Category Archives: Uncategorized

Digital Coast Act Update - April 28th, 2016

Yesterday the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation met to ‘markup’ seven bills including the Digital Coast Act of 2015. I’m happy to report that the bill has passed the Committee and it is now available for the full Senate to take it up for a full vote.

The Digital Coast Act of 2015 received only two amendments. One of those amendments (Senator Thune, SD) directs NOAA to “develop[ing] and maintain[ing] a best practices document that sets out the best practices used by the Secretary in carrying out the program and providing such document to the United States Geological Survey, the Corps of Engineers, and other relevant Federal agencies.” This is a strong indication that Senator Thune understands the value of constituent-driven programs like Digital Coast. This is exactly why NSGIC strongly supports and advocates for Digital Coast.

NSGIC is a charter member of the Digital Coast Partnership. Together, we work to improve and promote NOAA’s Digital Coast. Our goal is to provide improved data, tools, and training to Federal, state and local coastal managers to improve management practices and coastal resiliency. We dedicate significant staff resources to the Digital Coast Partnership and at each of the NSGIC Conferences, we hold a Coastal Caucus meeting to help inform our members about the latest geospatial initiatives affecting the nation’s coasts.

NSGIC and the other members of the Partnership have actively worked with MAPPS, an association of photogrammetry, mapping and geospatial firms, to help promote legislation that will authorize the Digital Coast Program. Bills have been introduced in the previous three sessions of Congress. The bill’s sponsor Senator Baldwin (WI) introduced S. 2325 in the 114th Congress, and Representative Ruppersberger (MD) introduced the companion bill HR 4738.

NSGIC strongly supports the passage of S. 2325 and will work with the other Digital Coast Partners and MAPPS to help enable this valuable Federal program. To learn more about the entire legislative process, click here.

NSGIC President
Chris Diller (WI)

NISC Announces New Executive Director

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.

The National Address Database - Finding the RIGHT Location

Finding The Right Location Paper

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.

PicaboStreet

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.

Jack Dangermond Shares Vision of the Future

This article summarizes a speech in which Jack Dangermond weighs in on how GIS can help make better decisions for the future.  Good food for thought!

NSGIC Seeks Qualified Candidates for Executive Director Position

The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is announcing that it is seeking qualified candidates to fulfill the role of Executive Director for the organization. The Executive Director Position details are included in the Position Description.

The council has operated for 25 years under the guidance of a Board of Directors and association management firms and supporting contractors. Over these years the council has been a force in the advocacy for a national spatial data structure. The Board of Directors has determined that in order to achieve the organization goals the council needs a full time director focused on the development of the organization. This will strengthen the council so that it develops the resources to meet its objectives.

The council President has appointed a team of members to guide the selection process which begins with this announcement. Prospective candidates should carefully read the position description and respond with cover letter and resume. In your cover letter please address your passion for the NSGIC mission and your long-term leadership for the organization. The selection process requires prospective candidates respond to a written exam. If there is any reason you may be unable to complete the exam in the required time frame please let us know.

This position announcement will remain open until April 8, 2016.

Please send your candidacy documents to:
Fred Stringfellow [ fred@stringfellowgroup.net ]

GIS group plans push for national address database, next generation 911 expansion

The president of the National States Geographic Information Council lays out his group’s priorities for the new year.

Source: GIS group plans push for national address database, next generation 911 expansion

Revolutionizing Outdated but Promising Government Mapping Tools

This is a very interesting article about AmigoCloud, a new company who appears to offer an alternate approach to GIS for government users.  I found the last point about the format open data is made available most noteworthy, and it should be kept in mind for the NAD.

 

Chicago Unveils OpenGrid Map System

The web application described here developed for the city of Chicago sounds very user friendly and worth checking out…

Chicago Unveils OpenGrid Map System

2015 NSGIC Year in Review

As we look to close out 2015, I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on all the outstanding work NSGIC has engaged in during the past year.  It is inspiring to witness, no doubt.  I thought I would take a moment to share some of my reflections with you.

