A Retrospective Return on Investment Study for Spatial Data Infrastructure

By its very definition, Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) has many different input providers and consumers, as well as emerging and unknown new uses and repeated uses over time. Therefore, placing a quantitative measure on the return on investment (ROI) of an SDI is an extremely complex problem.

In 2005, Indiana completed an ambitious project to map the entire state once over with high-quality orthophotography. These new maps became the foundation of the IndianaMap – our statewide SDI – a detailed map of Indiana to be used by government, business, and citizens. The 2005 orthophotography was part of a grant-funded project coordinated by the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC). With known costs and nearly three years of usage, IGIC endeavored to conduct a retrospective ROI study to see how the investment paid off.

Our approach is similar to that taken by mineral economists’ Bhagwat and Ipe in their pioneering report Economic Benefits of Detailed Geologic Mapping to Kentucky [1]. Their approach is a retrospective study to first estimate the value to an individual map user and then to extend that value to all the possible map users over time to get an estimate of the aggregate benefits of a mapping program. Two separate methods were employed, aggregate value ROI and usage ROI, to evaluate the return on investment. The results of both methods are consistent and show a strong 34:1 return on investment in under three years. IndianaMap Orthophotography proves its worth as a good investment of public funds.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Input was sought from a known user base (those who are registered with the IndianaMap download sites and email distribution lists) through an appropriately designed questionnaire that was implemented through an online survey tool. The response rate to the survey was encouraging and exceeded commonly accepted response rates in marketing surveys.

For the purposes of this study, we make an estimation of total users based on 1521 registered users on the University Information Technology Services at Indiana University’s download site for the IndianaMap orthophotography (http://gis.iu.edu). These users download and use IndianaMap data on their own systems. They include government regulators, engineers, utilities, realtors, appraisers, mining companies, researchers, planning officials, and teachers. Three hundred fourteen (314) responses were received during May and June 2008. This is a 20% response rate and is nearly four times the rate considered acceptable in the marketing business [2].

Statewide, the orthophotography maps consist of a series of photo “tiles” each measuring 4000 feet by 4000 feet. There are 68,592 total tiles in the statewide project. The total cost of the orthophotography project acquisition and initial data distribution was $7,432,625 (this does not include project management or secondary web distribution by the IndianaMap collaborating organizations). For this analysis, IGIC used two standard measures of return on investment (ROI), specifically “Aggregate Value ROI”, and “Usage ROI”. The results show an impressive 34:1 return on investment. The statistical calculations are derived as follows:

Aggregate Value ROI = Vpt * Dt / Ct

This can also be expressed as:

Usage ROI = Upt / BEpt

Tt total tiles produced statewide

68,592 tiles

Ct cost for initial production & distribution statewide

$7,432,625.00

Cpt cost per tile expressed as an average for production and distribution

$108.00

Vpt value per tile as defined by survey respondents

$28.00

BEpt break-even per tile – the number of times  a single tile must be used to break even

3.87

Upt usage per tile – the average number of times each tile has been used

131

Dt distribution total – the estimate of total tiles distributed for use, defined by survey results

8,969,130

 

Figure 1. Sample County Tile Grid Ohio County depicting “tiles” each measuring 4000’ by 4000’ on the ground.  Each tile represents an aerial photograph.  In all, it takes 66,966 tiles to complete a statewide orthophotography map.

 

 

 

 

 

Aggregate Value ROI

To calculate the return on investment, we must calculate the aggregate value and divide that by the total costs for data production and initial distribution. We used the survey results from 312 respondents along with known costs of production for this calculation. Although a theoretical framework for estimating the value of maps exists1, the relevant data required to estimate it may not be available in the real world. Therefore, we used an empirical approach to estimate the monetary value of the maps. First, the estimated value per tile was calculated, where:

Estimate value per tile (Vpt) = average (user-defined value per project / tiles used per project)

On the survey, users were asked, “Had the 2005 orthophotography maps not been available, given the parameters of your operations and/or project, what would have been an appropriate amount of money to spend on the data?” This question was based on the premise that, in the absence of the IndianaMap orthophotography, the users would have to spend money to collect the information themselves. Such data provide a measure of the user-defined value of the maps. 204 (65%) respondents indicated a value or range of values.

Not unexpectedly the responses vary widely, for as stated by Barr and Masser [3], “Information has no inherent value, it is only of value once used and that value is related to the nature of the use rather than the nature of the information. As a result, information has very different values for different users.” Of those responding, some people indicated a range in the amount of money they would have reasonably spent. To maintain a conservative perspective, we consistently used the lesser value in cases where a range in values was indicated. Many of those not responding indicated that the total monetary value was difficult for them to estimate. Of those not providing a value, several indicated they had no budget to spend on the map data—their project simply would not have been possible without the availability of the IndianaMap. We put the user-defined estimate of the monetary value of the maps in the context of a single project and/or government operation for each respondent.

Respondents listed the geographic coverage area of their project and/or operations. Project size ranges from single acre sites to statewide. That coverage area was used to estimate the number of map tiles used per respondent. For each respondent, the monetary value (as described above) was divided by the number of tiles used to arrive at an estimated value per tile for each respondent. To ensure the results provide a conservative perspective, these results were plotted, and outliers (in this case, all estimated value equal to or greater than $300 per tile) were removed from the calculation. Finally, we averaged the results for all respondents, arriving at the estimated value per tile (Vpt) of $28.

Vpt original response summary statistics:

Mean 70.7
Median 1.38
Standard Deviation 217.84

Vpt summary statistics after removing outliers:

Mean 28.17
Median 1.10
Standard Deviation 57.89

It is noteworthy that on a per-response basis, a broad range exists in Vpt. This range reflects distinct value differences in the size of projects. When the data are grouped by the size of the project, the average Vpt for statewide projects ($4.71) is considerably lower than either multi-county projects ($22.14) or single county or smaller projects ($84.14). This can be interpreted as a function of the number of tiles required for different sized projects, with vastly more tiles statewide lowering the average Vpt. While smaller sized projects generally report large Vpt, it is the aggregate value of distinct (and sometimes unpredictable) uses that impart its worth, be it an important highway project, emergency response to flooding, tornado, or earthquake, or the location of a company like Honda to Indiana.

Next, we estimated use. Using the survey data, IGIC calculated the number of orthophotography map tiles used per project and/or operation and then summed the total number of map tiles used by all respondents. The results indicate an estimated total distribution and usage (Dt) of 8,969,130 tiles—a conservative estimate of usage based on a 20% response rate of known users. We use these data along with known project costs ($7,432,625) to calculate the ROI:

Aggregate Value ROI = Vpt * Dt / Ct = ($28 * 8,969,130) / $7,432,625 i.e., a 34:1 ROI [/av_textblock] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-kf1lvty5′ admin_preview_bg=”]

Usage ROI

To test the reliability of our model, we look at the problem another way by examining the “Usage ROI” in which the return is based on an estimate of usage per tile divided by the number of times a tile must be used to break even. For this approach, we express the return on investment by the following calculations:

Usage ROI = Upt / BEpt

Where,

Upt = Dt / Tt = 8,969,130 / 68,592 = 131

And where,

BEpt = Cpt / Vpt = $108 / $28 = 3.87

First, we estimated the number of times each tile has been used by taking the estimate of use (8,969,130 tiles) divided by the total number of tiles for the statewide project (68,592). Using these data, we see that, on average, each tile has been used 131 times.

Again, it should be noted this is a conservative estimate based solely on reported survey results and does not account for anonymous usage through the www.indianamap.org web site, Google Maps, public libraries, or other public access points not accounted for in this study. It also does not comprehensively account for the use of imagery by groups who have local data copies and typically do not download it, such as county GIS staff, state agencies, and the Indiana National Guard.

