USDA blends its data with Geological Survey graphics

USDA blends its data with Geological Survey graphics

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

FEB. 28—An Agriculture Department pilot project takes images from a Geological Survey Web-based application and combines them with USDA's own survey data to present geospatial data on demand to customers.

The Lighthouse Project demonstrates seamless data delivery from multiple systems, said project manager Steve Ekblad of the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Information Technology Center in Fort Collins, Colo.

One Lighthouse Project component, the Soil Data Viewer, layers graphs depicting the results of soil surveys over corresponding digital images from the online TerraServer database.

Since the viewer is still a proof-of-concept project, it's stocked with only 18 of the thousands of soil surveys Agriculture researchers have conducted since the 1940s, Ekblad said. Customers who rely on the soil data range from farmers to local governments to real estate developers.

The viewer uses Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 running on two Compaq ProLiant 8500 servers under Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Ekblad said. To draw the superimposed graphs, it uses Spatial Data Engine 8.0.2 and ArcIMS from Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. of Redlands, Calif.

TerraServer, which the Geological Survey and Microsoft Corp. developed together in 1998 [see www.gcn.com/archives/gcn/1998/july27/47.htm], serves up digital orthophoto quadrangle images from among 3T of Geological Survey aerial photos stored on a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database. Plans call for the TerraServer database to expand to 5T by the end of this year, said Tom Barclay, a Microsoft researcher involved with the project.

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