2015 was a year of new direction for NSGIC.  We are entering our 25th year and I’m excited and proud to be leading the organization into the next phase.  We have moved past the concept that GIS and geospatial data are “nice to have” they are  now a “need to have”.  All NSGIC members, both past and present, have something to do with that.  While I know all of you would never take a moment and pat yourself on the back, I think you deserve to do just that.  NSGIC should be proud.

A great deal of thought and deliberation took place all year long on the strategic direction of the organization.  Just a few weeks ago the Board approved the creation of a search committee, and in 2016 NSGIC will likely hire our first Executive Director.  I’m very excited about this as it will increase our ability to grow as an organization.  More members and more attendance mean more expertise.  Growth also gives us more flexibility to communicate our advocacy agenda, and to do that with more effectiveness.

The year also seemed to be the “year of the address point.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released new rules associated with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act that now includes mandatory collection of address information by Financial Institutions.  This is a big deal because NSGIC provided written comment on address inclusion prior to the new rule change.  CFPB is on record that it would consume the National Address Database (NAD) once it is developed.

Speaking of the NAD, USDOT hosted the first-ever summit on addresses back in April that included a variety of organizations from federal, state, local, tribal, private and non-profit.  NSGIC was well-represented at that meeting and continues to be a strong force behind ensuring there is progress toward the NAD.

The White House had an opinion on addresses.  In October The White House released the Third Open Government National Action Plan for the United States of America in which they called for an Initiative to Launch a Process to Create a Consolidated Public Listing of Every Address in the United States.

MAPPS also had an opinion on addresses and NSGIC 100% supported their recent MAPPS Privacy Best Practices Guidelines (v.2) in which “Data depicting the physical locations of street addresses, without associated personal information” is public information.

Waldo Jaquith of US Open Data keynoted the Midyear Meeting and talked about the value of GIS data inside and outside of government.  During his talk Waldo challenged NSGIC to build the NAD ourselves.  Waldo’s comments are inspiring and have helped drive NSGIC to solving these issues, which brings me to an important note I’d like to make.

If you are not attending the NSGIC 2016 Midyear you will be missing out.  The Midyear is changing structure a bit to be more focused on developing outcomes.  I’m excited about this because we are taking some time to break out into “working” sessions to address real problems and hopefully develop solutions to these problems.  Be sure to get registered soon.  The dates are February 22-25, 2016 at the Annapolis Hotel.

2015 was not just all about addresses.  In February the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled “GEOSPATIAL DATA Progress Needed on Identifying Expenditures, Building and Utilizing a Data Infrastructure, and Reducing Duplicative Efforts”.  Several states participated by giving interviews, example datasets and expenditure results.  The overall report put a spotlight on our national geospatial priorities and the need to better identify geospatial expenditures and find ways to reduce duplicative efforts.

At about the same time the GAO report was released, the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) released their first-ever Report Card on the U.S. National Spatial Data Infrastructure.  Thirteen national geospatial organizations came together in unison to provide this report.  While not failing as a nation the report gave the NSDI an average rating, a “C”.  We can certainly do much better.

The report card is an important tool in helping move Senate Bill S.740 ‘Geospatial Data Act of 2015’ through Congress, which was introduced in March.  Progress continues and I’m happy to announce that as of last week Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has signed on as a co-sponsor for the bill.  We now have nine sponsors.  I’m impressed by your dedication to help write letters and seek other letters of support for the bill.  However, there is much work to be done in this area and I once again ask for your help in sending letters.   It is never too late.  If you need assistance in this area, then please reach out to me directly at chris.diller@wisconsin.gov .   I’m happy to help.

Terrific and exciting news also took place at the Annual Conference when the membership voted in favor of a MOU between NSGIC and the National Tribal Geographic Information Support Center (NTGISC).  I was very happy to sign that MOU on behalf of NSGIC.  The relationship between States and Tribes are unique. This MOU allows for more open dialog and opens the door for collaborative efforts to work on important issues.  It really opens a communication channel we never had before, and I’m excited to see how this relationship will evolve over time.