Next, we used known cost figures to calculate how many times the maps need to be used for the investment to break even. There are 68,592 total tiles in the statewide project. The production and initial distribution costs to the counties and the state was $7,432,625. Thus, the average production cost was $108 per tile. Using the estimated value per tile previously calculated ($28), we calculate the usage ROI:

Usage ROI = 131 / ($108 / $28) i.e., a 34:1 ROI


CONCLUSION

Two separate methods were employed to evaluate the return on investment. The results of both methods are consistent and show a strong return on investment in under three years. The retrospective analysis is possible given a discrete set of data with known costs and input from a known user base.

[1] Bhagwat, S.B., and Ipe, V.C. 2000. The economic benefits of detailed geologic mapping to Kentucky. Illinois State Geological Survey Special Report 3, 39 p.
[2] Van Bennekom, F. (2003) www.greatbrook.com
[3] Barr, R., and I. Masser. 1997. The economic nature of geographic information. In Z. Kemp (editor) Advances in GIS 4. London: Taylor and Francis.

Acknowledgments

The Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to lead the effective application of geographic information in Indiana.  The IndianaMap not only advances this mission, it also contributes to the present and future work of numerous state agencies, local governments, private businesses, and academic institutions involved in economic development efforts, environmental management, transportation planning, public safety, land use planning, and much more.

IGIC owes a debt of gratitude to the State of Indiana and all our many collaborating organizations and individuals for the outstanding cooperation and support that has gotten the IndianaMap to where it is today.

The Economic Benefits of the IndianaMap Return on Investment Study was conducted by Saligoe-Simmel, LLC, and the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC) originally published by IGIC in 2008. The study was supported by a grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee Cooperative Agreements Program Grant Agreement Number: 07HQAG0042. Download the PDF [/av_textblock]

Geospatial Data Act of 2018 – full text

The US Geospatial Data Act (GDA) of 2018, as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act (H.R. 302), was signed into law on 5 Oct 2018. Below is the full text of the GDA of 2018, excerpted from H.R. 302:

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Subtitle F—Geospatial Data
SEC. 751. SHORT TITLE; FINDINGS.

(a) Short Title.—This subtitle may be cited as the “Geospatial Data Act of 2018”.

(b) Findings.—Congress finds that—

(1) open and publicly available data is essential to the successful operation of the GeoPlatform;

(2) the private sector in the United States, for the purposes of acquiring and producing quality geospatial data and geospatial data services, has been and continues to be invaluable in carrying out the varying missions of Federal departments and agencies, as well as contributing positively to the United States economy; and

(3) over the last 2 decades, Congress has passed legislation that promotes greater access and use of Government information and data, which has—

(A) sparked new, innovative start-ups and services;

(B) spurred economic growth in many sectors, such as in the geospatial services;

(C) advanced scientific research;

(D) promoted public access to Federally funded services and data; and

(E) improved access to geospatial data for the purposes of promoting public health, weather forecasting, economic development, environmental protection, flood zone research, and other purposes.

SEC. 752. DEFINITIONS.

In this subtitle—

(1) the term “Advisory Committee” means the National Geospatial Advisory Committee established under section 754(a);

(2) the term “Committee” means the Federal Geographic Data Committee established under section 753(a);

(3) the term “covered agency”—

(A) means—

(i) an Executive department, as defined in section 101 of title 5, United States Code, that collects, produces, acquires, maintains, distributes, uses, or preserves geospatial data on paper or in electronic form to fulfill the mission of the Executive department, either directly or through a relationship with another organization, including a State, local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education, business partner or contractor of the Federal Government, and the public;

(ii) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; or

(iii) the General Services Administration; and

(B) does not include the Department of Defense (including 30 components and agencies performing national missions) or any element of the intelligence community;

(4) the term “GeoPlatform” means the GeoPlatform described in section 758(a);

(5) the term “geospatial data”—

(A) means information that is tied to a location on the Earth, including by identifying the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features and boundaries on the Earth, and that is generally represented in vector datasets by points, lines, polygons, or other complex geographic features or phenomena;

(B) may be derived from, among other things, remote sensing, mapping, and surveying technologies;

(C) includes images and raster datasets, aerial photographs, and other forms of geospatial data or datasets in digitized or non-digitized form; and

(D) does not include—

(i) geospatial data and activities of an Indian tribe not carried out, in whole or in part, using Federal funds, as determined by the tribal government;

(ii) classified national security-related geospatial data and activities of the Department of Defense, unless declassified;

(iii) classified national security-related geospatial data and activities of the Department of Energy, unless declassified;

(iv) geospatial data and activities under chapter 22 of title 10, United States Code, or section 110 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3045);

(v) intelligence geospatial data and activities, as determined by the Director of National Intelligence; or

(vi) certain declassified national security-related geospatial data and activities of the intelligence community, as determined by the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy, or the Director of National Intelligence;

(6) the term “Indian tribe” has the meaning given that term under section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b);

(7) the term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given that term under section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002);

(8) the term “intelligence community” has the meaning given that term in section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3003);

(9) the term “lead covered agency” means a lead covered agency for a National Geospatial Data Asset data theme designated under section 756(b)(1);

(10) the term “local government” means any city, county, township, town, borough, parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a State;

(11) the term “metadata for geospatial data” means information about geospatial data, including the content, source, vintage, accuracy, condition, projection, method of collection, and other characteristics or descriptions of the geospatial data;

(12) the term “National Geospatial Data Asset data theme” means the National Geospatial Data Asset core geospatial datasets (including electronic records and coordinates) relating to a topic or subject designated under section 756;

(13) the term “National Spatial Data Infrastructure” means the technology, policies, criteria, standards, and employees necessary to promote geospatial data sharing throughout the Federal Government, State, tribal, and local governments, and the private sector (including nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education); and

(14) the term “proven practices” means methods and activities that advance the use of geospatial data for the benefit of society.

SEC. 753. FEDERAL GEOGRAPHIC DATA COMMITTEE.

(a) In General.—There is established within the Department of the Interior an interagency committee to be known as the Federal Geographic Data Committee, which shall act as the lead entity in the executive branch for the development, implementation, and review of policies, practices, and standards relating to geospatial data.

(b) Membership.—

(1) CHAIRPERSON AND VICE CHAIRPERSON.—The Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall serve as Chairperson of the Committee and Vice Chairperson of the Committee, respectively.

(2) OTHER MEMBERS.

(A) IN GENERAL.—The head of each covered agency and the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency shall each designate a representative of their respective agency to serve as a member of the Committee.

(B) REQUIREMENT FOR APPOINTMENTS.—An officer appointed to serve as a member of the Committee shall hold a position as an assistant secretary, or an equivalent position, or a higher ranking position.

(3) GUIDANCE.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, and as needed thereafter, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall update guidance with respect to membership of the Committee and the roles of members of the Committee.

