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National Address Database Summit Recap

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.

A Teenage Perspective on NSGIC

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.

Chris Diller
NSGI President-Elect.

Sentinel-2 is similar to Landsat with additional capabilities

There is an interesting article at 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.

COGO Issues Report Card for the NSDI

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.

NSGIC Comments on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act

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:

  1. The Bureau should not use parcel identification numbers because there is no standard numbering system in the United States.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

2nd National Adaptation Forum Request for Abstracts

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.

Coastal States Organization Newsletter

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.

Final Delivery to the National Broadband Map

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 (, 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.

Boundless Comments on the 2014 NSGIC Annual Conference

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.

Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces Digital Coast Act

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.

National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the launch of the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), which will competitively award nearly $1 billion in HUD Disaster Recovery funds to eligible communities. The competition will help communities recover from prior disasters and improve their ability to withstand and recover more quickly from future disasters, hazards, and shocks. To complement these funds, the Rockefeller Foundation will provide technical assistance and training workshops to every eligible state and local government. The press release can be found on HUD’s website at

All states with counties that experienced a Presidentially Declared Major Disaster in 2011, 2012 or 2013 are eligible to submit applications. This includes 48 of 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. In addition, 17 local governments that have received funding under PL 113-2 are also eligible. A full list of eligible grantees can be found in the attachment “NDRC Eligible Applicants.”

For more information or for questions, please contact

NSGIC Annual Conference - Environmetal Intelligence and Resiliency Session

Margaret Davidson is the Senior Leader Coastal Inundation and Resilience at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  She provided a thought-provoking speech on Environmental Intelligence and Resilience at the NSGIC 2014 Annual Conference in Charleston, SC.  Afterwards, the entire audience engaged in a lengthy discussion about climate and resiliency.  Extensive notes were taken during this session and they will be turned into actionable items for NSGIC State Representatives and for a new work group or committee that will deal with climate and resiliency issues. For those members who want to learn more, generate ideas for activities, or determine how to discuss the subject with naysayers, pick up the latest issue of Audubon Magazine (, with the cover on climate change and birds. Along with interviews with geospatial modelers and elected officials, there is a chapter on getting past “politics and paralysis” on the subject. Besides, birds are cool.

Forty Maps that Help Explain the World

NSGIC member Jack Maguire spotted this blog article sponsored by the Washington Post.  It has a very interesting collection of maps that range from a circa 200 AD Political Map to a map showing the range of North Korean missiles.  These maps provide an interesting perspective on our World and the diversity of the people on it.

FEMA Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the membership of the newly created Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC). As directed by Congress, the Council is tasked with developing recommendations for FEMA’s flood mapping program to ensure that flood insurance rate maps reflect the best available science and are based on the best available methodologies for considering the impact of future development on flood risk.

NSGIC’s Florida State Representative is Richard Butgereit, GISP, from the Division of Emergency Management. He was appointed to serve on TMAC in the category of STATE GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS) REPRESENTATIVE.  For more information, please follow this link.

Digital Homestead Records

Heard this story on NPR Radio yesterday afternoon “Digital Homestead Records Reopen A Crucial Chapter Of U.S. History” –

The Homestead Records Project seeks to digitize the over 800,000 Homestead Records from nearly 200 land offices in all 30 Homesteading States. Nebraska records were the first to be digitized, and they are now complete.  Next up is Arizona, followed by Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, and Alaska (in that order), but for now the records for the remaining 29 states are only available in hard copy in the National Archives – – NE Records are currently available on –, but is not a free site.  This could be an interesting historical set of land records to geocode to our state GIS maps when they become available [and if they are free].

Posted for Phil Worrall, Executive Director, Indiana Geographic Information Council, Inc.