to release enhanced website tools

Geospatial mapping tools are likely to gain broader use and visibility for government agencies and the private sector with the planned release in July of version 2 of

The site currently offers access to an extensive array of national and local mapping data. The new version will perform more like a portal and incorporate a number of new tools and enhancements ' including the introduction of Google search technology ' to find specialized data more quickly and easily.

Version 2, will also introduce a new marketplace capability, according to Leslie Armstrong, deputy staff director for the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). Armstrong spoke of the planned improvements during an American Council for Technology conference earlier this week. Researchers, government planners and others will be able to mark off an area on a U.S. map, define types of geospatial information they're searching for and be able to identify other users who may be working with similar data on the system.

The marketplace tool is designed to foster communities of interest around specific geospatial data, such as state administrators who want to map wildfire activity layered on top of population centers in a particular region.

Users will also be able to customize the collection of geospatial data and how data sources are clustered and presented, similar to the way Yahoo let's viewers customize their home pages.

'The (revised) website offers a new way to harvest the underlying metadata in a more automated way,' said Armstrong. is the outward face of a broader Office of Management and Budget initiative known as Geospatial One-Stop. The program is moving to standardize geospatial data formats and technology applications so state and federal mapping data can be more widely shared while reducing redundant development costs.

The FGDC is a consortium of private, commercial and government stakeholders, including 19 federal agencies, helping to guide enterprise architecture, training, policy, investment strategy and data standards.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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