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 http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2014/HUDNo_14-109.

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 resilientrecovery@hud.gov.

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 (http://www.audubonmagazine.org/), 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.

Pulled pork, a broken thumb and hydration...

It’s that time again.  The 2014 annual meeting kicked off today in Charleston.  With some of the only free time in a traditionally packed agenda, many of us took the opportunity to check out some of the local cuisine, and stumbled on the Second Sunday festivities on King Street.  Lots of local shopping and live music to enjoy along the way.  I highly recommend checking out the Charleston City Market downtown on Market St.  It seems to be THE place to go for locally made items like jewelry, palmetto baskets and an assortment of souvenirs to purchase for loved ones back home.  The locals will certainly appreciate the business!  We were lucky that the weather held up and the buildings and abundance of huge old oak trees provided some shade.  Unfortunately that didn’t help with the humidity, but those of us from the east coast are lucky to be a bit more used to it then our partners from the west.

So what does one do when the majority of the group wants to go for BBQ and you have a broken thumb?  You ask the waiter for something to cover it so you can enjoy your sandwich of course!  Luckily for Ed Arabas they had rubber gloves that did the job.  He had the recent misfortune of breaking his thumb in a bike accident.  For anyone here, he’ll be happy to provide more details if you ask. ;-)

Now after a day of talking shop with our counterparts, it’s time to see how NSGIC hospitality combines with southern hospitality and for the real networking to begin.  Hopefully our members, both new and old, followed the advice of our next president and past president, and hydrated well.  A whole new day of meetings and information sharing starts early, so good to be prepared for anything.

Historic Maps of London

This is an awesome series of historic maps of London that offers a glimpse of early cartography.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/09/world/gallery/london-maps/index.html?hpt=hp_c4

Disaster Lessons Learned

This article describes interviews with several CIO’s who have dealt with significant disasters.  GIS is mentioned a few times; it’s certainly an interesting read!

http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/Hard-Won-Experience-Lessons-from-Americas-Biggest-Disasters-and-Emergencies.html

Where the Wage Gap is and isn't

This map shows where the wage gap between men and women is the most pronounced, and the most even.  Depressing but true.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/09/02/map-where-working-women-are-most-equal/

NYC Tackles Rising Lawsuits with Data and Maps

For those of you who have heard of CompStat, NYC has developed a similar tool to track lawsuits in relation to government services, called ClaimStat.  This article describes how GIS analysis is being used to help reduce lawsuits and improve government performance.

http://www.govtech.com/data/New-York-Tackles-Rising-Lawsuit-Costs-with-Data-and-Maps.html

The Top Five Things You Should Know about UAV's

This excellent article from Directions Magazine provides educational information about UAV’s (aka drones, but not the preferred term).  Their increased use will certainly affect the GIS industry.

http://www.directionsmag.com/articles/top-five-things-you-need-to-know-about-drones-and-gis/414810

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.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/12/40-maps-that-explain-the-world/?lines

Government Business Needs for Addresses

NSGIC has begun documenting the hundreds of state, local and federal government business needs for addresses. By drawing attention to the importance of address data, we hope to justify efforts to coordinate address collection, management, and uses across all levels of government. While NSGIC still considers it to be a work-in-progress, this information is being tracked in a publicly available Google doc – Address Business Needs.

Sometimes, the use of an address is as simple as placing a letter or package into the mail system. Other times, a correct address location can save a life. The problem is that government doesn’t do a very good job of tracking addresses. Typically, a local “address authority” assigns an address and then notifies a few other (usually local) agencies about the new address. But no agency is assigned (or assumes) a custodial role of maintaining an authoritative database of addresses (and importantly, their physical location in space) that can be used by others in that local government or at other levels of government.

NSGIC’s initial list of government business needs for addresses includes well over 100 use cases. Our list of state uses is the most complete, with nearly two dozen generic agencies using addresses in at least 67 different ways. Since address assignments typically originate with local governments, each state government needs to coordinate with hundreds of local cities and counties to collect authoritative address data. The US Post Office and US Census Bureau also create and maintain data collection partnerships with local government, but are forbidden by law from sharing their compiled address datasets with other agencies or levels of government.

There are three separate tabs on the Google document to delineate governmental business needs – one tab each for local, state, and federal government. An initial tab provides an overview of the purpose, process, and contents of the document. For each business need listed, we list:

A. The agency/department that uses the address data;
B. The business function name/label within the governmental division;
C. The spatial function that the address data is created/collected to serve (e.g. delivery, district determination, service allocation, etc.); and,
D. A brief description of the business function that the address data supports

The initial response to these lists has been quite positive. Even states that have begun to coordinate addresses have found new agency use cases from other states that help to expand their user base at home.

Comments are welcome and can be added to the Google doc. Individuals or agencies wishing to add to these lists of business needs are invited to contact their State NCGIC Representative or leadership of the NSGIC Address Committee.

How happy is your town?

This interesting maps shows the relative happiness of folks across the country.  How does your community fit in?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/30/the-appeal-of-unhappy-cities/

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.

DC 911 Mobile Calls

I found this article to be very interesting in detailing the incredible challenges facing our 911 dispatchers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/07/10/calling-911-from-your-cell-phone-in-d-c-good-luck-getting-first-responders-to-find-you/ 

Digital Homestead Records

Heard this story on NPR Radio yesterday afternoon “Digital Homestead Records Reopen A Crucial Chapter Of U.S. History” – http://www.npr.org/2014/07/02/327797193/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 – http://www.nps.gov/home/historyculture/track-the-progress-of-the-homestead-records-project.htm.

http://www.nps.gov/home/historyculture/homesteadrecords.htm – NE Records are currently available on –  http://www.fold3.com/title_650/homestead_records_ne/, but fold3.com 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.