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Pilot Project Kicks Off for 3DEP for the Nation Initiative

By Molly Schar | July 18, 2018

Seven states will be testing the state lidar acquisition planning guide developed by NSGIC as part of the 3DEP for the Nation collaboration with the USGS National Map 3D Elevation Program and the Federal Geographic Data Committee 3DEP Working GroupIowaIllinoisMontanaOhioTennesseeWashington, and Wisconsin will receive a draft of the guide to put into action and report monthly on what worked, what’s insufficient, what’s missing, and which external resources should be referenced. This information will help to refine the guide, which is due to be completed for NSGIC membership use and comment as early as February 2019.

3DEP for the Nation addresses the need for high-quality topographic data and three-dimensional representations of the nation’s natural and constructed features. Believing 3DEP coverage across the US can be most effectively achieved by establishing plans for each individual state and territory, NSGIC is leveraging its strong working relationships with state geospatial information officers and coordinators to develop these plans.

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NSGIC State Representatives Share How Elections Systems Work in Their States

July 12, 2018

NSGIC state reps survey geo-enabled elections

More than two-thirds of states responded to a nationwide survey on elections data conducted in the first half of 2018. Responses were coordinated by state government representatives who focus on the development and deployment of mapping data and systems across state agencies and local governments.

“An electoral system with integrity - enhanced by accurate, authoritative geographic data and presented clearly and transparently - has never been more important,” said NSGIC President Andy Rowan.

“Geo-enabled elections overcome the four fundamental challenges with the existing address list approach to precinct management,” said Rowan. “In the address list approach, no actual boundaries are stored explicitly in these systems; quality control is difficult without a method to visualize precinct assignment using aerial photography and boundary information that can change frequently; there is no efficient method for applying large-scale precinct boundary updates; and the process is usually not aligned efficiently with other state and local address or boundary management processes.”

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New Podcast Explores Role of GIS in Government

In a new collaboration, NSGIC and StateScoop have launched GIS Addressed to feature the perspectives of state government GIS experts on key issues.  The series connects the dots between why geographic information systems  are important and how they fit into government technology agency operations and initiatives. 

"Geographic information systems have been a part of the fabric of government for decades. Now, in an era of increased focus on the centralization of technology and on information technology agencies within state and local government, a new day is here for GIS. And it could completely change how technology, data, mapping and more function in government," says Associate Publisher and Director of Strategic Initiatives at StateScoop, Jake Williams.

 

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Kim Cloud Receives Delaware Award for Excellence and Commitment in State Service

June 18, 2018

kim cloud geospatial service award delaware

Major kudos to NSGIC member Kim Cloud, who received the Delaware Award for Excellence and Commitment in State Service for her work with geographic information systems (GIS) at the Delaware Governor’s Awards Ceremony on May 7, 2018. The award is a statewide recognition given to five State of Delaware employees, or groups of employees, who exemplify the highest standards of excellence and commitment in state service.

The Department of Technology and Information (DTI) nominated Kim Cloud for the Delaware Award for Excellence and Commitment in State Service because of her outstanding state service and ongoing commitment to DTI. Kim has worked at DTI since July 19, 2004, and has spent her tenure as a software engineer for the Application Delivery team. Kim’s passion is working with geospatial data (location-based data) and GIS software and tools, i.e. FirstMap, which is a GIS solution that provides a centralized repository and enables users to maintain and analyze spatial data.

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Value of a GIO

By Andy Rowan | May 8, 2018

Having spent a dozen years in the role of state GIO, I have thought a lot about the importance of that work. We in government GIS often talk in terms like “coordination,” and certainly coordination and governance is the core of what a GIO does. But why is it so much more important in GIS than in other subdisciplines of IT? The rest of the data world is catching on, with the (fairly recent) advent of chief data officers. But we in GIS have been talking about and working on those issues for as long as I’ve been in the field.

What’s so special about spatial? I think it comes down to a simple fact. The great majority of the financial investment required to get a GIS initiative to the finish line goes into data that is not specific to the project. That’s really not true in other data-intensive disciplines. It was especially true in the early days, but foundational data continues to be a substantial investment. The data that it takes to make a plain old base map adds up to a big cost. And everybody doing GIS needs that same base map data. So it has always been obvious to anyone without unlimited funds that they’re better off sharing that cost. And that only happens through coordination.

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Federal Agencies Support State Lidar Plans in “3DEP for the Nation” Project

By Lynda Wayne | April 23, 2018

NSGIC’s participation in the recent USGS 3DEP Working Group meeting gave us a chance to connect with NRCS, USGS, FEMA, NOAA, USFWS, USACE, USDA FS, and other federal agencies to discuss a strategy for completing national lidar coverage by 2023. (Acronyms translated below.) Coordination with and within US states and territories is a key component of this strategy and NSGIC, with a grant from USGS, is taking the lead on that coordination.

