Geospatial Platform: Modernization Roadmap

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The U.S. Department of the Interior and Federal Geographic Data Committee have collaborated on the release of Version 3.0 of "Modernization Roadmap for the Geospatial Platform." Released in August 2010, this document outlines a place-based approach for managing all geospatial data in the United States.

A particularly interesting element of this release is the wiki designed to discuss the platform, geoplatform.ideascale.com. The wiki supports open conversation on the nature and key features of the geospatial platform, and has attracted a number of sophisticated ideas and comments about the role of standards, tools, and other elements toward making a common, effective approach to geospatial data.

This strategy document is part of the Geospatial Platform web site, developed by partner agencies of FGDC. The home page for this initiative cites the President's FY2011 Budget as motivation and explanation:

In 2010 and 2011, Federal data managers for geospatial data will move to a portfolio management approach, creating a Geospatial Platform to support Geospatial One-Stop, place-based initiatives, and other potential future programs. […] The Geospatial Platform will explore opportunities for increased collaboration with Data.gov, with an emphasis on reuse of architectural standards and technology, ultimately increasing access to geospatial data.

What is the Geospatial Platform, exactly? The home page describes it as "a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services, and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure, for use by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs and the broader needs of the Nation." The Modernization Roadmap says it is "the next generation of Federal geospatial resource management, building upon the successes of The National Map, Geospatial One Stop (GOS), the Geospatial Line of Business (Geo LoB) and numerous other ongoing interagency geospatial initiatives."

Although NOAA is a sponsoring agency and the oil response application is obviously marine-centric, there does not appear to be an appreciation of the 3-dimensional nature (4 dimensions, including time) of "place-based mapping" in the plan, the Gulf oil spill response site, or the discussion pages. The relationship of the Geospatial Platform to NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System is likewise not addressed in the plan.

The Geospatial Platform dialog hosted by IdeaScale represents an interesting approach toward evolving and improving the initiative. A significant number of sophisticated comments have been entered in the first two months of the project being presented. The capability of this site to flexibly manage a large number of robust threads has not been tested on this topic (yet), but as a social experiment in developing scientific data management strategies, it is of some interest. (At the risk of going way off topic, you may also want to explore the Dunder-Mifflin IdeaScale site, strictly in the interest of social networking research of course.)