Geospatial Platform puts data, maps and apps all in one place

An interagency group led by the Interior Department has released a beta version of a geospatial resource intended to give users access to reliable sets of data, maps, services and applications from across government jurisdictions.

The Geospatial Platform, part of the Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative, will provide user-friendly, integrated data collections and map-based tools from federal, state, regional, local and tribal governments, as well as non-governmental contributors, Interior said in a release.


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The platform “will provide a user-friendly ‘one-stop shop’ for place-based data you can trust, and the tools to display that data on a map platform," said Anne Castle, Interior’s assistant secretary for Water and Science. “The platform will also promote efficiency and reduce duplication of effort by providing the means to create unique maps that can be built once and reused many times.”

Based on scalable open standards, the platform will run on a shared cloud infrastructure designed to handle any spikes in demand, according to an outline of the project by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the interagency committee behind the project.

In addition to Interior, the committee includes representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Executive Office of the President.

Data will reside with the agencies that created it, which is where it is most accurate, and shared via the platform, FGDC said.

The idea is to allow decision-makers and other users to see complex issues and events in context, identify trends and relationships that might have gone unnoticed, and use maps to communicate clearly, the committee said.

For example, Interior said, the initial version includes environmental clean-up data from EPA and coastal and hurricane data from NOAA that could be layered onto a topographic map from Interior to assess hurricane vulnerability. The platform is tied to Data.gov, the online federal data depository.

Interior said the platform is a work in progress that will continue to be updated in the months ahead.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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