Agencies tap into recreational data

Agencies tap into recreational data

In a joint effort to publicize recreational environmental data for public use, the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture will be hosting the myAmerica Development Summit to expand the best ways to make this information available to the public. 

The April 11- 12 myAmerica Summit will augment the project and goals of both agencies by bringing experts in technology and outdoor recreation together to collaborate on solutions for using data to promote and protect public lands. 

Summit participants will “develop trip-planning tools, enhance current online resources and cultivate methods for sharing data more easily – all in the name of improving access to America’s federal lands,” the Interior Department said in its announcement.

In 2013, more than 400 million recreation visits were paid to the national parks, wildlife refuges, monuments and other public lands Interior manages. These visits alone contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy, supporting approximately 355,000 jobs nationwide, the agency said.

“Engaging entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to help transform disparate sources of information on public lands into useful, user-friendly formats will inspire visitors to explore our public lands and resources, while boosting tourism, outdoor recreation, jobs and economic activity in local communities,” said Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.Both DOI and USDA have laid the groundwork for easier access to recreational data with the creation of the Recreation Information Database (RIDB) application programming interface, which provides all RIDB data in fully machine-readable and filtered data feeds or downloads. 

RIDB is part of Recreation One Stop, a program that aims to provide a single source of information such as recreation areas, facilities, campsites, tours and permit entrances on federal lands, historic sites, museums and other attractions/resources. The USDA will debut the API platform and the information it has collected at the myAmerica Summit.

In addition to resources such as the RIDB, the myAmerica Summit will feature a hackathon to develop additional technological platforms and tools. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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