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The FCC Wants You to Get Your Map On

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, February 9 2011

It won't be until the 17th of this month that the National Broadband Map roll out out the door (which is in an of itself exciting stuff, but one digresses). In the meantime, though, you can get your map fix by messing around with IssueMap. That's a new "copy, paste, map" online platform introduced by the Federal Communications Commission that lets you paste in -- or upload -- geographic data, push a few buttons, make a few selections, and if all goes well, produce an interactive map of the U.S. that you can then share with all the world.

So why is the FCC behind a project to create a public platform that lets anyone map anyone old data set you want, as long as there are place-based boundaries in the mix? Well, for one thing, the FCC collects a tremendous amount of data on the state of communications in the United States, and the team brought in under the Obama administration sees in all that data the potential to shape the telecom landscape. But data is hard to interpret, maps somewhat easier. So Michael Byrne was brought as the agency's Geographic Information Officer after serving in a similar post for the state of California. IssueMap is his baby, and one that's been a glimmer in this eye for a while now. Blogs Byrne:

IssueMap is a long time coming. As a board member with the National States Geographic Information Council, some colleagues and I identified the need for a product that would produce maps from complicated data steps in just three steps: copy, paste, map. IssueMap is that product.

O'Reilly's Alex Howard has more details.

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