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Feds Launch New GeoSpatial Platform

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, June 15 2010

Developing an online home for geospatial data has been part of the Obama administration's open government push, and the official launch of a new site at GeoPlatform.gov this week coincides with a push by several government agencies to distribute data on the Gulf coast oil mess:

GeoPlatform.gov/gulfresponse is a new online tool that provides you with near-real time information about the response effort. Developed by NOAA with the EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Interior, the site offers you a “one-stop shop” for spill response information.

The site integrates the latest data the federal responders have about the oil spill’s trajectory with fishery area closures, wildlife data and place-based Gulf Coast resources — such as pinpointed locations of oiled shoreline and current positions of deployed research ships — into one customizable interactive map.

The new GeoPlatform.gov site is designed to play nicely with the Obama administration's Data.gov, "with an emphasis," according the the presidential FY '11 budget, "on reuse of architectural standards and technology, ultimately increasing access to geospatial data." More from NextGov's Bob Brewin here.

Geospatial data and open government have a history together. "Gov 2.0" advocate Tim O'Reilly has, for example, recently been using the opening up of the Global Positioning System for broad use by Ronald Reagan (and, to be fair, Bill Clinton after him) as an example of the fruits of pushing government resources into the public and seeing what could be made from them.

GeoPlatform.gov is, by admission of a tag line pasted prominently on the site, "a work in progress, by at the moment it does feature a Google-earth based map on the Gulf coast oil mess that overlays multiple data sets, from fishery closures to BP claim centers.

"The dynamic nature of the BP oil spill has been a challenge for a range of communities – from hotel operators to fishermen to local community leaders," reads the site. "We know the American people have questions about how the federal government is responding to this crisis, and we are committed to providing the answers with clarity and transparency. The site you’re viewing right now is a symbol of that commitment."

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