Tag Archives: NSGIC
On 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
Dear NSGIC Member,
Shelby Johnson, Arkansas GIO & NSGIC President
It dawned on me today I have not communicated much with all our members since assuming the Presidential role. I wanted to take a minute to share a few thoughts. Some of these are my way of thinking about how NSGIC works and where we stand. I’ll try to be brief.
NSGIC has a proven leadership system in place. The organization has a President-Elect, a President and Out-Going President. The result, is a nearly seamless transition from year to year, and the passage of institutional knowledge about the organization works extremely well. I’ve been blessed to serve alongside very capable leadership from Tim DeTroye, Out-Going, to Kenny Miller who is transitioned to Out-Going, and Chris Diller, as President-Elect. The chemistry we have is excellent, and each other plays off our strengths. We talk about NSGIC nearly every day.
NSGIC is led by capable staff at headquarters including Kathy DeMarco, our Association Manager, Diane Schaffer, Director of Meetings, and our DC Liaison, Bill Burgess. On most days, they are operating in the background, and also in the foreground such as when Bill represents NSGIC at formal events.
NSGIC has an outstanding Board of Directors. These servants are the financial steward and the think-tank of the organization. They do monthly Board meetings where they conduct business, and they are so committed that nearly every Monday, they participate in a Leadership briefing where initiatives become results.
NSGIC’s Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs are the gears of the engine. They all have missions and are passionate about serving. They strike a balance between their career job and their volunteer job by leading monthly calls, drafting position papers and shepherding their members. They advise the Board and steer on things that need to get done.
The early years of NSGIC were formative, that’s obvious. But NSGIC’s last decade has been one of influence. On national geospatial activity, NSGIC has been at the table. In several cases NSGIC has led. I would go so far as to say, that State influence on national geospatial policy is at an all-time high.
Curious or Hungry
Here’s an interesting tidbit. NSGIC has nearly 2,300 followers on Twitter which is a very large number compared to our dues paid membership of nearly 400. It makes me think those folks are curious about what we do; or even better, they are hungry for leadership, and understand that NSGIC leads. I may be over inflating our worth but I think it’s the latter.
Connect & Participate
I’d be failing my duty if I did not remind you to participate in our 2015 Mid-Year conference. The call for Abstracts is open and participation is valuable. We are returning to Annapolis, Maryland. The agenda is taking shape and true to our colors there will be focus on national geospatial policy. The details are here: http://www.nsgic.org/2015-midyear-meeting
I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve as your President. If you find ways I can serve you better or improve the organization I would sure like to hear from you. Rest-assured the sleeves are rolled up. Things are happening and I will try to do a better job of staying in touch members.
Tom Roff (FHWA) and Steve Lewis (USDOT GIO) celebrated the culmination of joint work with NSGIC by announcing President Obama’s signing of Public Law 112-441, which authorizes the use of federal funds for the production of statewide centerline data and attribution for all paved and unpaved public roads. NSGIC’s Transportation for the Nation initiative (TFTN) has been working for a national road centerline dataset for many years, and this law provides the resources and driver for states to now collect all roads data within their boundaries and does not require the usual 20% state funding match for the effort. Planning for the data collection will begin in October, 2012, and the first data reporting will begin in 2014. Once again, NSGIC has provided significant national value encouraging the efficient and effective use of geospatial technology.
– Ed Arabas
Our keynote speaker, Bob Austin, PhD, of the City of Tampa, gave a presentation on four views of GIS:
– Personal View, where the main take away is that it’s all about the data. His advice is to document requirements (the ‘How’ will come later), and to never sacrifice “Good” in favor of “Fast” and “Cheap”.
– Local View, using the City of Tampa’s view of the challenges of information access. Specific challenges being Data access, Naming, Policy and Usability. A major takeaway from this view is that the policy and data sharing consume just as much time in a project as the technical components. His advice is to plan ahead for the sociological and policy aspects in project planning.
