MN Geospatial Commons Being Planned
By Mark Kotz, Metropolitan Council
A joint MetroGIS and MnGeo advisory workgroup is moving forward at full steam to define and facilitate a test-bed implementation of what they are tentatively calling the “Minnesota Geospatial Commons”.
What is the Commons?
The Commons is envisioned to be a next-generation data discovery site, and much, much more. The organizations that brought you the Data Deli, MN Geographic Data Clearinghouse and MetroGIS DataFinder, along with others from state, regional, county and city government, are working together on a coordinated, next-generation site that is planned to allow users to:
Search for, view and download data
Find, acquire and use applications
Find and use web services
The planned site would include the following functions:
Web service ratings and monitoring
Back-end broker that connects applications to web services
User reviews of data, web services and applications
Geospatial community news and discussion
Shared development space for application developers
State standards and user-provided tips and how-to documents
A list of the preliminary proposed functions and priority level can be found here. Additionally, a survey will be used to collect more information about the needs of potential users of the Geospatial Commons (see below).
The workgroup is planning to implement a test version of the high priority functions using the ESRI Geoportal Extension. MnGeo has agreed to host the test implementation. The multi-agency implementation group includes MnGeo, the Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. They will be directed by the full Geospatial Commons Workgroup which will also be involved with testing.
The group hopes to have something tangible to test and report at the 2010 MN GIS/LIS Conference in October.
It is too early to know if the MN Geospatial Commons will replace the existing major MN geospatial data discovery sites, or work with them to better coordinate the effort, but the intention is to make one main location where people can find and share geospatial resources in Minnesota.