"The economic crisis and decline in budgets have motivated us to do more with less," said Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary, Water and Science, U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) speaking at the Senior Executive Seminar of the Esri User Conference. Castle's challenge is multiplied by the fact that she also coordinates activities on the Federal Geographic Data Committee that addresses needs across multiple federal government agencies. "Today, data is used by GIS pros; our challenge is to make that data products available and usable by anyone," said Castle
Jerry Johnston, newly appointed Geographic Information Officer for the DOI, discussed the continuing build out for Geoplatform.gov that hosts and catalogs data sources from other DOI departments. By using a cloud-shared hosting infrastructure and building communities of practice Johnston is trying to flatten the interface so that more data is easily exposed to more users.
Johnston said that the platform is evolving to a policy and technology framework that will help enable access to information products that support timely policy decisions, easy and inexpensive data publishing and sharing that facilitates collaboration.
Johnston said he is working toward presenting a “consumer mapping” experience for non-experts that empowers government agencies and their partners to more effectively use geography to tell their stories to a wider variety of stakeholders.