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Support for Geospatial Data Act More Critical Than Ever

By Molly Schar  |  April 6, 2018

In the last Congress - the 114th - some 9,600 bills were introduced. Less than 4% of them were signed into law. These are daunting numbers when you are pushing for a piece of legislation that you think is important enough to make it to the finish line. NSGIC has encouraged members of our community to support the Geospatial Data Act (S.2128 and H.R.4395) from the start, but that support has never been as critical as it is right now.

On a conference call with other member of the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) this week, there was significant discussion about some of the issues standing in the way of unanimous support. Several organizations (NSGIC included) have been working to develop language palatable to associations with vastly different memberships. Folks in the open data/open government community have expressed concern about language around proprietary or licensed data being available on the GeoPlatform. Still others are caught up in a desire to include language related to licensure and procurement. Neither of these issues is appropriate to try to resolve in this bill. It should be noted, however, that the Geospatial Data Act is fundamentally an open data bill.

The irony is that without exception (to my knowledge, anyway), the geospatial community can agree that what the Geospatial Data Act is trying to accomplish is a good thing. The legislation codifies existing executive orders and other guidance documents that direct the work of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the body that promotes national coordination in developing, using, sharing and disseminating geospatial data. It gives the FGDC the authority to make federal agencies follow some existing common sense rules and provides Congressional oversight over the geospatial activities of FGDC members and other agencies. It provides a great deal more clout to input developed by the multi-sector membership of FGDC’s National Geospatial Advisory Committee. And very importantly to NSGIC, it requires federal agencies to coordinate and work in partnership with other federal agencies, agencies of state, tribal, and local governments, institutions of higher education, and the private sector with the collective goal of achieving a robust national spatial data infrastructure.

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Midyear Meeting Takeaways for the Geo-Enabled Elections Project

By Jamie Chesser  |  March 19, 2018

NSGIC's Midyear Meeting - held last month in Salt Lake City - was an extremely productive time for the Geo-Enabled Elections project. Our steering group met in person for the first time, we held a four-hour workshop for conference participants, including state and federal government representatives, sponsors and other partners, and we ended the week with a well-attended plenary session. 

The 13 members of the steering group met for a pre-conference workshop and identified a short list of best-practice areas to position a state for geo-enabling their elections system. These initial items are:

  • Statewide precinct layer with an associated maintenance process
  • Current statewide address info
  • Implementation options that give local control for locating address data
  • Standardization of terminology
  • System or process where GIS technologies and data are locally sourced and rolled up to the state
  • Contextual map data (for example, current aerial photography)

 

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NSGIC Hiring Membership & Meetings Coordinator

Come work for NSGIC! We are hiring a new Membership & Meetings Coordinator who will focus on the areas of membership, events management and administration. Familiarity with the geospatial community and association experience are especially helpful. View the job posting for more information and to submit your resume.


 

Enhancing the Arizona Address Data Management Ecosystem: Midyear Meeting Presentation Highlight

By Jenna Straface  | February 8, 2018

This week we are highlighting a presentation titled “Enhancing the Arizona Address Data Management Ecosystem," presented by Jenna StrafaceGene TrobiaBo Guo, and Howard Ward  on Tuesday, February 27. Read Jenna's presentation description below for a preview of the discussion content:

As one of the two original pilot states for the National Address Database (NAD) project, Arizona continues to build a statewide address management ecosystem. Key success factors include support of the Arizona Geographic Information Council (AGIC) and the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD), active state and local government collaboration, strategic public and private partnerships, participation in NSGIC's Address & Transportation Committee’s identification of national guidelines and best practices, and the adoption of new technology to improve data workflows and validate authoritative addresses.  

The presenters will provide a brief overview of the Arizona Address Management Ecosystem and discuss several of its key components.

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GIS in Computer Science Education: Midyear Meeting Panel Highlight

By Karen Rogers | February 5, 2018

With our Midyear Meeting fast approaching, we wanted to slow down and take a moment to highlight some of the presentations and panels that we are looking forward to. The first panel we are highlighting is titled “GIS in Computer Science Education” and will be presented by Karen Rogers (WY) on Thursday, March 1. Read Karen’s statement below for a preview of the discussion content:

I was asked to be on the Computer Science Education Task Force in Wyoming, an effort led by the Department of Education.  This diverse group has been meeting since September of 2017 to formulate strategies and ideas for integrating computer science (CS) in the classroom, as well as encouraging elected officials to pass legislation to formally acknowledge the importance of CS being taught to all grades in all schools.
   
