EPA creates geographic info job

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Environmental Protection Agency has hired a geographic information officer to oversee development of an architecture for mapping and imagery data.

Brenda Smith started the job this week and reports to EPA chief information officer Kim Nelson, who created the new position. The geographic information officer ensures that all information collected by the agency includes geospatial data and follows standards so it can be shared with other organizations, Nelson said.

"We're trying to develop an overall architecture and approach for the agency," Nelson said, speaking after a March 1 presentation at the Information Processing Interagency Conference sponsored by the Government Information Technology Executive Council.

Although the EPA has groups working on different activities with geospatial data, "the tools and technology are such that we can begin to do more in a fashion that allows for more sharing," Nelson said.

The geographic information officer will work to create a basic infrastructure so each regional office can quickly generate and share the necessary geospatial data, rather than "working from scratch and creating applications," Nelson said. The agency spends a lot of money on geospatial data, she said, and officials need to develop a common approach. By having the position report directly to the CIO, officials can ensure the geospatial officer has strong leadership capability and visibility into the agency's geospatial efforts, she said.

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