The Changing Geospatial Landscape – A Second Look



A Report of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee, December 2015

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This is the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) report to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)  that takes a second look at NGAC’s original report to the FGDC in 2009.  The title of this report “The Changing Geospatial Landscape” is even more relevant today than it was back in 2009.  This report not only provides an excellent summary and analysis of our evolving technology and recommendations for the management of Federal and national geospatial programs in the future, but it also clearly identifies a number of social, economic and policy issues our nation and society face to satisfy the ubiquitous demand to answer a single question “WHERE?”.

So why should we care in Indiana?

  • First off, it is a really well written report and I guarantee it will get you thinking “outside your current geospatial box”.
  • Next, these Federal and national initiatives will be spending your tax dollars, and the new policies that evolve over the next few years will have a direct impact on how you do your job.
  • Finally, the provenance (the place of origin or earliest known history of something) for a number of these national efforts can be traced directly back to the geospatial projects and policy developed right here in Indiana over the last decades by Indiana’s geospatial community.

This NGAC report also clearly identifies and acknowledges that…

  • “…traditional path remains relevant, especially with regard to geospatial Information for which government is, for statutory, economic, or public good reasons, the authoritative source”.  “The return on investment comes from the beneficial use of geospatial data to guide decision-­‐making and to fuel operational efficiency.”
  • “Data Accessibility & Sharing.  …public sector imposed subscription fees and licensing restrictions on data diminishing, the fight against redundant effort is easier, as are “bottom up” approaches to maintaining National Spatial Data assets.”
  • “Rural-­‐Urban dichotomy.  There are significant differences in the availability of Internet services throughout the United States.  A digital divide exists…  This exacerbates competitive advantages and leaves rural communities behind. Strictly relying on market forces and striving for complete efficiency does not always result in the best societal outcome.”

Here are a few examples of our solutions, and what we know and live every day here in Indiana**

  • We are over midway into our second decade of openly and freely sharing now over 260 layers of statewide GIS data through what has become our IndianaMap initiative.
  • We are entering our third generation for the Statewide development and distribution of high-resolution (1-foot pixel or better) digital orthoimagery, and elevation data – starting back in 2005, with refreshes in 2011 – 2015, and now 2016 -2018.
  • Starting in 2008, Indiana launched a County Data Sharing initiative to share statewide GIS Parcel, Road, Address, and Boundary layers on IndianaMap, and in 2015 we proudly reached 100% participation by all 92 Indiana Counties.
  • Finally, the GIO’s development of a NEW statewide GIS Broadband Map, and a NEW statewide GIS map of Indiana’s surface waters at local-resolution detail and scale, now gives us the critical information we need to help drive economic growth and sustainability for all communities across Indiana.

**Thanks to all members of Indiana’s geospatial Community and through the leadership of Indiana’s Geographic Information Office and all past and current Members of the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC).

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