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Geo-Enabled Election Project Gathers Momentum

By Jamie Chesser  |  January 23, 2018

When I joined the NSGIC staff a month ago as the geospatial programs manager, I learned very quickly that NSGIC is all about collaboration. This was great news to me because my focus in the next two years will be on the Geo-Enhanced Elections project, and it’s going to require a lot of collaboration!

GIS is relatively new to state elections implementations, though we are aware of several successful state implementations. When complete, a full GIS integration with a state election management system creates a map-based model of all the geographic features that interact in the election process and its results: district, precinct and ballot area boundaries; voter residence locations; polling places and drop-off locations; and address-based presentation of elected officials. The GIS digital model can significantly enhance accuracy, transparency, and efficiency of our representative government.

The Geo-Enabled Elections project fits within NSGIC’s “sweet spot” of working together to advance valuable state GIS capabilities through coordination, collaboration, communication and subject matter expertise support.

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Transitioning ...

By Bert Granberg  |  January 11, 2018

Nobel Prize winner George Stigler said “a transition period is a period between two transition periods.” After almost 17 years with Utah’s Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC), five of them as director, I am about to transition into a new role with a new organization.

Next week, I’ll hand over my key card to the Utah AGRC office, take a two week break, and then head down the street to the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the metropolitan planning organization for the Salt Lake - Ogden metro area. My new job is leading WFRC's section of GIS, data science and transportation modeling staff, in supporting mid- and long-term planning for infrastructure projects, transit, economic development, land use and air quality.

This change is bittersweet, for sure, for many reasons - I am leaving a job that I’ve loved and found fulfilling, with an outstanding team and colleagues across state and local government - and also because I will be passing along Utah's NSGIC State Rep torch (a la Minecraft) that has connected me to so much expertise and important personal and professional connections.

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NSGIC Welcomes New Staff Members

December 19, 2017

NSGIC recently announced the addition of two new staff members to the team: Bronwyn Walls as Communications Coordinator and Jamie Chesser as Geospatial Programs Manager. 

 

bronwyn headshot   

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Mapping the Last Frontier: NOAA Award to Assist Alaska's Rural Coastal Communities

By Anne Johnson  |  December 7, 2017

Alaska was recently selected to receive a 2018 - 2020 Digital Coast Fellowship. This award will provide long-term benefits for Alaskans who reside in coast communities, 80 percent of whom are vulnerable to extreme weather events and storm flooding.

The project - titled Bringing Alaska Coastal Communities Online to the Digital Coast: Coastal Flood Mapping for Rural Alaska - will build upon existing data, online mapping tools and partnerships to assist Alaska in responding to coastal flood hazards. 

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GIS Day Marks Reintroduction of Geospatial Data Act

By Andy Rowan | November 15, 2017

This afternoon, the Geospatial Data Act (GDA) was introduced in the Senate by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Warner (D-VA), Heller (R-NV), Wyden (OR), Boozman (R-AR) and Klobuchar (D-MN) as S.2128 and in the House by Representatives Westerman (R-AR) and Moulton (D-MA) as H.R.4395. NSGIC has supported the GDA in a few different forms, it having been introduced in a previous Congress, as well as having undergone revisions since its last introduction. It has retained its critical core – developing a national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) that will significantly improve government services for citizens across the country.

Working with partner organizations, we delivered a GDA support letter that included other well-respected national organizations and geospatial technology and services companies. It is the strongest showing of support for the GDA that has ever been garnered. I had the opportunity to join a few NSGIC colleagues – Cy Smith (OR), Shelby Johnson (AR), Dan Ross (MN) and our executive director, Molly Schar – for a Capitol Hill GIS Day reception we co-hosted with AAG and Esri. It was an excellent opportunity to speak with lawmakers and their staff members about why the GDA is so important, and it also gave us a chance to talk with the other nonprofit and corporate representatives in the room who are our partners in supporting this legislation. With transparent and coordinated advocacy efforts, we can leverage the momentum building in the geospatial community for this bipartisan, “good government” bill.

As I said in my remarks during the reception this afternoon, developing a national spatial data infrastructure is a concept that we have struggled with for the past 24 years – since the signing of Executive Order 12906 in 1993. The NSDI has mostly been a federal effort, with little relevance for state, tribe, regional or local governments. The GDA codifies the existing NSDI governance structure and mandates Congressional oversight of federal geospatial expenditures, which are two very important outcomes. But from the perspective of state governments, there are two other provisions of this bill that will make a significant difference and with make the national spatial data infrastructure much more possible.

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Is the Future of NAIP Aerial Photography in Trouble?

By Molly Schar  |  November 14, 2017

Potential changes to the USDA's NAIP one-meter color aerial photography program was a hot topic of discussion at today's FGDC Coordination Group meeting

In response to reduced funding, USDA is currently reevaluating the efficacy of the NAIP program. Reduced funding for NAIP is due to agency budget cuts, partially met commitments by federal partner agencies outside of USDA, and later-than-desired transfers of partner funding that require USDA to take on extra financial risk.

