N.J. posts downloadable geospatial data

The New Jersey Geographic Information Network portal, njgin.nj.gov, makes live map services available with a few mouse clicks.

Via catalogs of metadata, users of desktop geographic information systems can search for and connect to their desired data sets, said Brian Embley, a GIS specialist with the state's Office of Geographic Information Systems. The earlier New Jersey Spatial Data Clearinghouse did not have that capability.

The new portal uses ArcIMS server software from ESRI of Redlands, Calif., as well as an ArcSDE gateway to an Oracle Corp. database.

Citizens can set up their own password-protected accounts to customize the data, Embley said, but state agencies can do the same to protect sensitive data from public access. For example, some agencies will set aside a secure section of the portal to show emergency responders the locations of critical infrastructures.

Through the New Jersey Mapping Assistance Partnership Program, officials hope to get all 21 of the state's counties to publish their GIS data on the portal. So far, six counties have joined the program and four have put their data online.

'That's something that would be very expensive for the state to reproduce,' Embley said of the detailed county-level information.

New Jersey officials are working with the coordinators of the federal Geospatial One-Stop portal (Click for GCN coverage) to let the national system harvest GIS data sets from the state portal. Once technical details are hammered out, the federal officials will use the portal as a pilot for data sharing, Embley said.

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