The Federal Geographic Data Committee quietly launched the Geospatial Platform yesterday, with content, documents and details that frame further data sharing among a host of federal government partners. To date the site is more about framing the common data, services, and applications that are envisioned, and providing details about the objectives of the initiative. The impetus for the effort comes from a presidential call to action from February 2010.
“The Geospatial Platform will be a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services, and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure, for use by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs and the broader needs of the Nation.”
The Geospatial Platform builds on related efforts, including Geospatial One-Stop, the Geospatial Line of Business, and Geospatial SmartBUY. The site includes a timeline that outlines the progress to date, which has included versions and revisions to a roadmap that will soon be finalized, an active demonstration site in the Oil Spill Response Map, and stakeholder engagement.
Partner agencies include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA.
The idea of common data has been a long-promoted concept that has had some progress, but mixed results. The duplication in road and address data from the most recent U.S. Census was a particularly glaring setback on more coordinated efforts. The idea of common services is an ambitious combination of geocoding, basemap services, requirements development and tracking tools, cloud computing platforms and file transfer protocol (FTP) services, acquisition services, data production services and training. The idea of common web-based applications includes the idea of users performing geospatial visualization or analysis, is one of the more interesting areas as it might include the combination of data from multiple agencies for analysis needs common to each.
The vision for the geospatial platform takes a leap forward in streamlining geospatial data collection, delivery, visualization and analysis. It promises far greater efficiency, and easier access to government resources by the public. This will be an exciting initiative to watch, particularly given the constrained budget environment. It will take clear political will, and increased cooperation to pull off this ambitious project.
You can comment and view the dialogue about building the Geospatial Platform on this site.
You can download the Modernization Roadmap for the Geospatial Platform [PDF] here.