(c) Duties.—The Committee shall—

(1) lead the development and management of and operational decision making for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure strategic plan and geospatial data policy in accordance with section 755;

(2) designate National Geospatial Data Asset data themes and oversee the coordinated management of the National Geospatial Data Asset data themes in accordance with section 756;

(3) establish and maintain geospatial data standards in accordance with section 757;

(4) periodically review and determine the extent to which covered agencies comply with geospatial data standards;

(5) ensure that the GeoPlatform operates in accordance with section 758;

(6) direct and facilitate national implementation of the system of National Geospatial Data Asset data themes;

(7) communicate with and foster communication among covered agencies and other entities and individuals relating to geospatial data technology development, transfer, and exchange in order to—

(A) identify and meet the needs of users of geospatial data;

(B) promote cost-effective data collection, documentation, maintenance, distribution, and preservation strategies; and

(C) leverage Federal and non-Federal resources, such as promoting Federal shared services and cross-agency coordination for marketplace solutions;

(8) define roles and responsibilities and promote and guide cooperation and coordination among agencies of the Federal Government, State, tribal, and local governments, institutions of higher education, and the private sector in the collection, production, sharing, and use of geospatial information, the implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, and the identification of proven practices;

(9) coordinate with international organizations having an interest in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure or global spatial data infrastructures;

(10) make available online and update at least annually—

(A) a summary of the status for each National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, based on the report submitted by the applicable lead covered agency under section 756(b)(3)(E)(ii)(I), which shall include—

(i) an evaluation of the progress of each lead covered agency in achieving the requirements under subparagraphs (A), (B), (C), and (D) of section 756(b)(3); and

(ii) a determination of whether, for each of subparagraphs (A), (B), (C), and (D) of section 756(b)(3), each lead covered agency meets expectations, has made progress toward expectations, or fails to meet expectations;

(B) a summary and evaluation of the achievements of each covered agency, based on the annual report submitted by the covered agency under section 759(b)(1), which shall include a determination of whether the covered agency meets expectations, has made progress toward expectations, or fails to meet expectations for each of paragraphs (1) through (13) of section 759(a);

(C) a collection of periodic technical publications, management articles, and reports related to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure; and

(D) a membership directory for the Committee, including identifying members of any subcommittee or working group of the Committee;

(11) (A) make available to and request comments from the Advisory Committee regarding the summaries and evaluations required under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (10);

(B) if requested by the Advisory Committee, respond to any comments by the Advisory Committee; and

(C) not less than once every 2 years, submit to Congress a report that includes the summaries and evaluations required under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (10), the comments of the Advisory Committee, and the responses of the Committee to the comments;

(12) (A) make available to and request comments from covered agencies regarding the summaries and evaluations required under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (10); and

(B) not less than once every 2 years, submit to Congress a report that includes the comments of the covered agencies and the responses of the Committee to the comments; and

(13) support and promote the infrastructure of networks, systems, services, and standards that provide a digital representation of the Earth to users for many applications.

(d) Staff Support.—The Committee shall establish an Office of the Secretariat within the Department of the Interior to provide administrative support, strategic planning, funding, and technical support to the Committee.

SEC. 754. NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

(a) Establishment.—The Secretary of the Interior shall establish within the Department of the Interior the National Geospatial Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations to the Chairperson of the Committee.

(b) Membership.—

(1) COMPOSITION.—The Advisory Committee shall be composed of not more than 30 members, at least one of which will be from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, who shall—

(A) be appointed by the Chairperson of the Committee;

(B) be selected—

(i) to generally achieve a balanced representation of the viewpoints of various interested parties involved in national geospatial activities and the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure; and

(ii) with consideration of a geographic balance of residence of the members; and

(C) be selected from among groups involved in the geospatial community, including—

(i) States;

(ii) local governments;

(iii) regional governments;

(iv) tribal governments;

(v) private sector entities;

(vi) geospatial information user industries;

(vii) professional associations;

(viii) scholarly associations;

(ix) nonprofit organizations;

(x) academia;

(xi) licensed geospatial data acquisition professionals; and

(xii) the Federal Government.

(2) CHAIRPERSON.—The Chairperson of the Committee shall appoint the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee.

(3) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT; VACANCIES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Members shall be appointed for a term of 3 years, with the term of 1⁄3 of the members expiring each year.

(B) VACANCIES.—Any vacancy in the Advisory Committee shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(4) LIMIT ON TERMS.—Except for the member from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, an individual—

(A) may not be appointed to more than 2 consecutive terms as a member of the Advisory Committee; and

(B) after serving for 2 consecutive terms, is eligible to be appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee on and after the date that is 2 years after the end of the second consecutive term of the individual as a member of the Advisory Committee.

(5) ETHICAL REQUIREMENTS.—A member of the Advisory Committee may not participate in any specific-party matter (including a lease, license, permit, contract, claim, agreement, or related litigation) with the Department of the Interior in which the member has a direct financial interest.

(6) INCUMBENTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—An individual serving on the day before the date of enactment of this Act as a member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee established by the Secretary of the Interior may serve as a member of the Advisory Committee until the end of the term of the individual under the appointment.

(B) LIMIT ON TERMS.—Any period of service as a member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee established by the Secretary of the Interior shall be considered a period of service as a member of the Advisory Committee for purposes of paragraph (4).

(c) Subcommittees.—A subcommittee of the Advisory Committee—

(1) may be formed for the purposes of compiling information or conducting research;

(2) shall be composed of members appointed by the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee;

(3) shall act under the direction of the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee and the officer or employee designated under section 10(e) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) with respect to the Advisory Committee;

(4) shall report the recommendations of the subcommittee to the Advisory Committee for consideration; and

(5) shall meet as necessary to accomplish the objectives of the subcommittee, subject to the approval of the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee and the availability of resources.

(d) Meetings.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Advisory Committee shall meet at the call of the Chairperson, not less than 1 time each year and not more than 4 times each year.

(2) QUORUM.—A majority of the members of the Advisory Committee shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold meetings or hearings.

(e) Duties Of The Advisory Committee.—The Advisory Committee shall—

(1) provide advice and recommendations relating to—

(A) the management of Federal and national geospatial programs;

(B) the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure; and

(C) implementation of this subtitle;

(2) review and comment on geospatial policy and management issues; and

(3) ensure the views of representatives of non-Federal interested parties involved in national geospatial activities are conveyed to the Committee.

(f) Powers Of The Advisory Committee.—

(1) MEETINGS.—The Advisory Committee may hold meetings (which shall be open to the public) and sit and act at such times and places as the Advisory Committee considers advisable to carry out this subtitle.

(2) INFORMATION FROM COVERED AGENCIES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Advisory Committee, with the concurrence of the Chairperson of the Committee, may secure directly from any covered agency such information as the Advisory Committee considers necessary to carry out this subtitle. Upon request of the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, the head of such agency shall furnish such information to the Advisory Committee.

(B) NONCOOPERATION.—The Advisory Committee shall include in the comments of the Advisory Committee submitted under section 753(c)(11) a discussion of any failure by a covered agency to furnish information in response to a request under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(3) POSTAL SERVICES.—The Advisory Committee may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other agencies of the Federal Government.

(g) Advisory Committee Personnel Matters.—

(1) NO COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS.—

(A) NON-FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.—A member of the Advisory Committee who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall serve without compensation.

(B) FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.—A member of the Advisory Committee who is an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall serve without compensation in addition to the compensation received for the services of the member as an officer or employee of the Federal Government.

(2) TRAVEL EXPENSES.—The members of the Advisory Committee shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Advisory Committee.

(3) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.—Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Committee to support the Advisory Committee without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.

(4) STAFF SUPPORT.—The Office of the Secretariat established by the Committee under section 753(d) shall provide administrative support to the Advisory Committee.

(h) Applicability Of FACA.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall apply to the Advisory Committee.

(2) NO TERMINATION.—Section 14(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Advisory Committee.

(i) Termination.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Advisory Committee shall terminate 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

(2) CONTINUATION.—The Advisory Committee may be continued for successive 10-year periods by action taken by the Secretary of the Interior to renew the Advisory Committee before the date on which the Advisory Committee would otherwise terminate.

SEC. 755. NATIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE.

(a) In General.—The National Spatial Data Infrastructure shall ensure that geospatial data from multiple sources (including the covered agencies, State, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and institutions of higher education) is available and easily integrated to enhance the understanding of the physical and cultural world.

