A Western state GIS tour

Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Utah are evaluating the benefits of cloud services

Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Utah are evaluating the use of cloud services to cut storage and processing costs associated with geographic information system data. However, each state’s GIS environment is different. Here’s a snapshot.
  • Colorado: The state wants to create a hybrid GIS incorporating centralized and fragmented features. Several Colorado state agencies have mature, independent systems but scarce resources, and IT silos have restricted development. Even so, Colorado is  launching an enterprise GIS. There will be two components: one for public-facing services and the other for state government services. State agencies that lack their own infrastructure can access an enterprise spatial database engine. The public-facing environment will support a data clearinghouse for discovery and potential data downloads.
  • Montana: The state has a federated infrastructure designed to support data discovery and distribution. Discovery is maintained via a Web portal run by the state library that can be used to search and access data. The data doesn’t need to be in the state’s data center. Instead, users can grab it with mapping or Web-based services. “The beauty is we have separated how to figure out where the data is from where the data is physically located,” said Robin Trenbeath, Montana’s GIS officer. The GIS supports 14 million Internet requests and almost 500G of data coming into and out of the network each month. Requests for Web mapping services and cadastral information represents the greatest use of the system.
  • Oregon: Oregon’s Geospatial Enterprise Office manages a geospatial data clearinghouse and spatial data library. GEO manages 4 terabytes of geospatial data for Oregon’s GIS community. That number is expected to grow to nearly 15 terabytes of stored geospatial data in the next few years.
  • Utah: The Automated Geographic Reference Center was created more than 20 years ago as part of the state’s Department of Administrative Services. Within a year, the unit created the Services State Geographic Information Database. To improve the database, the center designed a distributed system for storage, retrieval and integration of large amounts of geospatial data. SGID also provides a central access point to search and download GIS datasets from the database.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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