– Industry View, using his experiences with GITA (Geospatial Information & Technology Association) as the example. 85% of US Infrastructure is owned by industry, and understanding infrastructure interdependencies is key.
– National View, using his service with NGAC (National Geospatial Advisory Committee). He emphasized building once, and using many times by taking a portfolio approach. Sharing data makes sense. Check out the work they have done at www.geoplatform.gov
– A bonus 5th view is the International View, citing several examples that emphasize interoperability and the need for international standards.
He also shared the City of Tampa’s experience with the Republican National Convention and the 3 major concerns that they planned for:
– 1st concern was Hurricanes; in reality Tropical Storm Isaac prompted the cancellation of the first day of the convention.
– 2nd concern was Terrorism; in reality they did not have any terrorist attacks.
– 3rd concern was Violent Protests; in reality there were some non-violent protests, but nothing violent. There were only 2 arrests during the course of the convention.
To support the convention they stood up a situational awareness dashboard called TIGER (Tampa Information and Geographical Resources) that now has upwards of 185 data sets.
It was a great presentation to get insight into some of the different perspectives of GIS. As Bob stated, “GIS is not just a good idea, it’s inevitable”.
The opening day of the annual conference began with an enlightening welcome from Florida’s state GIS coordinator, Richard Butgereit. He shared a couple of interesting facts about Florida. Between May and August, Florida has gone from a state of extreme drought to very wet due in part to 3 tropical storms and increased frequency of severe storms. Richard’s advice – if it thunders, run for cover!
We then had the pleasure of receiving a presentation from the State Archaeologist of Florida, James Miller, PHD, LLC, who shared examples of how GIS has made a profound difference in how they conduct their research and preservation efforts. He explained that GIS is the most powerful tool he has come across to help with his work and explain the results of his work. Examples included research into the Gainesville Depot, which they discovered had been moved 3 times since the 1800’s. Efforts are nearing completion to move the depot to its original location and restore it to become a useful building again. The second example was Heritage Park in the Bahamas. Their advice to the creators of the park – you don’t need to dig, you need a plan. Their research helped identify points of interest and the ideal location for the park using a combination of physical documents and GIS analysis. Finally, a highlight was the story of their research of Freetown in the Bahamas. Their research combined historic imagery, physical documents and interviews with former residents, including the Cooper family, to document what the town looked like in the past. They were able to identify wells, community centers, grave sites, and get a better understanding of the physical and cultural characteristics of the town. What an honor it was to hear about this research, and great examples of how GIS analysis can help preserve our past!
The NSGIC 2012 Annual conference kicked off today with a very informative and dynamic workshop facilitated by Sanborn. The workshop began with a presentation on sensor technologies, where they are today and where they are heading in the future. The presentation quickly took on the feel of an extended state caucus with an exchange of questions, answers and discussion on topics ranging from defining data classifications, quality control methodology, RFP’s and uses for 3D point clouds.
Here are some highlights:
– Suggestions for NSGIC to develop a common RFP “set” for procurement, that all states can use
– Several things drive up the cost of acquisition procurement, including: forced use of specific technologies; not allowing the experts to guide the process with creative options and lack of clarity regarding what is being requested.
– As cloud solutions become available, procurement will change for the variety of end-users and service levels, so a lot of new things to think about.
– A suggestion was made for Sanborn and NSGIC to develop a 1-pager with sample pictures for state reps to use as a handout to answer the question “why buy imagery when I can use free online resources?”
NSGIC thanks Brad Arshat, Sanchit Agarwal and Learon Dalby, they know their stuff!! Please contact them via Twitter @SanbornMap or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
In true NSGIC style a discussion group met to talk about GIS as IT until about 10:45. Look for some useful tools born from this discussion to help market GIS in the midst of state leadership. Hats off to Danielle Ayan of Georgia for leading this discussion!
Looking forward to a very full day tomorrow including keynote speaker Bob Austin from the City of Tampa, LandSat and You, and the Corporate Sponsor Reception and Buffet!