Category Archives: Uncategorized - Page 2

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

Final Report from the National Address Database Summit is Available

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.

NHAP partnership videos on new NSGIC YouTube Channel

Jim Lacy (Wisconsin) has posted a couple of videos to YouTube concerning the National High Altitude Photography Program (NHAP) partnership program.   These videos, shown at a recent National Digital Orthoimagery Program (NDOP) meeting, help the viewer to understand the importance of coordination and partnerships to develop consistent, reliable and standardized imagery across the conterminous United States for the benefit of all common uses, needs and data collection.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfQelVegphjQsH7mr9GNUUw/videos

Thanks to Mike Vanhook, NSGIC Membership Services co-chair for setting up a NSGIC YouTube channel, one more effort to provide everyone with a richer membership experience.

Texas Flooding Reveals Poor Notification System

This article describes the challenges of getting notices out to the right people in the right places at the right time about dangerous conditions in their area.

http://www.govtech.com/dc/articles/In-Wake-of-Texas-Floods-Experts-Concede-High-Tech-Warning-Systems-Flawed.html

Cyber Archaeologists using Photogrammetry

I heard this piece on NPR and thought it was pretty darn cool!  They’re collecting crowd-sourced images and photogrammetry techniques to re-create sites and artifacts destroyed in the Middle East.

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/06/01/411138497/cyber-archaeologists-rebuild-destroyed-artifacts

NSGIC Attends First-Ever White House Mapathon

20150521_165153140_iOSOn Thursday May 21st, 2015 I attended the first-ever “Mapathon” event hosted by the White House (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHQh68bXDqg ).  Not only was it a tremendous honor to represent NSGIC, it was a personal experience I will not soon forget.  The event took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds.  In attendance were a variety of federal agencies, non-profit groups, some international representatives and a very small number of for-profit companies.

The goal of the event was to “…celebrate and actively participate in Open Mapping.”  Open mapping is sometimes referred to as crowd mapping or crowdsourced mapping.  The White House invite I received stated, “…geospatial data has been a key component of the Administration’s Open Data initiatives” and promoted the Map Give project (http://mapgive.state.gov/why-map/ ) as a starting point for presentations and discussion.  There has been tremendous success in open mapping efforts during and after disasters, which is one reason the White House is keen on promoting it.  Examples of successful crowd mapping are the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, Philippines, and Nepal disasters.

The White House held the event to raise awareness of open mapping in the United States, and to grow the number of volunteer mappers.  Attendees had the opportunity to engage in one of three mapping activities.  Mapgive, Power Service Area Mapping (a program under development by the Dept. of Energy), and Every Kid in a Park (an initiative that will improve facility information on public lands that have educational activities for kids) were three project areas in which attendees could participate.

I commend the White House for bringing attention to open mapping and the benefits that collaborative crowd mapping provides.  Having a spotlight on the subject certainly raises the conversation significantly.  Open mapping has many positives and why it is attracting a lot of attention, but it does have some drawbacks.  For example, it would be difficult to crowd map cadastral (property ownership) or elevation data.

Increasingly, GIS coordinators and professionals are facing real questions about the benefit and limitations of open mapping.  NSGIC must understand these issues and how authoritative government datasets (e.g. address points, cadastral) can co-exist with open mapping initiatives.   This fall during our annual conference in Kansas City (http://www.nsgic.org/2015-nsgic-annual-conference ) I expect some significant discussions to take place on open mapping.  I’m inviting you all to attend and engage in that discussion.

Chris Diller – WI, NSGIC President-Elect

PEW Open Data study

The PEW Center for Research published an excellent study last month that analyzed public attitudes around Open Data.  It’s an excellent report and you can glean the highlights from the Executive Summary at the beginning.

http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2015/04/PI_OpenData_042115.pdf

If you believe, as I do, that Open Data is a very important movement for us to align with and pay attention to as Geospatial Professionals, it will be clear from this report that there is a pretty considerable gap that needs to be closed.  Awareness of open data and its benefits is low.

Portland students work with local law enforcement to map crime

Another good example of benefits to citizens gained through the use of GIS:

http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/Portland-Police-Graduate-Students-Join-Forces-to-Map-Crime-Hotspots.html