This past week two geospatial practitioners were cited for their good work by the FBI. What did they do? At the request of the Bureau, they went online and found some Digital Raster Graphics, scanned quad maps, printed them and gave them to agents working in their area. Is this how agents and others in the federal government, or even citizens, should get their geographic data? What does this scenario reveal about the FBI? The state of our geospatial infrastructure? The value of the geospatial workforce? ?
James H. Butcher, G.G., GISP, GIS Manager, Town of Collierville shared his experiences (alas after we recorded the podcast):
"I just read the blog entry concerning the article in the Commercial Appeal. As you suspected the request did come from the local office in Memphis, not from D.C. The request was for a topo map of an area in Perry County, TN near the Tennessee River. Since the agents were more interested in the terrain of that area a 7.5 minute USGS quad made sense. We were more than happy to help. So we obtained the required DRG and printed the number of copies they needed. The Tennessee Spatial Data Server ( http://www.tngis.org/ ) maintains a copy of all the DRG's by County for Tennessee. I'm certain that most agents do not have the time to familiarize themselves with what resources are available to the geospatial community. I will give them kudos for having the forethought to contact members of the local GIS community for assistance. I've had some prior contacts with some of the agents in that office, so I guess that is what led them to call my office. We also go out of our way to assist and work closely with other Geospatial users in the region, a view shared by many of the GIS professionals in the Mid-South.
"For example, our regional GIS group is involved with a number of initiatives to improve contacts and data access for first responders and local law enforcement. As a group we encourage active participation in our regional users group MAGIC: Memphis Area Geographic Information Council and our State organization TNGIC: Tennessee Geographic Information Council. We also encourage participation in the GISP Program and joining national organizations such as URISA and ASPRS."
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