Geo data on common ground
- By Brian Robinson
- Nov 11, 2001
State and local governments looking for ways to locate geographic data or
communicate with potential project partners now have their very own Web
Part of the National Integrated Land System (NILS), the GeoCommunicator
Web site provides a "virtual land community" where users can deal with most
is a joint project of the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the
Forest Service. It provides a space in which users can download geographic
data and subscribe to "areas of interest" to receive notification of activities,
events and updated maps.
Counties, for example, could use the portal to look for potential cost-sharing
partners and keep abreast of opportunities by sharing project information
and other items of geographic interest. The portal also can be used to set
up forums, discussion groups and other networking activities.
"We look to three kinds of people to use the portal: those who are just
browsing, those who want to subscribe to areas of interest and those who
want to be providers of data," said Leslie Cone, a project manager in BLM's
The success of the portal will hinge on recruiting data providers to
ensure the data will be as current as possible.
The NILS project (www.blm.gov/nils) was launched
to meet the demand for data from land resource managers. It integrates survey
data with parcel-based land models in a geographic information systems environment.
GeoCommunicator was developed with extensive input from state and local
governments, according to Cone, as well as from businesses and academic
sources. It's the first of a number of program modules that will come out
of NILS, with others expected in fiscal years 2002 and 2003.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.