Accordingly, the NAIP acquisition contract renewals will be for one year only in 2018 and the NAIP flights are slated to move back to a three-year cycle. Notably, USDA is considering subscribing to a commercial imagery subscription starting as early as 2019, and has determined that a USDA-only COTS license would meet USDA needs while cutting their internal acquisition costs by 50% and improving resolution by 2x. USDA also stated that it was clear that it would only take a few agencies acquiring their own exclusive commercial imagery subscriptions before those costs exceeded the overall cost of NAIP.

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USGS 3DEP Lidar Indexing for Continental US

By Bert Granberg  |  November 13, 2017

Last month, the USGS released a 2 page fact sheet outlining their plans to align their 3DEP Lidar program with a standardized national grid. The proposed grid would guide the shape of proposed 3DEP grant projects (optional for 2018 but required in 2019) and, presumably, the distribution files for 3DEP data.

This new component of the 3DEP program has been encouraged by NSGIC members in recent years. The grid may prove useful as a framework for negotiating coverage and costs between adjacent project/interest areas. It is also likely the grid will help USGS facilitate 'infill' between larger gaps found between proposed projects and/or existing data.

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NSGIC Launches "Geo-Enabled Elections" Project to Enhance Elections Management with Geospatial Data & Technology 

By Molly Schar  |  November 2, 2017

Today, the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) announced a two-year project dubbed “Geo-Enabled Elections” to boost state-led efforts to standardize the application of geographic information systems (GIS) to support elections management and engagement between office holders and their constituents. These essential upgrades will benefit voters by increasing political boundary precision—so they know with certainty who represents them and what will be on their ballots each election.

The Geo-Enabled Elections project will compile and promote best practices for the use of GIS to develop and sustain a map-based digital database to support state election offices that contains:

  • State, municipal, and local service district boundaries
  • Voting precinct boundaries, precinct assignments, and polling places
  • Constituent service areas to connect residents to elected officials, government services, public notices, and other location specific information
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Happy Ada Lovelace Day - Celebrating Women in STEM

By Nathalie Smith  |  October 10, 2017

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

I first became aware of this celebration three years ago by happenstance when a friend of mine simply asked, "Are you doing anything special on Ada Lovelace Day?" I wasn't - I had no idea who Ada Lovelace was and what Ada Lovelace Day was about. Wikipedia quickly filled in the blanks.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (December 10, 1815 - November 27, 1852) was the only child of the poet Lord Byron and his wife Anne Isabella Byron. Byron separated from his wife a month after Ada was born and left England forever four months later. Ada's mother remained bitter at Lord Byron and promoted Ada's interest in mathematics and logic in an effort to prevent her from following in her father’s footsteps.

As a young adult, her mathematical talents led her to an ongoing working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage, and Babbage’s work on the Analytical Engine. She wrote programs for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software. Ada Lovelace was one of the world's first computer programmers.

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NSGIC 2017 Annual in Review

By Karen Rogers  |  October 2, 2017

In case you missed the NSGIC 2017 Annual Conference, here are the highlights from my perspective. It was phenomenal (and exhausting at the same time) once again, and I thank all those who contributed their time and hard work to make it happen. (Members can log in to explore notes and presentation slides in the archives.)

Leadership Development Workshop

The primary takeaway from the Leadership Workshop on Monday is the triad ‘Mentor - Coach - Champion’. See an up and coming talent? Offer to mentor them. New to your career and looking for insights and help? Ask a trusted colleague to mentor you. Witness a meeting or conversation that could have gone better? Find a way to offer advice to coach and improve. Impressed with a person, product or outcome? Speak up and be their champion. However you choose to do it, don’t be afraid to step up and be a leader. That can take shape in a variety of ways and forms, so pick up your ball and run with it.

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GWU Counting for Dollars, Census-Informed Federal Program Funds

By Bert Granberg  |  September 18, 2017

At least a couple times a year, state GIS offices are apt to encounter some mention of the importance of the Census Bureau having the best possible GIS roads and address data from their state, as the Bureau prepares for its next decennial census count.

Click to open Counting for Dollars interactive mapThe argument goes like this...

  1. Better road and address data gives the state the best chance for the Bureau achieving a full count of its residents, and 
  2. On a per capita basis, per year, billions of dollars in federal program funding are determined by formulas that use state population and other census-derived demographic data, so,
  3. There is a bit of a zero-sum-game at work, the fuller your state’s count of residents, the more of its rightful, equitable share will be received from these programs. 

