State officials in charge of geospatial information systems must coordinate data-sharing efforts with federal agencies to mature the United States’ GIS infrastructure, one state GIS leader recently told StateScoop.
Karen Rogers, staff policy analyst with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and president of the National States Geographic Information Council, says on StateScoop’s GIS Addressed podcast that the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, which was established in the 1990s, needs heightened collaboration across the various levels of government to ensure coordination and reduce duplicative efforts.
“There’s a lot of work to do, and it is complex, and it’s hard to make a system that works for 50 different states that do it 50 different ways,” Rogers says on the podcast. “So where we’re going to take it from here is NSGIC is going to lead conversations between the states and federal agencies.”
Rogers’ call for work with federal agencies follows passage of the Geospatial Data Act in 2018, and release of the 2019 Geospatial Maturity Assessment, which graded each responding state’s GIS efforts. Upon comparing those results with the national report card produced by the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations, she found a serious disconnect, she says.
“The initial 2019 geospatial maturity report report was just that — initial,” Rogers wrote in a post on NSGIC’s GeoJava blog. “We found a huge variety of circumstances and programs across the states which made one fair grading rubric difficult to get right the first time. … The grading metrics deserve a closer look and improvement next time.”
As NSGIC leads those conversations between state and federal entities, Rogers says the group will change the way it surveys the states, but also build improved infrastructure for collaboration between the two. Alongside those efforts, she says, NSGIC will work to develop best practices for states to guide that collaboration.
“We’re certainly looking forward to having those conversations to better define what it is that we need and work toward developing those systems,” Rogers says. “We’re going to build a cheat sheet — you know, ‘this is what works, this is the secret sauce in this state.’”
On the podcast:
Things to listen for:
GIS Addressed is a podcast from StateScoop and the National States Geographic Information Council about the role of geographic information systems in government. Catch up by listening to Season 1 (2018) and Season 2 (2019).