Park Service works with states

The National Park Service is developing a point-of-sale system that will allow citizens to pay online for entry passes to national parks and forests.

National Park Service

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Recreation.gov

National Park Service officials are engaging state and local governments in every new step that they take to make the most out of the resources they administer and the information they hold on those resources.

At the federal level, as part of the Recreation.gov e-government initiative Web portal, the Park Service is developing a point-of-sale system that will allow citizens to pay online for entry passes to national parks and forests. That is part of a larger effort to straighten out the agency's internal information technology infrastructure, which has included getting all of the Park Service's employees on the same communications systems and network backbone, said Dom Nessi, chief information officer for the agency.

However, because national parks, forests and monuments are only one part of the country's infrastructure, agency officials also are seeking to create better ties with state park services and other similar entities, Nessi told state officials August 2 at the Western CIO Forum in Santa Fe, N.M.

To begin this, the Park Service had the National Association of State CIOs run its enterprise architecture maturity model on the agency's enterprise architecture. That measurement determined that the Park Service is still relatively early in the process, which would normally be discouraging, but it also means that there are plenty of opportunities for the agency to enhance its infrastructure in conjunction with states and the larger Interior Department architecture, Nessi said.

In the next few months, the agency will kick off a natural resource information architecture effort, he said. The Park Service holds information on plants and animals, air and water quality, and many other natural resources that affect state and local planning and management, and state participation in that project will be critical for all levels of government, he said.

Agency officials also are looking at developing a repository of metadata on all of the documents, images, video and artifacts that the Park Service holds. The agency has the second largest museum collection behind the Smithsonian Institution, and people from all levels of government and society access much of that collection, Nessi said.

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