Last month, Professor Andrew Reamer of the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy, published an analysis of 16 large federal programs that utilize Census-derived datasets to set state funding levels, with details on the methodology used, and (a drum roll please), specific data for each program and state. In the study, titled Counting for Dollars 2020: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds, the per capita totals across the 16 programs that were examined were certainly not linear with respect to population, ranging from a high of $4,583 (DC) to a low of $1,086 (UT, what?!) with a national average of $1,838 (US).

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Massachusetts Chief Digital Officer to Keynote NSGIC 2017 Annual Conference

Holly St. Clair, chief digital officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will deliver the keynote address to kick off the 2017 Annual Conference of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) on September 26 in Providence, RI.

In ‘Integrating Data in Digital Services for State Government,’ St. Clair will explore the challenge of improving digital government services for constituents. “Ensuring that constituents have friction-free access to services and related information is essential to effective government,” says St. Clair. “How can we use data and analytics to improve the constituent experience? - how do we make every interaction with Massachusetts government simpler, faster, more meaningful, and wicked awesome?”

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Geospatial Data Act: NSGIC's Position in a Nutshell

By Bert Granberg | August 30, 2017

Over the weekend, I fielded an inquiry from long time colleague in a related geospatial field: "What is NSGIC's current stand on the GDA legislation?"

My response encompassed three points, with which NSGIC has been consistent:

  1. NSGIC supports the Geospatial Data Act,
  2. NSGIC acknowledges the importance of further improvements that seek to build consensus support for the bill across the geospatial professional community prior to it being heard by Committee, and
  3. NSGIC is actively participating on a working group within the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO), with the hope of delivering recommended modifications to the bill prior to October 1.
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Null Island is No Place to Live

By Bert Granberg  |  August 29, 2017

There’s no doubting that the fictional Null Island concept has lot of fans. Null Island stickers were a popular giveaway at this month’s FOSS4G conference in Boston and the island was referenced in the slides of several talks just for fun. Null Island even has its own Wikipedia page.

But you wouldn’t ever want to live there. In the real world, the only thing at Null Island’s location in the Atlantic — Latitude 0, Longitude 0 — may be a weather buoy. It sounds wet, cold, and lonely.

Null Island makes for a great metaphor. It’s the location that computers use for an incident, event, or object in the real world when you don’t have any more detailed information location intelligence. That rural business you can’t find in the global maps  it’s on Null Island. The accident at a new home under construction  unless the 911 center had it in their maps already, it likely happened on Null Island. You get the picture.

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Geospatial Data Act: The Latest

By Molly Schar |  August 10, 2017

I’ll start by saying that NSGIC’s position continues to be that we support the Geospatial Data Act of 2017. From the perspective of the state geographic information officers and coordinating bodies, the GDA charts a course for a true, useful, robust national spatial data infrastructure. This includes positioning the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) within the Office of Management and Budget, collaboratively sustaining the GeoPlatform for shared national data services, recommitting to the importance of data standards, and advancing other long-term strategic goals for geospatial infrastructure.

The GDA asks federal agencies (except where doing so would compromise national security) to look at where and how they spend money on GIS, and to provide that information to Congress. This is good stewardship of taxpayer dollars, because it will allow Congress and the public to see where efforts could be better aligned and cost savings achieved. And it looks not just at efforts that are overlapping between federal agencies, but also work being done at the state and local levels. This is important - you can’t manage well without measuring.

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Important Opportunity to Provide Geospatial Guidance to FCC

When the FCC employed census blocks for Form 477 broadband coverage mapping in 2014, thousands of rural Utah addresses (red) suddenly appeared as covered by the expanded census block service areas (blue).

By Bert Granberg  |  July 26, 2017

I think I’ll start with a teaser...whether or not you have been, or are currently actively involved in the mapping of broadband services, I think you’ll find this post of direct interest.

On July 13, the FCC released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPR) related to Form 477 broadband data collection. The FCC seeks comments during the 30-day public comment period which ends on August 12. This is a chance for you to weigh in on an important nationwide data collection tool.

Here’s just a bit of background before we get to the stuff that I hope has the broadest appeal to NSGIC and friends.

The FCC’s Form 477 is the primary tool for collecting national broadband data and is a vital input into policy, planning, and citizen/business engagement at the national, state, and local levels. Broadband map data depicting existing service geography and attributes (speeds, technology, and coverage), adoption, and deployment is extremely valuable toward assessing and increasing community capacity and utilization. Economic development and citizen convenience are just two of the many benefits when this data is put to work to maximize broadband capabilities across the country.

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NSGIC Announces Staff Addition

Michelle M. Jones Joins Organization as Manager, Membership & Communications

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) announced today that Michelle M. Jones has joined the staff in a newly-created role that spans membership, events management, communications, sponsorship and administration. As manager, membership and communications, Michelle will provide critical support of NSGIC’s organizational growth strategies of increasing reach, accelerating impact and building the NSGIC brand.

