DATA MANAGEMENT

Where in the world is the geospatial data?

Policy, technology combine to improve data management

Agencies need to better coordinate their geospatial information needs to reduce duplicative efforts and provide more complete information, several experts recently told Congress.

At a July 23 hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee's Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, witnesses said the federal government’s approach to geospatial data is not well-integrated with state and local efforts.

While experts say policy changes must be made to improve the situation, they add that emerging technologies might help agencies make better use of geospatial information.

For example, Google recently launched a new version of Google Earth Enterprise, the technology used to build Google Earth and Google Maps, said Dylan Lorimer, product manager at Google Earth Enterprise.

The product lets organizations use their geospatial information to build custom versions of Google Earth and Maps, Lorimer said.

“A number of our customers have huge archives of aerial or satellite imagery over their areas of interest, so now we are allowing them to essentially build with all of that data and view it with Google Earth,” Lorimer said.

For example, the South Florida Water Management District, a regional agency charged with managing and protecting water resources, uses Google Earth Enterprise to create a common picture of the state of Florida’s waterways.

The agency uses aerial photography and information layers depicting structures, canals, district-owned lands, water use permits and environmental monitoring stations.

Water officials throughout the district log on to the system to see all available information — such as canal levels — visually integrated in one place.

The new version lets organizations easily publish custom globes to the Web in 3-D. The previous version allowed only flat, 2-D maps to be published to the Web. Anything more complicated required customized servers and programming.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • People
    Federal CIO Suzette Kent

    Federal CIO Kent to exit in July

    During her tenure, Suzette Kent pushed on policies including Trusted Internet Connection, identity management and the creation of the Chief Data Officers Council

  • Defense
    Essye Miller, Director at Defense Information Management, speaks during the Breaking the Gender Barrier panel at the Air Space, Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 19, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Chad Trujillo)

    Essye Miller: The exit interview

    Essye Miller, DOD's outgoing principal deputy CIO, talks about COVID, the state of the tech workforce and the hard conversations DOD has to have to prepare personnel for the future.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.