Interior renews GIS pact

The Interior Department has launched an effort to expand the use of geographic information system technology by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and tribal governments.

The department has negotiated a three-year follow-on purchase agreement with ESRI that will put the software into the hands of more tribal members and more employees at BIA offices, with locations nationwide.

The bureau already relies on ESRI products and will provide training to new users.

"The economic blueprint for 'Indian Country' includes full use of the tools of the modern, high-tech world," Aurene Martin, acting assistant secretary of Indian affairs, said in a Feb. 26 news release.

Since the late 1890s, the department has been responsible for handling the $1 billion in fees that oil and gas companies, ranchers, farmers and other businesses pay tribes annually for using some 56 million acres that American Indians received in treaties with the U.S. government.

BIA manages the bulk of the work and, as such, applications of GIS include tracking land ownership.

"This technology is the latest tool in the field of spatial data mapping," Martin said. "Land and resource managers, as well as tribal governments across Indian Country, will continue to benefit from the use of this modern software and they will acquire it and technical support at the lowest possible cost."

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