(b) Goals.—The goals of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure are to—

(1) ensure—

(A) that geospatial data are reviewed prior to disclosure to ensure—

(i) compliance with section 552a of title 5 (commonly known as the “Privacy Act of 1974”); and

(ii) that personally identifiable information is not disclosed, which shall include an assessment of re-identification risk when determining what data constitute personally identifiable information;

(B) that geospatial data are designed to enhance the accuracy of statistical information, both in raw form and in derived information products;

(C) free and open access for the public to geospatial data, information, and interpretive products, in accordance with Office of Management and Budget Circular A–130, or any successor thereto;

(D) the protection of proprietary interests related to licensed information and data; and

(E) the interoperability and sharing capabilities of Federal information systems and data to enable the drawing of resources from covered agencies and partners of covered agencies; and

(2) support and advance the establishment of a Global Spatial Data Infrastructure, consistent with national security, national defense, national intelligence, and international trade requirements, including ensuring that covered agencies develop international geospatial data in accordance with international voluntary consensus standards, as defined in Office of Management and Budget Circular A–119, or any successor thereto.

(c) Strategic Plan.—The Committee shall prepare and maintain a strategic plan for the development and implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure in a manner consistent with national security, national defense, and emergency preparedness program policies regarding data accessibility.

(d) Advisory Role.—The Committee shall advise Federal and non-Federal users of geospatial data on their responsibilities relating to implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.

SEC. 756. NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL DATA ASSET DATA THEMES.

(a) In General.—The Committee shall designate as National Geospatial Data Asset data themes the primary topics and subjects for which the coordinated development, maintenance, and dissemination of geospatial data will benefit the Federal Government and the interests of the people of the United States, which shall—

(1) be representations of conceptual topics describing digital spatial information for the Nation; and

(2) contain associated datasets (with attribute records and coordinates)—

(A) that are documented, verifiable, and officially designated to meet recognized standards;

(B) that may be used in common; and

(C) from which other datasets may be derived.

(b) Lead Covered Agencies.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, the Committee shall designate one or more covered agencies as the lead covered agencies for the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme.

(2) GENERAL RESPONSIBILITY.—The lead covered agencies for a National Geospatial Data Asset data theme shall be responsible for ensuring the coordinated management of the data, supporting resources (including technology and personnel), and related services and products of the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme.

(3) SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES.—To assist in fulfilling the responsibilities under paragraph (2) with respect to a National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, the lead covered agencies shall—

(A) provide leadership and facilitate the development and implementation of geospatial data standards for the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, with a particular emphasis on a data content standard for the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, including by—

(i) assessing existing standards;

(ii) identifying anticipated or needed data standards; and

(iii) developing a plan to originate and implement needed standards with relevant community and international practices—

(I) in accordance with Office of Management and Budget Circular A–119, or any successor thereto; and

(II) consistent with or as a part of the plan described in subparagraph (B);

(B) provide leadership and facilitate the development and implementation of a plan for nationwide population of the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, which shall—

(i) include developing partnership programs with States, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, private sector entities, other Federal agencies, and local governments;

(ii) meet the needs of users of geospatial data;

(iii) address human and financial resource needs;

(iv) identify needs relating to standards, metadata for geospatial data within the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, and the GeoPlatform; and

(v) expedite the development of necessary National Geospatial Data Asset data themes;

(C) establish goals that support the strategic plan for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure prepared under section 755(c);

(D) as necessary, collect and analyze information from users of geospatial data within the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme regarding the needs of the users for geospatial data and incorporate the needs of users in strategies relating to the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme; and

(E) as part of administering the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme—

(i) designate a point of contact within the lead covered agency who shall be responsible for developing, maintaining, coordination relating to, and disseminating data using the GeoPlatform;

(ii) submit to the Committee—

(I) a performance report, at least annually, that documents the activities relating to and implementation of the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, including progress in achieving the requirements under subparagraphs (A), (B), (C), and (D); and

(II) comments, as appropriate, regarding the summary and evaluation of the performance report provided by the Committee under section 753(c)(12);

(iii) publish maps or comparable graphics online (in accordance with the mapping conventions specified by the Committee) showing the extent and status of the National Geospatial Data Asset data themes for which the covered agency is a lead covered agency;

(iv) encourage individuals and entities that are a source of geospatial data or metadata for geospatial data for the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme to provide access to such data through the GeoPlatform;

(v) coordinate with the GeoPlatform; and

(vi) identify and publish proven practices for the use and application of geospatial data of the lead covered agency.

SEC. 757. GEOSPATIAL DATA STANDARDS.

(a) In General.—In accordance with section 216 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (44 U.S.C. 3501 note), the Committee shall establish standards for each National Geospatial Data Asset data theme, which—

(1) shall include—

(A) rules, conditions, guidelines, and characteristics for the geospatial data within the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme and related processes, technology, and organization; and

(B) content standards for metadata for geospatial data within the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme;

(2) to the maximum extent practicable, shall be consistent with international standards and protocols;

(3) shall include universal data standards that shall be acceptable for the purposes of declassified intelligence community data; and

(4) the Committee shall periodically review and update as necessary for the standards to remain current, relevant, and effective.

(b) Development Of Standards.—The Committee shall—

(1) develop and promulgate standards under this section—

(A) in accordance with Office of Management and Budget Circular A–119, or any successor thereto; and

(B) after consultation with a broad range of data users and providers;

(2) to the maximum extent possible, use national and international standards adopted by voluntary standards consensus bodies; and

(3) establish new standards only to the extent standards described in paragraph (2) do not exist.

(c) Exclusion.—The Secretary of the Interior shall withhold from public disclosure any information the disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national interest, security, or defense of the United States, including information relating to geospatial intelligence data activities, as determined in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence.

SEC. 758. GEOPLATFORM.

(a) In General.—The Committee shall operate an electronic service that provides access to geospatial data and metadata for geospatial data to the general public, to be known as the GeoPlatform.

(b) Implementation.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The GeoPlatform—

(A) shall—

(i) be available through the internet and other communications means;

(ii) be accessible through a common interface;

(iii) include metadata for all geospatial data collected by covered agencies, directly or indirectly;

(iv) include download access to all open geospatial data directly or indirectly collected by covered agencies; and

(v) include a set of programming instructions and standards providing an automated means of accessing available geospatial data, which—

(I) harmonize sources and data standards associated with geospatial data, including metadata; and

(II) to the maximum extent practicable, as determined by the Chairperson of the Committee, shall be made publicly available;

(B) may include geospatial data from a source other than a covered agency, if determined appropriate by the Committee; and

(C) shall not store or serve proprietary information or data acquired under a license by the Federal Government, unless authorized by the data provider.

(2) MANAGING PARTNER.—The Chairperson of the Committee shall designate an agency to serve as the managing partner for developing and operating the GeoPlatform, taking direction from the Committee on the scope, functionality, and performance of the GeoPlatform.

(c) Clarification.—Although the GeoPlatform is intended to include all National Geospatial Data Asset and other Federal datasets, nothing in this subtitle shall be construed to prevent a covered agency from also presenting, providing, or disseminating data that is—

(1) specific to the functions of the covered agency; or

(2) targeted to information consumers that directly interface with the services, portals, or other mechanisms of the covered agency.

SEC. 759. COVERED AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES.

