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Press Release



Federal Geographic Data Committee Launches New Geospatial Website


State-of-the-art platform has tools for the public to create maps, share information


11/09/2011


Contact: Adam Fetcher, (DOI) 202-208-6416
Ivan DeLoatch, (USGS) 703-648-5752


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The federal government and its geospatial partners today unveiled www.geoplatform.gov, a prototype Geospatial Platform website providing an initial view of the future of user-friendly, integrated, federal data collections on common geographic maps.

This prototype version of the Geospatial Platform combines map-based data and tools with the latest internet technologies to deliver geospatial information in a simple, understandable package. Users—including the public, federal agencies and their partners—can easily find federally-maintained geospatial data, services and applications, as well as access data from our partners across State, Tribal, Regional and local governments.

"The Geospatial Platform will provide a user-friendly ‘one-stop shop’ for place-based data you can trust, and the tools to display that data on a map platform," said Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science.

Through the website, users can create their own maps by combining their data with public domain data and can collaborate in public and private groups with others who share their interests. Maps assembled through the Geospatial Platform can be shared with others through web browsers and mobile technologies. All of this is possible without requiring users to install software on their own computers.

The Geospatial Platform has been developed as a partnership among the member agencies of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), an interagency committee composed of representatives from the Executive Office of the President, and Cabinet level and independent Federal agencies including Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The FGDC promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. Assistant Secretary Castle serves as chair of the FGDC steering committee. The Geospatial Platform is a key driver for FGDC member agencies to improve the quality and access of their unique geospatial assets. It enhances and complements efforts that are underway to develop mission-specific geospatial applications in agencies such as NOAA, EPA, Interior and Agriculture.

"The ability to quickly visualize combinations of different types of data will allow decision makers and citizens to make timely, informed judgments on important land and resource issues,” Castle emphasized. “The Platform will also promote efficiency and reduce duplication of effort by providing the means to create unique maps that can be built once and reused many times. In Interior, it truly will be the “platform” we build upon as we develop and share geospatial tools to enhance our specific mission -- the responsible use of the nation’s land, water and coastal resources.”

Examples of the information available on the initial version of the Geospatial Platform include environmental clean-up data from EPA and coastal environmental sensitivity data and historic hurricane data from NOAA. These data sets could be combined on a topographic map from Interior to assess hurricane vulnerability in coastal areas.

Developing an online infrastructure for increasing access to data, services and tools has been a cornerstone of the Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative. The official launch of the Geospatial Platform improves the availability and usability of geospatial information from all federal agencies. The Platform will also integrate and display the geospatial information on the Administration’s Data.gov site. The FGDC partnered with the General Services Administration to improve access to geospatial data on Data.gov, including the development of a new geospatial data catalog service at: geo.data.gov.

"With these tools, all users have the ability to view maps from their partners and peers, to review and change those maps by adding their own information and expertise, and then re-share the results with groups of people they define. The Geospatial Platform opens the door to collaboration around maps and the government’s geospatial information in new and very exciting ways," said Malcolm Jackson, EPA’s Chief Information Officer.

Joe Klimavicz, NOAA’s Chief Information Officer, said, “We believe the Geospatial Platform will be an extremely valuable resource in both responding to, as well as sharing information on, future natural and man-made disasters. This authoritative resource of geospatial data and services will provide users with access to the information necessary to make informed decisions about critical issues.”

In developing the Geospatial Platform, the FGDC has held outreach sessions to obtain user feedback with multiple partner agencies and external stakeholders. The FGDC has also received input and advice from the National Geospatial Advisory Committee, which includes experts from the private sector, academia, and all levels of government. FGDC will collaborate with partners to continuously expand the content and resources available through the site.

The Geospatial Platform is a work in progress that will continue to be refined, updated, and refreshed over the next several months with additional data, services and tools, based on user feedback and partner inputs.

Additional information about the FGDC is available at www.fgdc.gov

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