geographic Information. To view the full announcement, click here.
NSGIC believes the selection of a steward for the NAD should be driven by these factors
NSGIC believes that a nationwide digital map layer of all addressed locations will be one of the most impactful map information resources. Success with the proposed National Address Database (NAD) will serve as the basis for hundreds of applications, from directing emergency response to fueling business analytics to improving government and commercial services.
This spring, NSGIC drafted a set of basic requirements for the federal-level orchestration of the NAD by, an as-yet-unselected lead agency. The document urges careful and thorough consideration of the strengths and weakness of candidate agencies. The lead agency tasked to implement and manage the NAD must be able to commit to a well-funded effort that sustains a current, complete and open product of all addresses. NSGIC also recommends that all parties interested in the NAD, keep it simple so we can quickly facilitate its development.
Simple. Powerful. Physical addresses paired with their X/Y map coordinates
As can happen with joint efforts, the NAD initiative could become mired in ever increasing detail and complexity. Focusing on the most basic public safety use cases, in alignment with emerging standards from NENA (the national, association for 9-1-1 service providers), provides the best path forward. Allowing the NAD to be subjected to ever-increasing requirements will likely ensure its failure, which would be a national disgrace.
The NSGIC NAD requirements document was presented as a lightning talk at the April meeting of the FGDC’s National Geospatial Advisory Committee by NSGIC President-Elect, Bert Granberg.
If you have been to any NSGIC meeting, or have read the April 13th post on the National Address Database Summit meeting in Linthicum, Maryland, you will know that realizing the development of a publicly accessible National Address Point Database (NAPD) with X and Y coordinates, is a very high priority for the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) and many others. Nearly all government service delivery requires a NAPD, and creating one will significantly reduce government duplication of effort and waste.
The final report from the National Address Database Summit meeting is now available at this link. You can also find more information on the Summit Meeting, including the presentations, at this link. NSGIC appreciates the efforts of the U.S. Department of Transportation to host this meeting and work on this important initiative.
Realizing the development of a publicly accessible National Address Point Database (NAPD) with X and Y coordinates, is a very high priority for the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) and many others. Nearly all government service delivery requires a NAPD, and creating one will significantly reduce government duplication of effort and waste.
We saw the beginning of the process at the National Address Database Summit that was held last week at the Maritime Institute facilities in Linthicum, Maryland. It was sponsored by the USDOT with input from the U.S. Census Bureau during the planning stages. Participants from every sector were invited to attend this event and to engage in the facilitated discussions designed to identify the business case; governance and partnership issues; outreach and communication; and the technology that will be required to effectively develop and maintain a NAPD. Facilitation was provided by a team of expert facilitators provided by Applied Geographics and the Lead Alliance. They will also be drafting reports to detail the outcomes of the discussions.
The composition of the attendees was critical to the success of this meeting, because it represented the range of stakeholders that must be at the table. In addition to the 25 observers to the process, there were 10 Federal, 16 state, 17 local, and 2 tribal government representatives. They were joined by 8 private companies and 5 nonprofit/trade organizations that all have a vested interest in the development of a NAPD.
The event started with welcoming comments from Steve Lewis (USDOT GIO), Richard McKinney (USDOT CIO), Rolf Schmitt (Dep. Director, USDOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics), and Ivan Deloatch (Staff Director, FGDC). They each provided their thoughts on the value of a NAPD and the status of current efforts, ranging from the state of the current bureaucracy, to the highly personal experience of McKinney who, as a young man had to walk out into a foggy night to flag down a lost ambulance responding to his father’s heart attack. McKinney’s level of commitment was clearly demonstrated when he said that “if the participants of the Summit can figure out the identified issues, he would use the authority of his office to make it happen.”
Before the breakout sessions began, the participants were exposed to many of the diverse business requirements for a NAPD ranging from the reporting requirements for mortgage banks, to the services provided by the public safety answering points (PSAPs or 9-1-1 Call Centers) that send police, fire and ambulance crews to your front door as quickly as possible. The messages were clear. We all need a National Address Point Database to sustain business requirements and to ensure the safety of our loved ones.
It was noted that the end goal is clearly achievable, because it has already been accomplished in the United Kingdom and Denmark. Open Addresses was cited as a successful example, while noting that it may not be a sustainable model and that government must provide the appropriate leadership. We also know that several state address programs are in-place to coordinate the development of statewide address point databases.
Now we must come together to sustain this effort, and then finish the job in the U.S. Based on initial reports from the participants, we are well underway. The draft report from the Summit is expected by May 8th. The organizers of this event will provide their comments and the report will be finalized ten days later.
My oldest daughter, Megan, just turned 13 years old this week. Megan saw my Midyear badge sitting in a pile and asked if I would get to meet the “real President” after I become President of NSGIC. I told her it didn’t work that way.
She thought the real President should consider what would happen if NSGIC didn’t exist? I pondered the question for about 15 seconds. What if NSGIC didn’t exist? She asked me the implications of our nonexistence and I replied that lives would continue to be in danger. I cited 9-1-1 as an example and talked about the basic principles of addresses and the importance of tying the address to a coordinate. “Like Lat Long?” Way to go Megan!
I explained to her that a mobile 9-1-1 call doesn’t always find the exact location of the mobile phone. Her response was priceless. “Well that is stupid. That sort of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?”
NSGIC is a wise and thoughtful organization, but if you want perspective on something, every once in a while you need to ask a teenager. They tell it like it is.
There is an interesting article at http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31602534 about the Sentinel-2 satellite launch scheduled for June 12th. This ‘bird’ flying out of Europe will provide some continuity with the Landsat mission, but it has additional multispectral bands, a much wider swath, and higher resolution color.
