The GeoSpatial One-Stop - A Review of Spatial Data Sources Within the U.S.Government

By Joe Francica

Directions Magazine takes a special look at the new portal developed by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in conjunction with the U.S.Geological Survey, called The GeoSpatial One-Stop (GOS).

We'll look at the variety of data that is offered and provide links to areas of this portal of particular interest to readers, especially to cut through some of the "red tape" to dig into the best areas to download data.Other portals are available from the GOS site; we have selected some of the more salient resources.

Is it a "one-stop shop?" You be the judge.We hope you find this a valuable resource.

What is The Geospatial One-Stop?
According to OMB, the portal called is "part of the Geospatial One-Stop initiative, one of the 24 OMB electronic-government initiatives that will enhance government efficiency.The portal will accelerate the development and implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and includes state, local and tribal governments along with the private sector and academia as participants.The website went "live" on June 30, 2003.

First Stop: There are lots of great websites to obtain data in at GOS.But what better place to start than at The National Atlas of the United States.Lots of data to download.Easy to select and obtain.

What types of Geographic Data can be found at the GOS?
GOS lists three primary sources for Administrative and Political boundary file data:  
  • U.S.Census Bureau - It doesn't get any better than this; lots of data to download; both tabular and maps.The American Fact Finder has nifty interactive map for quick look-up of demographic data.
  • Digital Offshore Cadastre - Offshore and deep water maps, mostly of oil exploration areas.Lots of information but most maps are available in ESRI .e00 export format only.
  • National Ocean Service's (NOS) MapFinder - Useful reference maps but not much to download.Mostly comprised of coastal aerial photography, coastal survey maps, environmental sensitivity index atlases.Sites contains interesting map showing "Center of Population (COP)" by state.Need an online tool for interactive computation of geodetic values? Look here.
GOS lists two sources for Cadastral data:
GOS has several sites for obtaining Natural Resource Data:

What Types of Demographic Data Can be found at GOS?
  • U.S.Census Bureau - The worldwide leader in how demographic data should be shared with the general public; or as GOS puts it "The preeminent collector and provider of timely, relevant, and quality data about the people and economy of the United States."
  • National Archeological Data Base - Hosted by the University of Arkansas Center for Advanced Spatial Technology (CAST), this site is a "computerized communications network for the archeological and historic preservation community--is an internationally recognized source of information on public archeology; only viewable maps and metadata; not much to download.

What Types of Remotely Sensed & Terrain Data can be found at GOS?

GOS has these site for Terrain and Imagery:

  • Official FEMA Q3 Flood Map (WMS) - This WMS service provides access to nationwide FEMA Q3 Flood Maps. Try also the site for the FEMA Flood Map Store.
  • Digital Orthorectified Imagery 10 meter (DOI 10) - The brief description of this site says that data is available in GeoTIFF format from NIMA. The better site with which to obtain digital orthos, as well as satellite, DEMs, land cover and other data would be the USGS EROS Data Center.
  • National Hydrography Dataset - NHD - Contains information about surface water features such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, springs and wells."Surf Your Watershed" is a useful site to view; drill down far enough and you'll eventually get to an interactive map site, "Enviromapper" maintained by the EPA.Datasets are downloaded from NHD through interactive map viewer.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Geospatial Data Gateway - See under Natural Resources above
  • National Wetlands Inventory - This dataset is one of a series available in 7.5 minute by 7.5 minute blocks containing ground planimetric coordinates of wetlands point, line, and area features and wetlands attributes.

Published Wednesday, September 10th, 2003

Written by Joe Francica

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