“Michelle brings extensive experience in planning and executing mission-critical meetings and projects,” said Molly Schar, NSGIC executive director. “She has great enthusiasm for the work of NSGIC and our member states. I’m confident Michelle will bolster NSGIC’s efforts to provide a robust forum for state-led sharing of best practices and facilitate critical connections across the geospatial ecosystem.”

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NSGIC Stands Behind Geospatial Data Act, Lauds New Language Clarifying Intent

By Molly Schar | July 6, 2017

The Geospatial Data Act (S.1253) has been the subject of much discussion in the past couple of weeks after receiving significant attention by some members of the geospatial community concerned about the potential of the proposed legislation to add restrictions to federal procurement of geospatial data and services.

NSGIC - the voice of the states on geospatial issues - continues to support S.1253, expected to be stronger than ever after minor language revisions that clarify the original intent of the bill to substantially strengthen efforts to build a robust national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) and reduce duplication of data gathering and processing activities. The changes to S.1253 focus on Sections 2 and 11 and clarify that the intent of the bill is not to expand the scope of the Brooks Act or the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

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USGS RFI: Future Landsat Systems

USGS is requesting information from the land imaging community for user requirements for future Landsat systems. Responses to the RFI are due July 14 and are being considered with other inputs for future systems formulation. Respond to the RFI on the FedConnect site and "Search Public Opportunities Only," then with reference number criteria using G17PS00634. 


 

Geospatial Data Act Sets Table for Performance and Accountability

Legislation would benefit taxpayers and entire geospatial community

By Cy Smith  |  June 26, 2017

For as long as NSGIC has been around – more than 25 years now – we’ve encouraged effective and efficient government through the coordinated development of geographic information and technologies to ensure that information may be integrated at all levels of government.

The Geospatial Data Act (S.1253) does just that. It establishes a clear vision, assigns responsibility, provides authority and ensures oversight by Congress of federal geospatial activities. These improvements will help ensure that the United States is able to build and sustain a robust national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI). Support of this legislation is a critical step toward building more resilient communities by ensuring they will have access to the consistent high-quality data they need.

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Let's Rally for GeoWomen!

By Bill Johnson  |  June 22, 2017

I’ve been thinking about the NSGIC GeoWomen initiative quite a bit since its inception at the Midyear. It feels really important. The more I think about it, the more I am recognizing both the incredible impact that so many important women have made in my life and career, and the potential for more women to be leaders in our profession.

I didn’t think much about it in my formative years, but my grandmother was a fantastic role model. She was a first-generation American from Swedish immigrants and unlike nearly all women of her era, she did not marry as a late teen and settle into a life of limited domestic boundaries. Instead, she earned a 2-year college degree and quickly worked her way up to being the administrative assistant (in the title of Secretary) to the mayor of Worcester, MA. Knowing how driven and organized she was, it’s easy for me to speculate that she had a strong hand in running the city while the mayor did the glad-handing work. She didn’t marry until age 26 (a true “spinster” in 1918) and later ran my grandfather’s homebuilding business, his lumberyard, and also a summer boarding house at Moody Beach in Maine. Anna O. Johnson was the undisputed matriarch and center of the extended Johnson family when I was growing up.

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NSGIC - State GIS Council Partnership

By Bert Granberg  |  June 7, 2017

A goal of mine, a few years back during my first year as AGRC's director was to facilitate increased 'enterprise GIS' interest and involvement of our state GIS association, the Utah Geographic Information Council (UGIC), a standalone 501c3 nonprofit. 

One of the coolest things about professionals in the GIS field is that most of us value strategic problem solving approaches that reach beyond the domains of our individual assignments or agency responsibilities. GIS'ers have a strong tendency to look out for the 'whole' where others might not. While everybody in our field knows the vast degree to which the ‘enterprise of GIS’ in  Utah is dependent on data sharing -- especially local to state government -- it is largely undersung to decision makers. Getting UGIC more interested in telling this story well seemed like a natural fit.

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Latin for GIS Professionals

By Bill Johnson  |  June 2, 2017

You have, I am sure, seen the Latin phrase carpe diem, which translates literally to “seize the day.” In modern usage, carpe diem is sometimes equated to “living in the moment,” taking pleasure in the here and now without regard for the future, and occasionally even an ode to hedonism. But the more important definition, in my opinion, is to take a chance, to go above and beyond what might be expected, to take full advantage of an opportunity, to stretch yourself in pursuit of the issue before you right now. This is a credo that I can embrace, and with the clarity of hindsight, I now recognize that it has been a recurring theme in the best examples of GIS projects I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with over the years.

I’ll venture a guess that Latin scholars won’t like this, but I would like to offer a twist on carpe diem as it applies to those of us in the GIS profession: carpe geo, seize the GIS opportunity. I was honored to be the closing keynote speaker at the Utah Geographic Information Council conference in Park City this year, and I introduced carpe geo as part of my talk. It seemed to resonate well with the audience, well enough to embolden me to write this blog post to circulate it further.