NSGIC is a charter member of Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) and, with the twelve other member organizations, we supported the release of the Report Card on the U.S. National Spatial Data Infrastructure. We are hopeful that the Report Card and other impending developments will result in some much needed attention for the issues that have slowed the development of the NSDI. Those issues include the FGDC’s lack of authority over Federal agencies, no clear mandate for building the NSDI, no Congressional oversight, the lack of sufficient stakeholder involvement, and insufficient resourcing to build the NSDI. The report card is one more step toward our nation recognizing the need for a National Spatial Data Infrastructure. You are encouraged to read this document and engage in the dialog that will begin at our Midyear Meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, on February 24th.
On October 29th, Shelby Johnson, NSGIC President and Arkansas State GIO, forwarded comments on proposed rule changes issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Docket No. CFPB-2014-0019, RIN 3170-AA10). The Bureau is trying to determine how to track and analyze home mortgages with greater granularity than in the past. NSGIC’s suggestions include:
- The Bureau should not use parcel identification numbers because there is no standard numbering system in the United States.
- The Bureau should use address points and sub-addresses with the caveat that approximately 30 counties in the U.S. have not converted to physical addresses and they cover approximately 12 million addresses.
- The Bureau could partner with states to ‘roll-up’ local government address data and make it publicly available.
NSGIC noted that local governments are the address authorities and at least 21 states are already partnering with their local governments to produce high-quality address point data. As they are posted, you will be able to view all of the comments on this proposed rule change at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/notice-and-comment/
You are invited to submit proposals for the 2nd National Adaptation Forum, the biennial gathering of the adaptation community to foster information exchange, innovation and mutual support for a better tomorrow. The Forum will take place from May 12 – 14, 2015 in St. Louis, MO. It will engage key individuals from industry, academia, government, non-profit organizations, communities—all working across traditional boundaries to develop adaptation solutions and partnerships. The Program for 2015 centers on adaptation integration: Make adaptation part of everything you do, and Break out of silos to create holistic, durable solutions. Submit your proposal here. Deadline for submissions is October 24, 2014.
Those of you interested in the resiliency issues faced by the 35 coastal states and insular areas should consider subscribing to the weekly newsletter published by the Coastal States Organization. One example in the current edition is “As a part of President Obama’s continuing commitment to help promote resilient coastal systems, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the State of Maine signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling $195,000 to evaluate sand resources for coastal resilience and restoration planning.”
You can read the most recent edition of the newsletter at this link. It contains many articles like the one above that are related to resiliency issues in your states. You can also view other editions or subscribe to the newsletter at this link.
The 1st of October marked the deadline for the 10th and final delivery of broadband availability data to NTIA by all of the state grantees. This program produced a nationwide, seamless spatial database of broadband availability (www.broadbandmap.gov), updated every 6 months over the 5 years of the program. This effort conclusively demonstrated the value and success of a model that engages states as key coordination partners in nationwide data projects. NSGIC had a significant role in getting this program off to a good start. We are proud of our contribution, the good work done by the states, and the National Broadband Map.
Read the linked blog post of Juan Marin, Chief Technology Officer of Boundless, to see what he has to say about the 2014 NSGIC Annual Conference.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation on September 18th to help Wisconsin communities along the Great Lakes better prepare for storms, cope with varying lake levels, and strengthen economic development planning efforts along the shore.
“Our Great Lakes are a great asset for our quality of life but also for our long-term economic security. Wisconsin’s Great Lakes communities face a variety of challenges to keep their harbors open, their waters clean and their beaches ready for visitors,” said Senator Baldwin. “This bill ensures that our coastal communities have the resources and tools they need to adapt to changing environmental conditions, maintain healthy shores, and make smart planning decisions to support their local economies and way of life.”
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) currently assembles and hosts the Digital Coast Project, a collaborative online database of the most up-to-date coastal information, and makes it available to both the public and private sectors for use in community planning and disaster response. NOAA also trains coastal communities how to decipher and use the high-tech mapping data to make accurate decisions and smart investments in coastal communities.
Baldwin’s Digital Coast Act authorizes the next phase in coastal mapping at NOAA by ensuring that coastal managers and developers will continue to have the data to make smart choices for economic development, shoreline management and coastal restoration. The Act supports further development of the current project, including increasing access to uniform, up-to-date data, to help communities get the coastal data they need to respond to emergencies, plan for long-term coastal resilience, and manage their water resources.
“Our nation’s coasts are not only where the majority of our population lives and works, much of our nation’s natural heritage and wealth in natural resources are also concentrated in these areas,” said Todd Holschbach, The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin. “Working with Digital Coast has helped The Nature Conservancy’s Wisconsin, Great Lakes and coastal conservation staff access and share data and tools with partners to improve resilience, enhancing the environment and economies of communities across the country.”
“Coastal areas are under increasing demand. Without good data, it is difficult for communities and counties to balance the sometimes competing demands placed on our coasts. Planners in Wisconsin support this legislation so that we can have the data and information to help people and communities make wise, data-driven decisions for these critical coastal areas. We applaud Sen. Baldwin’s leadership on this issue,” said Lawrence Ward, Jr., AICP, President of Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association and Executive Director, Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
The Digital Coast Act is co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Begich (D-AK), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Angus King (I-ME). Bipartisan companion legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Additional support includes: Continental Mapping Consultants, Quantum Spatial, Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department, American Planning Association (APA), Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), Coastal States Organization (CSO), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA), National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Urban Land Institute (ULI), Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS), and National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).
The Digital Coast Act is part of NSGIC’s Advocacy Agenda.