EPA easing flow of data
- By John Monroe
- May 10, 2000
The Environmental Protection Agency has launched an initiative to improve
the flow of information among federal and state agencies that collect environmental
data and the organizations that provide it.
EPA has made its own environmental data more accessible to the public
through such projects as EnviroFacts, a vast store of information on air
quality, water quality, drinking water safety and other data.
But states, as well as private-sector organizations, also manage a wealth
of data. The Information Integration Initiative (I3) is aimed at providing
secure venues through which that information might be shared.
I3 recognizes that "the states are just as much partners with us in
this effort" as they are beneficiaries, said Emma McNamara, director of
the Information Access Division in EPA's Office of Information Analysis
and Access. McNamara spoke Tuesday at the Government CIO Summit in Savannah,
EPA intends to build a series of environmental databases or products
that federal and state agencies will help populate.
I3 should make it easier for people across the country and at different
levels of government to find the information they need, according to the
EPA also expects that the improved flow of information will lead to
more accurate data. People searching environmental records online will be
able to send a message if they find a discrepancy and even track the resolution
of that problem, McNamara said.
The agency plans to undertake a series of small projects before tackling
larger goals. Early projects include:
* Development of a facilities registry, which will include core records
about more than 50,000 facilities being monitored.
* Test of a central receiving system, which will serve as a one-stop
data interchange for information coming from various sources.
* Creation of a geospatial data server, which will serve as the repository
for a wide variety of data sets that are tied to maps, including EnviroFacts
and hydrographic and elevation data sets.