GIS interface will help agencies build out 'spatial Web'

GIS interface will help agencies build out 'spatial Web'

Government and industry members of the OpenGIS Consortium Inc. have forged a fast-track interoperability consensus that culminated recently in live international Web mapping via the OGC Web Services 1.2 interface.

Working from the OWS 1.2 interface on varied notebook PCs, representatives of federal, state and local agencies collaborated with vendors to show how a simulated government emergency operations center might scope out fast-breaking local events. The imaginary events included a tornado, a white truck being sought by police and a hazardous spill on an interstate bridge.

The participants called up and merged maps, geographic information systems data, live webcam images, photographs, and demographic and tax parcel records to present a composite package of information to decision-makers and emergency responders. The composite could be used, for example, to define evacuation routes. Some of the data came from online sources in other nations.

'This demonstration will have big implications for Geospatial One Stop,' said Myra J. Bambacus, acting executive director of the geospatial portal that is one of the Office of Management and Budget's 25 e-government initiatives.

Sam Bacharach, outreach program manager for the Fairfax, Va., consortium, said satellite imagery is good down to about 10 meters and 'very useful for picking out forests, rivers and built-up areas. But you can't pick out locations' from satellite images with enough detail for government decision-makers and emergency responders.

He said the consortium's use of distributed online data saves the work of collecting and centralizing data and ensures better accuracy. 'A highway or city map that is current today won't be current next year,' he said. 'But if the data is left in its native location, its owners maintain its freshness.'

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