(a) In General.—Each covered agency shall—

(1) prepare, maintain, publish, and implement a strategy for advancing geographic information and related geospatial data and activities appropriate to the mission of the covered agency, in support of the strategic plan for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure prepared under section 755(c);

(2) collect, maintain, disseminate, and preserve geospatial data such that the resulting data, information, or products can be readily shared with other Federal agencies and non-Federal users;

(3) promote the integration of geospatial data from all sources;

(4) ensure that data information products and other records created in geospatial data and activities are included on agency record schedules that have been approved by the National Archives and Records Administration;

(5) allocate resources to fulfill the responsibilities of effective geospatial data collection, production, and stewardship with regard to related activities of the covered agency, and as necessary to support the activities of the Committee;

(6) use the geospatial data standards, including the standards for metadata for geospatial data, and other appropriate standards, including documenting geospatial data with the relevant metadata and making metadata available through the GeoPlatform;

(7) coordinate and work in partnership with other Federal agencies, agencies of State, tribal, and local governments, institutions of higher education, and the private sector to efficiently and cost-effectively collect, integrate, maintain, disseminate, and preserve geospatial data, building upon existing non-Federal geospatial data to the extent possible;

(8) use geospatial information to—

(A) make Federal geospatial information and services more useful to the public;

(B) enhance operations;

(C) support decision making; and

(D) enhance reporting to the public and to Congress;

(9) protect personal privacy and maintain confidentiality in accordance with Federal policy and law;

(10) participate in determining, when applicable, whether declassified data can contribute to and become a part of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure;

(11) search all sources, including the GeoPlatform, to determine if existing Federal, State, local, or private geospatial data meets the needs of the covered agency before expending funds for geospatial data collection;

(12) to the maximum extent practicable, ensure that a person receiving Federal funds for geospatial data collection provides high-quality data; and

(13) appoint a contact to coordinate with the lead covered agencies for collection, acquisition, maintenance, and dissemination of the National Geospatial Data Asset data themes used by the covered agency.

(b) Reporting.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each covered agency shall submit to the Committee an annual report regarding the achievements of the covered agency in preparing and implementing the strategy described in subsection (a)(1) and complying with the other requirements under subsection (a).

(2) BUDGET SUBMISSION.—Each covered agency shall—

(A) include geospatial data in preparing the budget submission of the covered agency to the President under sections 1105(a) and 1108 of title 31, United States Code;

(B) maintain an inventory of all geospatial data assets in accordance with OMB Circular A–130, or any successor thereto; and

(C) prepare an annual report to Congress identifying Federal-wide geospatial data assets, as defined in OMB Circular A–16, as set forth in OMB memo M–11–03, Issuance of OMB Circular A–16 Supplemental Guidance (November 10, 2010), or any successor thereto.

(3) DISCLOSURE.—Each covered agency shall disclose each contract, cooperative agreement, grant, or other transaction that deals with geospatial data, which may include posting information relating to the contract, cooperative agreement, grant, or other transaction on www.USAspending.gov and www.itdashboard.gov, or any successors thereto.

(4) OMB REVIEW.—In reviewing the annual budget justifications submitted by covered agencies, the Office of Management and Budget shall take into consideration the summary and evaluations required under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 753(c)(10), comments, and replies to comments as required under paragraphs (11) and (12) of section 753(c), in its annual evaluation of the budget justification of each covered agency.

(5) REPORTING.—The Office of Management and Budget shall include a discussion of the summaries and evaluation of the progress in establishing the National Spatial Data Infrastructure in each E-Government status report submitted under section 3606 of title 44, United States Code.

(c) Audits.—Not less than once every 2 years, the inspector general of a covered agency (or senior ethics official of the covered agency for a covered agency without an inspector general) shall submit to Congress an audit of the collection, production, acquisition, maintenance, distribution, use, and preservation of geospatial data by the covered agency, which shall include a review of—

(1) the compliance of the covered agency with the standards for geospatial data, including metadata for geospatial data, established under section 757;

(2) the compliance of the covered agency with the requirements under subsection (a); and

(3) the compliance of the covered agency on the limitation on the use of Federal funds under section 759A.

SEC. 759A. LIMITATION ON USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.

(a) Definition.—In this section, the term “implementation date” means the date that is 5 years after the date on which standards for each National Geospatial Data Asset data theme are established under section 757.

(b) Limitation.—Except as provided otherwise in this section, on and after the implementation date, a covered agency may not use Federal funds for the collection, production, acquisition, maintenance, or dissemination of geospatial data that does not comply with the applicable standards established under section 757, as determined by the Committee.

(c) Exception For Existing Geospatial Data.—On and after the implementation date, a covered agency may use Federal funds to maintain and disseminate geospatial data that does not comply with the applicable standards established under section 757 if the geospatial data was collected, produced, or acquired by the covered agency before the implementation date.

(d) Waiver.

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Chairperson of the Committee may grant a waiver of the limitation under subsection (b), upon a request from a covered agency submitted in accordance with paragraph (2).

(2) REQUIREMENTS.—A request for a waiver under paragraph (1) shall—

(A) be submitted not later than 30 days before the implementation date;

(B) provide a detailed explanation of the reasons for seeking a waiver;

(C) provide a detailed plan to achieve compliance with the applicable standards established under section 757; and

(D) provide the date by which the covered agency shall achieve compliance with the applicable standards established under section 757.

(e) Best Efforts To Comply During Transition.—During the period beginning on the date on which standards for a National Geospatial Data Asset data theme are established under section 757 and ending on the implementation date, each covered agency, to the maximum extent practicable, shall collect, produce, acquire, maintain, and disseminate geospatial data within the National Geospatial Data Asset data theme in accordance with the standards.

SEC. 759B. SAVINGS PROVISION.

Nothing in this subtitle shall repeal, amend, or supersede any existing law unless specifically provided in this subtitle.

SEC. 759C. PRIVATE SECTOR.

The Committee and each covered agency may, to the maximum extent practical, rely upon and use the private sector in the United States for the provision of geospatial data and services.

Passage of the Geospatial Data Act

Reposted from the NSGIC GeoJava News

State Geospatial Policy Organization Lauds “Geospatial Data Act” Language Included in FAA Reauthorization Bill

By Bronwyn Walls  |  October 3, 2018  |  Duluth, MN

Participants at the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) Annual Conference cheered at the news that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill passed the Senate this morning.

The legislation contains provisions critical to building the national spatial data infrastructure by establishing a clear vision, assigning responsibility, providing authority and ensuring oversight of federal activities by Congress. The bill includes language previously winding its way through both houses as a standalone bill called the Geospatial Data Act.

“This is a major win for the entire geospatial community. We thank and commend our nation’s lawmakers for enacting this meaningful legislation,” said Dan Ross, geospatial information chief for the state of Minnesota and NSGIC president. “NSGIC members coordinate geospatial policy, technologies, and services across our states. We have the unique perspective of seeing across states – and, together, across the nation – to evaluate the substantial and significant unmet needs stemming from a failure to harness and coordinate efforts. ”

The bill, having cleared both the House and the Senate, will now be sent to the White House to be signed into law.

“The Geospatial Data Act has been a top legislative priority for NSGIC for several years. We have worked with state governments, Congressional offices, federal agencies, and many other stakeholder groups committed to building more resilient communities by ensuring they will have access to the consistent high-quality data they need to do their jobs,” said Molly Schar, NSGIC’s executive director.

“Map-based digital information is critical to government work from transportation to natural resources to homeland security. We need an efficiency and accountability framework to build, sustain, and share geographic data assets for the entire nation,” she said.

The new law will impact the framework data layers and other resources that constitute the national spatial data infrastructure:

  • Codify the existing executive orders and other guidance documents that direct work by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
  • Provide FGDC with the authority to make other agencies follow existing common sense rules
  • Provide Congressional oversight over geospatial activities of FGDC members and other agencies
  • Require reporting that will allow Congress to track progress on the national spatial data infrastructure and ensure funding is spent wisely
  • Provide a great deal more clout to input developed by the multi-sector membership of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) and require the FGDC to address NGAC’s concerns — not just dictate what NGAC should work on
  • Require federal agencies to coordinate and work in partnership with other federal agencies, agencies of state, tribal and local governments, institutions of higher education, and the private sector to efficiently and cost-effectively collect, integrate, maintain, disseminate and preserve geospatial data

“NSGIC and our members are ready to support the implementation of the geospatial provisions of H.R. 302,” said Schar. “We’re looking forward to working with our colleagues in other geospatial organizations, as well as state and federal governments. At the end of the day, this is a law that will exponentially benefit taxpayers.”

