Census tests boundaries on Web

Open GIS Consortium

As part of a pilot program, the U.S. Census Bureau is planning to make a

Web-based system out of the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS), a manual,

paper-based system for revising state, county and local government unit

boundary information.

Census is sponsoring the second phase of the Open GIS Consortium Critical

Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI-2), which is part of the OGC's

program to foster better interoperability among various geographic information

systems products and to produce a set of publicly available interface specifications.

Census officials hope the new system, called WebBAS, will provide a

completely online process that governments can use to file quarterly updates,

said Paul Daisey, an information technology specialist at the Census Bureau.

Such a system will allow amended results to be available in a much more

timely fashion than with the manual system, he said.

"If it all works out, we'll be able to save a lot of dollars [on the

update process] and have a better way of presenting the data to the public,"

he said. "It will also allow those places that are small enough that they

don't have any GIS expertise to update their boundary data themselves over

the Web."

CIPI-2 pilot development is expected to formally begin Nov. 12, with

first public demonstrations of the resulting prototype systems to be held

by the end of March 2003.

At the same time, the Census Bureau also intends to use CIPI-2 to develop

a standards-based Web server for its Topologically Integrated Geographic

Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data. The standalone TIGER mapping service

has been used to make Census data available to the public for the past 10

years, but its proprietary status has made it increasingly cumbersome to

use, according to Daisey.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached

at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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