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Moving Change: The Importance of Small, Unsung Benefits

By Bert Granberg  |  June 1, 2017

This isn’t original but it's worth restating.

Maybe ‘change’ is so difficult because it’s so hard to know ‘when’ it’s the right time? That applies to life in general, but certainly to technology fields, like ours. In fact, there’s a whole body of study around the risk and benefit calculations made around technology, including my favorite description, the technology adoption life cycle. I am thinking about this today because I just had my first success with Esri’s latest GIS software product platform, ArcPro.

I am pretty sure that I am not considered an ‘Innovator’ or ‘Early Adopter’ for this change, especially considering how many GIS shops seem to bite instantly on the ‘you have to move now to version x.x’ hook without much thought. But maybe I am making the ‘Early Majority’ cut? It doesn’t really matter. It did, however, remind me of previous GIS software transitions that I’ve been involved in. And the common thread for those was, surprisingly, never the most hyped, flashy functionality.

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Major Movement for NSGIC Legislative Priorities

By Molly Schar  |  May 6, 2017

Both the Geospatial Data Act and the Digital Coast Act had big days yesterday. The bills are making their way through the 115th Congress after stalling out in prior years.

The Geospatial Data Act of 2017 was introduced yesterday by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) as S.1253. Over the course of the last few years, NSGIC has worked closely with other stakeholders to provide input with the states' perspective on improving the coordination and use of geospatial data.

NSGIC president Bert Granberg said this upon the bill's reintroduction: "From transportation, to natural resources, to homeland security, map-based digital information has quietly become mission critical to how work gets done and to future economic growth. We need an efficiency and accountability framework to build, sustain, and share geographic data assets for the entire nation. The GDA delivers just that." (Read more in the press releases put out by Senator Hatch and Senator Warner.)

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Longtime NSGIC Member Joy Paulus to Retire

Washington State GIS Coordinator Joy Paulus is just four days away from retirement. With 30 years of experience in the use, implementation and management of geospatial data and delivery of service, Joy first became a NSGIC member in 2002. Her GIS career took her to Arizona, Vermont, and finally, Washington, where she became the GIS coordinator for the state in 2007. Her awards for environmental data management and coordination include the Washington Governing for Results Award, Efficiency in State Government Award, and Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award. Joy served NSGIC in leadership roles as a committee volunteer and frequent presenter at conferences and meetings.

A few years ago, Joy shared her favorite quote with us, from Mary Oliver: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" A fitting sentiment as Joy turns the page to a new chapter in her life. Best of luck, Joy, and thanks for everything!


We're Hiring: Membership & Communications Coordinator

NSGIC seeks to fill a recently created position to coordinate the association's operations, including membership, event management, communications, sponsorship and administration. The Membership & Communications Coordinator will work closely with NSGIC's Executive Director to assure the organization's operations are consistently functioning at a high level and exceed member service expectations.

To apply, applicants should submit their resumes with letters of interest to NSGIC Executive Director Molly Schar at [email protected] Applications must be received by June 15, 2017.

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An SEO Goal for Geospatial Data

By Bert Granberg  |  May 23, 2017

I spent an hour or so this rainy weekend planning for a future trip to Nevada’s Great Basin National Park. (Hang in there, this post is actually about geospatial data and search engine optimization - SEO).

Specifically, I wanted to print out a few areas of the USGS 1:24,000 scale topographic quad maps for the Wheeler Peak portion of the park, which by all accounts includes some delicious spring ski touring terrain.

And as luck would have it, that area of the park falls on the boundary of the Wheeler Peak and Windy Peak USGS quad maps. Ideally, I wanted the plain-jane, collarless, georeferenced files for each map, so I could load them into GIS or an image manipulation app (photoshop, gimp, etc.) and print out just the areas I needed. And, bonus points go to the data stewards if I could do so while avoiding any and all of the following: creating yet another user account, suffering through undesired ads and mouse clicks, downloading additional unneeded bulky data layers, paying fees to resellers of public domain info, and feeling like I was risking infecting my machine with ‘who knows what?’ packed into a download file. Basically, I wanted just the facts, from a trusted, unobtrusive source.

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Ruminations on Open Geodata Taxonomy (or lack thereof)

By Bill Johnson  |  April 13, 2017

Taxonomy (noun) – a scheme of classification  

If you were at the recent Midyear conference, you may recall we had a panel of open data experts fielding questions from the audience. Yours truly asked for the microphone and confessed to being “stuck”, since there seems to be no good way to ensure that all of the various open data sites and platforms and cataloging systems can share catalogs to their content, because they don’t use a common set of terms. This seems analogous to every library using their own unique system to catalog their books. That’s probably how libraries started, but we all know that today there are standards in place that make each library a searchable node in an extensive library network. We lack that today for open geodata. Typical open data sites support searchable metadata and keywords or tags as the method for making data discoverable.  But since any given dataset can be described in an infinite variety of ways, the current situation supports only a limited (and unpredictable) amount of cross-platform catalog sharing. What we need is a common taxonomy.