Lastly, I want to take a moment to wish each of you and your families a safe and Happy Holidays. I look forward to what 2016 will bring.

Chris Diller, NSGIC President

What Maps Really Say

NPR did this piece about maps and cartography, highlighting the fact that for a map there’s just as much value (if not more) in the reflection of what’s important to the cartographer than their purpose of navigation.  I’d love to tour the map collection they reference at the Library of Congress!  Perhaps NSGIC could arrange a tour one of these days…

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/14/457411671/map-is-an-exquisite-record-of-the-miles-and-the-millennia

Addresses on the Reservation

I heard this piece on public radio this morning:

http://www.npr.org/2015/11/02/452824825/navigating-navajo-nation-soon-to-be-easier-for-amazon-ambulances

Augmented Reality Sandbox video

We should ask them to come to one of conferences and let us play with this.  Imagine what classrooms could so with this technology!

MAPPS Privacy Guidelines Endorsement

The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) Board of Directors unanimously endorsed recent guidelines produced by the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS).  The guidelines outline best practices for citizen privacy and geospatial data.  The MAPPS guidelines, adopted by their organization in July, are designed to provide a self-regulatory framework for its collection of private firms engaged in geospatial technologies and data.   They are intended to provide guidance on when companies should seek individual consent for gathering geospatial data and when such data are not breaching privacy concerns and will serve public good.  It addresses such issues as geospatial data derived from aerial imagery and drawing the line at not collecting real-time, personally identifiable data.

The NSGIC endorsed the common-sense guidelines during their August Board meeting. NSGIC President Shelby Johnson is quoted as saying, “I’m very proud that our board acted in unison on this endorsement. We totally agree with MAPPS on this issue, and it’s very important for the industry as a whole and those of us in government to be on the same page.”  This builds on NSGIC’s existing policy about what data should be considered private and what isn’t.   State Geographic Information System (GIS) coordinating councils have recognized the complexity of the issue surrounding privacy for citizens.  At the same time, enormous societal benefits can be gained by leveraging GIS technologies and data.  The MAPPS guidelines are straightforward and should be applied equally across the private and public sectors.

2015 – 17 NSGIC Strategic Goals Approved

On Monday this week the NSGIC Board of Directors approved the 2015 -17 Strategic Goals. The development of the strategic goals is the result of many hours of discussion and interaction by leadership.  It all began in February with a member survey and a planning retreat as part of the mid-year meeting in Annapolis.  I can say these goals truly reflect the pulse of the membership and I thank all who participated and provided feedback to the survey.

There are a few items to point out about the strategic goals.  You will notice that the core vision and mission of NSGIC has not changed.  The Geospatial Maturity Assessment, the GIS Inventory and advocating for the National Geospatial Data Act remain atop of the list of our priorities.  You will also notice that the document has been streamlined considerably to four pages.  As a result, the document itself should be easier to read and understand.

The last item I will point out is the focus on building more support for member participation.  Leadership heard “loud and clear” the need to grow our member base and provide increased opportunities for current members to participate, so that is what we’ve done.  Goal 3 is heavily focused on improving member growth and participation.

The NSGIC Strategic Goals can be found at the following link.  http://www.nsgic.org/public_resources/NSGIC_Strategic_Goals_2015-2017_Approved.pdf

Chris Diller, President-Elect

Glossary of NSGIC Acronyms

When it comes to the use and abuse of acronyms, NSGIC takes a backseat to no one.  Recognizing that not everybody, particularly new members and new attendees to our conferences, will understand all of the acronyms flying around, the Membership Services Committee has created a glossary for members and conference attendees to use.  Simply go to the website and use a find command to learn what that acronym meant.  The glossary will be updated as needed, particularly prior to the two annual conferences.

: http://www.nsgic.org/public_resources/NSGIC_Acronym_List_070815.pdf