Proposed map initiative a no-show at local level

U.S. diplomacy has not been very successful below the federal level.

A federal initiative to map critical infrastructures such as roads and water and sewer lines along the U.S.-Canadian border is supposedly in the works, but an information technology official in Ontario said the province, which has enormous databases of electronic maps, has yet to be contacted.

Jim Hamilton, director of information resource management at Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources, said there is a "degree of dialogue" on the issue, but given the amount of work his province has already done, he's surprised the United States has not made it a more formal engagement.

The idea is to map critical infrastructure 200 miles north and south of each of the borders, Mexican as well as Canadian, he said.

That would stretch into Ontario's heartland, an area called the Golden Horseshoe around Lake Ontario from Niagara Falls up through Toronto, home to a population of about 12 million. A large amount of travel and commerce occurs in this area, Hamilton said.

By working with the provincial, state and local agencies on each side of the border, officials could easily reduce costs for the mapping initiative by gathering information once and using it many times.

"I guess all I'm asking is when can we get effectively engaged so that the sooner we can start collaborating, the more our dollar can be shared to collect something once and then share that information," he said.

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