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Geography on the Brain - Spring Break

By Bert Granberg  |  Mar. 20, 2017

NSGIC, and spatial thinking in general, are hard habits to break. For those interested in building meaningful state and national digital mapping resources, the camaraderie and synergy of NSGIC conferences, committees, and professional networking is hard to beat.

But, if you’re like me, very occasionally you find yourself engaged in some weird (to others) NSGIC or geography-inspired activity even when trying to get away from it all.

This happened on a road trip to southern Utah and northern Arizona last week. On day 2 of our spring break trip, my family suddenly found ourselves playing a modified version on the license plate game while hiking Zion National Park’s Angels Landing trail with, oh, about 1000 or more of our fellow park goers.

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State Feedback: What I Need Most from NSGIC

By Bert Granberg  |  Jan. 20, 2017

At a State Caucus session during NSGIC’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis last October, we conducted a completely impromptu exercise that produced some interesting, important information. The game was pretty simple. Take one of the ubiquitous hotel notepads and fill in the blank: “What I need most from NSGIC is _______.”

I can’t remember the specifics of what spawned this, but it was time well spent. Here (below) is what we heard. (Thanks to Molly Schar for summarizing the results!)

… help me tap into the collective wisdom of NSGIC members

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Community Resilience Indicators and National-Level Measures: A Draft Interagency Concept | FEMA.gov 

By Phil Worrall  |  Jan. 10, 2017

 

Source: Community Resilience Indicators and National-Level Measures: A Draft Interagency Concept | FEMA.gov


White House Office of Management and Budget Releases New Report to Support Community Resilience

By Phil Worrall  |  Jan. 9, 2017

On December 21, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a new report titled "Standards and Finance to Support Community Resilience," the culmination of collaboration with leaders in re/insurance, catastrophe modeling and building science to advance community resilience and insurability.

The White House: Supporting Resilient Communities: Leaders in the insurance industry are announcing new investments to support resilient communities - Here's Why

NAFSMA Press Release: White House Office of Management and Budget Releases New Report to Support Community Resilience


NENA NG9-1-1 GIS Data Model Available for Public Review

By Cheryl Benjamin  |  Jan. 9, 2017

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) recently released the NENA Standard for Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) GIS Data Model for public review.  Under development for over 6 years, the NG9-1-1 GIS Data Model is designed to support civic location address data management in a NG9-1-1 System. NENA was a major participant in the development of the FGDC’s United States Thoroughfare, Landmark, and Postal Address Data Standard and closely aligned the NG9-1-1 Data Model to the FGDC Standard, but it does have some differences.

The public is invited to review the document and submit comments following the instructions below (direct link https://dev.nena.org/kws/public/document?document_id=9828&wg_abbrev=csds-gis). Comments will be accepted until February 28.

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Why NSGIC? My Top 3

By Bert Granberg  |  Jan. 3, 2017

At NSGIC’s 2016 Annual Conference (NSGIC’s 25th!), I shared a few slides describing why Utah has been involved with NSGIC since its inception, and has attended every NSGIC meeting. Just a couple months into my term as NSGIC’s board president, I thought I’d take a brief respite to revisit and reflect on why it’s all worthwhile.

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CREAT Climate Scenarios Projection Map 

EPA's Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) Climate Scenarios Projection Map. This map provides easy-to-access scenario-based climate change projections drawn from CREAT. The impacts from a changing climate, including extreme heat and more intense storms, present challenges to water, wastewater and stormwater utilities and the communities they serve. Understanding how climate change may affect a utility's ability to maintain and deliver adequate, reliable and sustainable water supplies and clean water services is the first step in climate-related planning.

This story map was created with the Story Map Series application in ArcGIS Online.

Contributed by: Nathalie Smith  |  Source: CREAT Climate Scenarios Projection Map


FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Highlights Opportunities for Building Community Climate Resilience across the Nation

By Phil Worrall  |  Nov. 3, 2017

Today, the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience released its "Resilience Opportunities" report, describing key Administration accomplishments and highlighting opportunities for federal agencies and stakeholders to work together on a shared climate resilience agenda.

Today's "Resilience Opportunities" report builds on lessons learned and outlines three major areas where opportunities exist for innovation, economic growth and collaboration: through application of science-based data and tools, support for community resilience initiatives and integration of climate resilience into federal agency mission, operations and culture. 

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