Encouraging Trail Access: Indiana’s New Limited Liability Law

Communities across the state are working to convert abandoned railway beds to trails as part of the national “rails-to-trails” movement and establishing other bike-walk linear parks and greenways. Beyond recreation and immediate health benefits, linear trails serve as important pedestrian and bike corridors through which people access schools, jobs, food, transit, and community centers. They can provide tree canopy and refuge for wildlife. They are a source of pride for communities, contribute to increased property values and quality of life.

Unfortunately, providing neighborhood access to those trails and greenways can be a challenge, particularly in communities where pre-established private property boundaries block access to trails. Several issues may need to be addressed to establish neighborhood trail access through private property, including available space, privacy, parking, improvements, maintenance, and landowner liability. Here we focus on the concern of landowner liability.

Liability Concerns

Concern and confusion over landowner liability provide a disincentive to establishing shared-use access points on or through private property. When private property owners consider granting recreational access through their property, the question of liability remains, “If I let people walk through my property and someone gets hurt, will I be liable?” Such concern can cause private landowners to delay or deny neighborhood access. As we build more trails around the country, enabling neighborhood access is anticipated to be a growing issue.

Limited liability laws can provide statutory protection for property owners who open their land to the public. They remove a significant disincentive to providing trail access on or through private property. Lowering barriers to access is critical for communities that are establishing rail-trails, greenways, parks, and similar areas used for recreational purposes. While it doesn’t solve all the issues of access, it is an important tool in the tool chest for encouraging and enabling trail access and use.

Indiana Limited Liability Legislation for Access to Trails, Parks and Greenways

Last week Indiana House Bill 1115, authored by Representatives Carey Hamilton and Wes Culver, passed the Indiana House and Senate unanymously; on Mar 9th, 2018, it was signed into law by the governor. The Bill limits the liability of landowners for recreational access to trails, parks, and greenways. Important: the Bill does not require landowners to provide access through their property to access a trail or greenway. Rather, it limits landowner liability if someone passes on or through their property for this purpose and is injured, similar to landowner immunity for other recreational purposes such as hunting and fishing.

Indiana already has limited landowner liability for hunting, fishing, and other recreational uses. HB 1115 includes access to rail-trails, parks, and greenways.

Nora and the Monon Trail

The Indianapolis northside suburb of Nora provides a case study for the impact of disconnected neighborhoods on trail access. Nora is the proud birthplace of the world-class Monon Trail & Greenway. Paved in 1999, a 3-mile section of the trail runs north to 96th Street and south to the White River (the trail extends for several miles in both directions beyond Nora). It traverses the edges of suburban neighborhoods, the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, nearby schools, and busy Nora Center.

Private property abuts the trail (green); properties in adjacent neighborhoods (orange) lack access unless provided through private property.

As is typical with suburban communities, many of Nora’s neighborhoods are disconnected from each other, and from a traditional urban street grid and pedestrian network. When neighborhoods exist before trail development, pre-established private property boundaries make access to trails/bikeways/greenways/other recreation challenging to retrofit.

Nearly all of Nora’s single-family residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Monon Trail lack formally established public access (approximately 560 households). In these neighborhoods, trail access occurs on or through private property, or not at all. Families might live within spitting distance, but have to drive to trailheads to get access.

Nora neighbor, Susan Wever, shares these concerns, “The edge of my property has become the entrance point for my entire subdivision and for residents of other nearby neighborhoods and apartment complexes. Dozens of people walk through my property every day to access the Monon Trail. If unable to access the Trail from my property my neighbors would have to walk (or drive!) a mile or so, along a fast and busy road that lacks a sidewalk, to get to an official trailhead.” Passage of HB1115 gives Susan peace of mind that she can continue to allow access without exposing herself and her family to unnecessary risk.

The Monon Trail is Nora’s primary pedestrian corridor. Landowner liability is a concern the Nora Alliance is working to alleviate because enabling trail access is a key component to connecting people to nature, recreation, schools, transit, food, jobs, and public services in Nora Center.

Similar State Legislation

Similar state legislation to promote recreational use of land and water are highlighted below.

Pennsylvania Recreational Use of Land and Water Act

Pennsylvania’s Recreational Use of Land and Water Act provides statutory protection for property owners who open their land to the public. The Act limits the liability, resulting from personal injury or property damage, of landowners who make their land available to the public for recreation free of charge. The purpose of the law is to encourage landowners to allow hikers, fishermen, and other recreational users onto their properties by limiting the traditional duty of care that landowners owe to entrants upon their land. So long as no entrance or use fee is charged, the Act provides that landowners do not have to keep their land safe for recreational users and have no duty to warn of dangerous conditions. This immunity from liability does not protect landowners who willfully or maliciously fail to warn of dangerous conditions. Here is a summary of the law and thoughts on how it could be strengthened:
http://conservationtools.org/guides/81-Recreational-Use-of-Land-and-Water-Act

Washington State Beach Access

Although it does not specifically address private property limited liability, cities, and counties in Washington State are required to develop Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs) that regulate development within areas near marine and freshwater shorelines. These SMPs must contain “a public access element making provisions for public access to publicly owned areas.” The WCZMP addresses public access through the local government public access plans required for SMPs, by developing and providing easily accessible information on existing public access to shoreline planners and the public. The Coastal Program also works with state agencies, local governments, and nonprofits to increase public access through land acquisition.
http://www.beachapedia.org/State_of_the_Beach/State_Reports/WA/Beach_Access

Maine Landowner Liability for Recreational Activity

Maine has a strong landowner liability law which protects landowners from suits by people who get hurt on their land while they are engaged in some recreational activity. The landowner is protected whether or not permission is given to using the land (Maine Revised Statutes Section 59a). This protection removes a strong motive for landowners to forbid people to use their land.
http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/accessing-private-land/landowner-liability.html

California Rights and Obligations of Owners

An owner of any estate or any other interest in real property, whether possessory or nonpossessory, owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for any recreational purpose or to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on those premises to persons entering for a recreational purpose, except as provided in this section.
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV&sectionNum=846

 

***

EDIT  3/12/18: post updated to reflect signature by governor

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Strong Public Support of Marion County Transit Plan

Map shows strong support for transit among central and north Indianapolis voters.

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2016
Public Support for Transit Overwhelming;
Council Urged to Vote for Full Funding of Marion County Transit Plan

INDIANAPOLIS — Today, certified Election Board results show that voters overwhelmingly voted to fund The Marion County Transit Plan with nearly 60 percent support countywide. A majority of voters supported it in 79 percent of precincts as well. Constituents approved the plan in 19 of the 25 City-County Council districts and AARP of Indiana, the Indy Chamber and the MIBOR REALTOR® Association call on the Indianapolis City-County Council to promptly pass full funding for the Marion County Transit Plan.

“The Marion County Transit Plan will create greater connectivity to jobs and educational opportunities for residents across Indianapolis,” said Mark Fisher, chief policy officer for the Indy Chamber. “Voters have acted in support. It is time now for the City-County Council to respond accordingly and vote for the 0.25% increase to fully fund the plan so our city can benefit from improved transit access as soon as possible.”

“The Marion County Transit Plan not only increases home and property values, but assures an improved quality of life for our residents and our neighborhoods,” said Chris Pryor, vice president of government and community relations with MIBOR REALTOR® Association. “We want our communities to thrive and grow. The City-County Council has overwhelming approval of its constituents and must enact the increase at the full amount and help keep Indianapolis and our region moving forward.”

