By Steve Swazee, Co-Chair, Emergency Preparedness Committee, Minnesota Governor’s Council on Geographic Information
In late summer 2008, the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo, formerly LMIC) and its project partners received a $50,000 grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) for the purposes of improving data availability of four types of structures in Minnesota:
Schools (public and private)
Awarded under the National Spatial Data Infrastructure CAP program, the project’s overall goal is to develop partnerships and the technical capacity for the statewide collection, publication and long-term, sustainable maintenance of these four data layers. The specific tasks for the Minnesota Structures Collaborative – An Initiative to Support the National Map and NSDI are outlined in an earlier newsletter article.
A team made up of MnGeo staff and 12 volunteers from the Emergency Preparedness Committee has been using three interrelated approaches to execute these tasks: outreach, technical design, and web tool development:
Outreach includes upcoming formal presentations at the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers Convention, Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association Convention, and the GIS/LIS Consortium Conference, as well as one-on-one engagement with state and local emergency management and GIS personnel.
Technical design work has focused on understanding the current federal, state, local and discipline-related databases in order to determine the best approach for harvesting and maintaining each of the four layers for this project and in the future.
Web tool development is creating a prototype point and attribute editing tool that will facilitate entry of structure data at a local level; testing is expected to begin in mid-September. Issues related to various federal data collection models/software and symbology standardization for these layers are also being explored as time and resources allow.
Using the prototype editing tool, local volunteers will review and update the location and attributes of structures with which they are familiar. Based on the sample sets being locally reviewed, the project team will evaluate the web-based tool, the quality of the data acquired and the experiences of local partners validating the data. Project findings will be documented in a final report and used to enhance the processes and develop long-term partnerships.
Although November 30, 2009 is the deadline for completing the FGDC-funded part of the project, this effort is ultimately seen as the start of a process designed to create engagement, collaboration and technical capacity that will accurately maintain these four data layers on an ongoing basis. With that successful outcome, it is hoped important additional structures data can be brought into the program over time.
If you are interested in participating in this effort, especially by helping to validate some local data, or would just like to learn more, please contact John Hoshal at email@example.com; 651-201-2482, or Steve Swazee at firstname.lastname@example.org; 612-239-6981.