Sunday, November 20, 2011

FGDC Launches Geospatial Platform

On November 9th, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) launched its Geospatial Platform, which it touts as providing, "shared and trusted geospatial data, services, and applications for use by government agencies, their partners and the public."  There are three basic services available through the application.  Users can:

  • Create their own maps by combining their data with public domain data,
  • Collaborate in public and private groups, and
  • Share maps with others through web browsers and mobile technologies.

Go here to read the news release by the FGDC.

Comment: The Geospatial Platform is a nice start toward making all federal geospatial data reliably available (and viewable) in one place, but it has a LONG way to go meet a news release goal stated by Joe Klimavicz, NOAA’s Chief Information Officer:

“We believe the Geospatial Platform will be an extremely valuable resource in both responding to, as well as sharing information on, future natural and man-made disasters. This authoritative resource of geospatial data and services will provide users with access to the information necessary to make informed decisions about critical issues."

Beyond the fact there is already Virtual USA, OneView, The National Map, and several other competing federal platforms for that very same function of government, a check of fire station location data in the Geospatial Platform found only the information for Indiana was available.  The USGS's National Map on the other hand, displayed that data for the entire United States.

On the plus side, the Geospatial Platform hosts in one place a variety of selectable base layers such as NAIP Imagery, Bing Maps and Open Street Map.  Thus, given time and a clearer definition of goals, it appears the Geospatial Platform will be a solid way forward for the delivery of geospatial data to the majority of Americans.

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