The Marion County Transit Plan will provide
• 70% increase in the frequency of bus service, offering every route on every day;
• later evenings and weekend service; and
• 3 bus rapid transit lines.

“Reliable bus service means that our friends and neighbors can get to their jobs, that our parents and grandparents can get to appointments and the grocery store, and that members of the community can access shopping and businesses, said Sarah Waddle, state director for AARP Indiana. “A better connected Indianapolis is essential to building a livable community for people of all ages. We ask that the City-County Council moves forward to enact the full plan and help make that a reality.”

Transit supporters are urged to contact their councillor by phone, email, and social media to express support for fully funding the Marion County Transit Plan and keep Indianapolis moving forward.
The final vote count by City-County Council district appears below.

Council District Yes Count Yes Percentage No Count No Percentage
1 9964 65.60% 5232 34.40%
2 12581 63.60% 7185 36.40%
3 11196 63.50% 6441 36.50%
4 9412 61.60% 5870 38.40%
5 9534 57.60% 7011 42.40%
6 7678 57.80% 5608 42.20%
7 10444 68.50% 4794 31.50%
8 9451 67.80% 4496 32.20%
9 10959 70.10% 4671 29.90%
10 6035 65.00% 3244 35.00%
11 9221 72.40% 3511 27.60%
12 7361 63.60% 4206 36.40%
13 6941 64.60% 3801 35.40%
14 6145 66.10% 3156 33.90%
15 5979 57.30% 4459 42.70%
16 4451 58.60% 3139 41.40%
17 8113 71.30% 3266 28.70%
18 5799 46.20% 6765 53.80%
19 6840 56.70% 5217 43.30%
20 5339 40.40% 7867 59.60%
21 5154 53.80% 4429 46.20%
22 4379 48.40% 4671 51.60%
23 6189 48.80% 6505 51.20%
24 5774 46.90% 6543 53.10%
25 7050 43.00% 9339 57.00%
TOTAL 191989 59.40% 131426 40.60%

Install QGIS on a Mac in 8-Steps

**UPDATED FOR QGIS 2.16 – 07 Oct 2016**

QGIS is an impressively powerful open source geographic information system (GIS). In 2010, I reviewed QGIS when it had an “All-In-One” installation bundle for the Mac. That one-step installation has gone by the wayside, and while QGIS is an excellent GIS solution for Mac users, installation is much more of a chore. As a software developer myself, I can only imagine the installation process discourages use by the average consumer (and by average, I mean moderately sophisticated GIS users).

If you’re in that camp, this guide is for you… it provides (without warranty) a step-by-step guide to successfully install the supporting frameworks and the QGIS software. These instructions are for QGIS 2.16 built for Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and (hopefully) MacOS Sierra.

Installing QGIS on a Mac

Step One: Honesty

Installing most software on a Mac is easy, but installing QGIS on a Mac is a pain (though it is getting easier with each release!)¹. I’ve stumbled through it a couple of times now.

There are supporting frameworks that must be installed first, and in a particular order, before the QGIS installation can begin. If you try installing QGIS before installing the supporting frameworks, you’ll likely see an error message like this:

[av_image src=’http://drjill.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/PastedGraphic-14.png’ attachment=’2152′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ av_uid=’av-iu7k4d’][/av_image]

Also, always read the ReadMe files included with your downloads before installing. For example, this important ReadMe message is included with the QGIS Installer:

 If you have an old QGIS.app in your Applications folder, trash it before installing QGIS 2.16.
 Old files may not be deleted by the installer, which may cause problems for QGIS2.16

In summary, the following download is required:

  1. Download QGIS for Mac Installer. There is no need to download and install these frameworks individually if this package is installed. All required items are included on the disk image, which includes:
    • GDAL Complete.pkg (installs framework package)
    • NumPy.pkg (installs python module)
    • Matplotlib.pkg (instalsl python module)
    • Install QGIS.pkg (installs the app!)
The Real 10 8 Steps

STEP 1. To allow installation of non-Apple developer recognized software, first change your Mac Security Preferences to ‘Allow apps downloaded from: Anywhere’

[av_image src=’http://drjill.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/PastedGraphic-7.png’ attachment=’2155′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ av_uid=’av-hjz1a5′][/av_image]

STEP 2. Download the ‘QGIS for Mac’ installer

Download QGIS for Mac Installer. Double-click the ‘QGIS-2.6.1.dmg’ to view its contents:

qgis-2-16-installer

STEP 3. install GDAL Complete —  double-click the ‘GDAL Complete.pkg’ and step through its installation.

[av_image src=’http://drjill.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/PastedGraphic-8.png’ attachment=’2157′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ av_uid=’av-g20iq5′][/av_image][av_image src=’http://drjill.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/PastedGraphic-10-300×225.png’ attachment=’2158′ attachment_size=’medium’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ av_uid=’av-e56drh’][/av_image]

STEP 4. Install NumPy — double-click the ’NumPy.pkg’ and step through its installation.

[av_image src=’http://drjill.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/PastedGraphic-18.png’ attachment=’2159′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ styling=” hover=” link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ av_uid=’av-cd9hz1′][/av_image]

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STEP 5. Install Matplotlib —  double-click the ‘matplotlib.pkg’ and step through its installation.

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STEP 6. Install QGIS —  double-click the ‘Install QGIS.pkg’ and step through its installation.

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STEP 7. Proceed to your Applications folder and find the QGIS app. Double-click to launch.

Be patient, it took a little less than a minute on first launch for my copy of QGIS to fully open. Also, even if you are familiar with GIS software, don’t expect QGIS to be completely intuitive. Like any new app, you need to take the time to learn its features and user interface. Fortunately, there are some terrific learning resources available, like the QGIS Tutorials and Tips by Ujaval Gandhi and the QGIS User Guide.

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You now have a sophisticated GIS software to learn and enjoy. Depending on your needs, you might even want to add some of the QGIS Plugins.

STEP 8. Your almost done! To finish things off you should do the following:

a. Change your Mac Security Preferences back to ‘Allow apps downloaded from: Mac App Store and Identified Developers’ (or Mac App Store only).
b. Save the QGIS.dmg files, since they each contain uninstall instructions should you ever need them.

 

¹ Software isn’t always easy. I really appreciate the great work of good folks who support this open source (and free) software. The main release packages for QGIS for Mac are maintained by Kyngchaos, aka William Kyngsburye. (thank you!)

Ortelius Map Design Software for MacOS

Mapdiva was founded in 2008 by Graham P. Cox and Jill Saligoe-Simmel to empower people to design custom maps using extraordinary cartography tools on their Mac.

We were frustrated by a lack of software to make custom maps without requiring you build a database first.  We knew there had to be a better way.  So with a focus on the user, we created Ortelius (named after the 16th-century cartographer, Abraham Ortelius).  Ortelius is unique cartography software that meets the mapping needs of graphic designers, savvy public, historians, project managers, researchers, and people like you.

Ortelius is a unique professional creativity app that’s a hybrid between a vector drawing program and a geographic information system (though Ortelius is decidedly not GIS).

Ortelius adds tailored functionality for map design, such as connectable track tools, powerful style engine, library of expert styles & map symbols, and robust templates. If you’ve ever tried making a map in a standard drawing program, you know how tedious it can be. Or, perhaps you’ve lamented how difficult it is to make quality map graphics in a GIS.

Ortelius automates many of the tedious tasks in manual cartography with a clear eye towards high-quality graphics, so you can focus your creative energy on content and design.

