Monday, April 9, 2012

HSIP Gold and Freedom Released for 2012

On Friday, April 6, 2012, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD) Working Group officially announced release of the Homeland Security Infrastructure Protection (HSIP) geospatial data sets for 2012. There are two versions of these data sets designed to provide the nation's Emergency Services Sector with the most complete and up-to-date information about the location of the United States' infrastructure. As provided by DHS, find below descriptions and procedures for ordering:
HSIP Gold 2012 Description: HSIP Gold is a unified homeland infrastructure geospatial data inventory assembled by NGA in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for common use by the Homeland Security and Homeland Defense (HLS/HD) and Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery (EPR&R) Community. It is a compilation of geospatial data characterizing domestic infrastructure and boundaries assembled from a variety of Federal agencies, commercial vendors, and State mission partners. Its use is therefore restricted to the licensing and use terms set forth by the data source entities. HSIP Gold 2012 is a password protected five DVD set and is subject to For Official Use Only (FOUO) handling guidance.
Ordering Instructions: Due to licensing restrictions, NGA can only disseminate HSIP Gold to those requestors who are validated as Federal Interagency members of the HLS/HD Community (or their supporting National Guard Forces, contractors, and consultants). If you would like to request the HSIP Gold 2012 data, please login to the HIFLD Web site ( and select the “Submit Request for HSIP Gold 2012” link. If you are an HSIP Gold 2011 recipient, you are not required to re-request HSIP Gold 2012. To receive a copy of HSIP Gold 2012, you MUST validate your user information under “My HSIP Requests” for processing and delivery. For assistance with HSIP Gold access or dissemination, please contact the NGA HSIP Team at:

HSIP Freedom 2012 Description - HSIP Freedom is composed of data layers from HSIP Gold that have been identified as license-free and distribut­able to Federal, State, Local, and Tribal Government, Industry Partners, and their supporting contractors. HSIP Freedom 2012 can be downloaded via the HSIN GIS Community of Interest (COI).
Ordering Instructions: Access to the HSIN GIS COI portal can be requested by sending an email request to or by calling the HSIN Help Desk at 1-866-430-0162. Please ensure the HSIN “GIS Community of Interest” is requested for processing.
Requestors must be prepared to provide the HSIN Help Desk and HSIN GIS portal owner with the following information:
  •  Name
  •  Official email address
  •  Organization
  •  Phone number
  •  Supervisor’s name
Users without a “.gov or .mil” email must also have a government sponsor and include:
  • Government sponsor’s name
  • Government sponsor’s email
  • Government sponsor’s organization
  • Government sponsor’s phone number 
Access to HSIP Freedom is updated every Monday. If you have just received access to the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Community of Interest (COI) (, please return the following Monday to download HSIP Freedom.

Ques­tions on HSIP Freedom can be e-mailed to the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) Infrastruc­ture Information Collection Division (IICD) at

Still need more information?  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) sheets about both HSIP Gold and Freedom can be found in the right column of this site.  

Comment: If the above information looks like a bunch of stuff you've never heard about before, don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Hopefully, the following bullets will help you gain a better understanding of what this is all about:

  • There are two main differences between HSIP Gold and Freedom. 1.) Raw Numbers - HSIP Gold now has approximately 450 layers of geospatial data, while Freedom contains about 260. 2.) Distribution Restrictions - Most of the additional layers in HSIP Gold were either purchased from vendors or were acquired from sources that placed restrictions on distribution. Therefore, distribution of Gold is closely controlled because these licensing restrictions typically amount to money flowing back to data providers (for example, Dun and Bradstreet). There are no such issues with the data sets in Freedom. Consequently, in most cases this means Gold is restricted to the Federal government and a handful of State agencies, while Freedom is widely available down to the local level.
  • The HSIP data sets owe their existence to the realization after 9/11 that local emergencies could quickly turn into national disasters, and the Federal government's geospatial understanding lacked both the granularity and uniformity necessary to effectively support local response efforts. Unfortunately, it was a lesson that had to be relearned during Katrina.
  • Although the combined efforts of DoD, DHS, NGA, USGS and organizations like HIFLD have brought the nation a great distance from those previous tragedies, reality remains that when it comes to static geospatial data about infrastructure, the vertical and horizontal flow of information is still not what it should be. Data in these sets is only as good as the information gathered by Federal contractors and/or provided by units of government who are willing to share. Therefore, a point to remember: "The Man Standing On the Piece of Ground Knows It Best." If the data you are using from either Gold or Freedom doesn't pass the sniff test of having come from a local source - use it with caution!

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