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Mapdiva also makes Artboard® the vector drawing software to create crisp vector graphics, logos, icons and illustrations. Artboard features “smart” objects, direct select tool, a powerful style generator and stacked styles that go way beyond simple fill and stroke, providing a wide range of spectacular effects. It delivers with over 1900 styles and clipart include a wide assortment of maps, shapes, color swatches, pictographics, floor plan, and flowchart graphics. Exclusively for macOS.

Indy’s Most Needed Pedestrian Walkways

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Walkable cities contribute to people’s overall health, safety, and quality of life. This study prioritizes missing pedestrian walkways to help identify where investment should be focused in Indianapolis.

Although it has some very walkable areas of town, overall Indy ranks low in nationwide surveys of walkability (Walkscore.com). Recent efforts are underway in Indianapolis to enhance walkability, as demonstrated by its recently adopted Complete Streets Ordinance and the Health By Design et.al. Indy WalkWays initiative. A large land area and limited budget require the City find tools and strategies to efficiently and effectively develop and maintain its infrastructure. This includes finding ways to prioritize the types of pedestrian infrastructure needed to enhance walkability, and the location of that infrastructure.

The map shows the results from a study of Indy’s missing pedestrian infrastructure (i.e., sidewalks and multi-use paths). It reveals the gaps in pedestrian walkways and prioritizes them based on proximity to destinations, population density, and demographic factors that may contribute to an area’s particular transit needs.

Three basic assumptions are followed:

  1. You don’t have walkability without destinations.
  2. Walkways should go where people are (i.e., population density).
  3. Certain social factors, such as age, income and education, may limit people’s transportation options thus making walkways a higher need (and that need should be a factor in prioritizing pedestrian infrastructure).

High ranking walkway segments (red and orange) would be considered among Indy’s most needed walkways.

About the Map

“Missing Walkways” are shown as lines on the map where there are gaps in the existing pedestrian network. These are mapped along primary and secondary arterial roads, and collector streets hosting major bus routes, using 2014 data of Indianapolis’ existing pedestrian network* as a reference. The missing walkway segments are ranked and color-coded low (yellow) to high (red) based on their proximity to destinations combined with proximity to areas of highest population density and concentration of people who may have limited transportation options (Net Social Index). For example, segments shown in red (high priority) touch areas containing both high net population density and high scores for social indicators representing potential pedestrian infrastructure need, such as income, minority status, education, linguistic isolation, and age (2010 Census; 2013 ACS).

Missing walkway segments received scores for their proximity to 5- or 10-minute walk radius around destinations. Destinations include public libraries, college campuses, primary schools, secondary schools, vocational schools, museums, supermarkets, recreation facilities, greenways, parks, future Red Line bus rapid transit (BRT) stops, and city bus stops.

The scores for each segment are tallied and the results are used to rank the missing walkway segments from low to high in terms of their priority for future development. High ranking walkway segments (red and orange) would be considered among Indy’s most needed walkways.

Limitations

The map of “Missing Walkways” does not distinguish places where sidewalks may exist along only one side of a road, or where existing sidewalks may switch back and forth between different side of the road, nor the quality of existing sidewalks. It also does not evaluate the existence of crosswalks (another essential component to the pedestrian infrastructure). The data are not field verified. Sidewalks within neighborhood subdivisions and along minor collector streets are not considered by this study.

For Further Study

This study shows one way that pedestrian infrastructure gaps can be prioritized for future investment, which is just one aspect of pedestrian infrastructure planning and management. Further areas of interest include: Where are crosswalks and what is their importance in the pedestrian network? What is the role of speed limit control in designing the pedestrian network? What additional prioritization should be considered for Safe Routes to Schools initiatives? How do accident reports factor into identifying priorities? Should we rate short segments of missing walkways higher where pedestrian infrastructure otherwise exists (e.g., prioritizing small gaps)? Where are we investing today versus where priorities have been identified? How do we balance the maintenance of existing infrastructure with the development of new pedestrian infrastructure?

Data Sources

City of Indianapolis GIS; IndianaMap; Indiana Department of Education; Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) Property Tax Management System; The Polis Center; US Census American Community Survey 2013 5-year Estimates; 2010 Census; 2015 Federal Poverty Level; US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EJ SCREEN.

* Special thanks to Kevin Kastner for providing the pedestrian network GIS data used in this study and for posting on Urban Indy. See Prioritizing Missing Pedestrian Infrastructure, Saligoe-Simmel (PDF) for detailed methodology and documentation of data used in the study.
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Written History Needs Maps

Guest post by Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

– From the pen of Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911)

The telling of history needs illustrative maps. In a rather simple view, history is the movement of people across geography in the past. Henry Walker and Don Bufkin captured this idea in their wonderful reference book Historical Atlas of Arizona. According to these authors, “History is the story of man—his actions, his comings and goings, and his settlements. As most of mankind’s actions and travels and the places” where men and women settled are “controlled by natural settings—terrain, climate, geography, and even geology—an understanding of the land is essential to an understanding of history.”(1)

Unfortunately, in so many books today about historic events, and even many of the classic books of yesterday, the text usually screams for a map to illustrate where events happened and what the people of the times thought they knew about the lay of the land. In many written histories, the maps used seem to have been an afterthought with authors or publishers plugging-in whatever they could find. Many times, the maps used do not provide the details that are necessary to support the text where the maps are called out. Often the maps used are disconnected from the period of history being discussed. Or, large maps are crammed into a small book format rendering them illegible.

When I began writing The Walker Party, The Revised Story my goal was to put equal effort into the many maps that I felt the work needed. It took some time for me to get map-making right—almost six months—but I eventually taught myself some basic cartography and developed techniques that suited my limited skills.

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So, I have created each map in this book to fit legibly on a book-size page. Where possible, I have based the background geography and the positions of rivers, towns, and other geographic locations upon a period map. Each of my maps includes notation about its source. In addition, some of the maps in this book include reproductions of the original hachures—the classic symbols for representing geologic relief in cartography—from the source map.

Readers who are familiar with the areas depicted on the maps in this book will undoubtedly find misrepresentations compared to today’s maps. These should not be considered errors as such, but rather indicative of the incomplete knowledge of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona at the time. This will help the reader understand why the people in this story were often off by many miles when describing where they were or where they were going, or in many cases simply had no clue as to their whereabouts.

Finally, I have written extended captions that enable each map to stand alone with its intended information. I believe that you will find the maps that accompany this revised, more expansive story about the Walker party very informative, and I trust that the text will be equally rewarding.

by Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Notes for Written History Needs Maps:
(1) Henry P. Walker, Don Bufkin, Historical Atlas of Arizona, Second Edition (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1986), iii.

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Excerpt from The Walker Party, The Revised Story: Across New Mexico and Arizona Territories and up the Hassayampa River, 1861-1863, by Pieter S. Burggraaf, available from Amazon.com. Used with permission. Read more about the book and view more of the maps in the Ortelius Showcase.

[Footnote to my readers: This article originally posted on the Mapdiva.com website, I thought it surely worth reposting. Forgive the shameless reference to my own commercial ventures.]

Florence Italy street art Blub

Hacking Public Spaces: Florence Street Art

Edgy or elegant, I always enjoy seeing examples of street art as a form of placemaking. In many areas of the world (e.g., Paris, Berlin, New York) street art contributes greatly to urban identiity. On a recent trip to Italy, my daughter and I made time to enjoy the expressive Florentine street art. We especially liked the scuba-masked portraits by mystery artist “Blub” of the ‘L’arte Sa Nuotare’ or ‘Art Knows how to Swim’ project, and the hacked road signs of French artist Clet Abraham. Since we’d been looking at Clet’s work online earlier this year, it was a special treat for us to stumble upon his Florence studio (Via Dell ‘Olmo 8/R CAP 50125 Firenze, if you’re in visiting the city it’s on your way up to Piazzale Michelangelo).