GeoWorld December 2011

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NEWSLINK Feds Launch New Geo Platform U.S. federal officials unveiled a prototype Web plat- form at that will allow public and government users to access and share a broad range of maps and geospatial data. The new site includes map-based data as well as a set of tools for viewing, sharing and repackaging data in an approach that government officials believe will deliver geospatial information in an easy-to-use format. "The Geospatial Platform will provide a user-friendly, one-stop shop for place-based data you can trust and the tools to display that data on a map platform," said Anne Castle, assistant secretary of the Interior. Users should be able to find federally maintained geospatial data, services and applications via the platform—in addition to accessing data from other federal partners such as state, tribal, regional and local governments. The Web platform allows users to combine their own data with public-domain data to create maps. Users also can collaborate in public and private groups related to specific interests. The new plat- form, which doesn't require software installation, enables users to share maps through browsers and mobile technologies. The Geospatial Platform emerged from develop- ment efforts by member agencies of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), an interagency committee that promotes coordinated development and use of geospatial data on a national basis. "The ability to quickly visualize combinations of dif- ferent types of data will allow decision makers and citi- zens to make timely, informed judgments on important land and resource issues," added Castle, who chairs the FGDC steering committee. "The platform will also promote efficiency and reduce duplication of effort by providing the means to create unique maps that can be built once and reused many times. In (the Department of the) Interior, it truly will be the platform we build upon as we develop and share geospatial tools to enhance our specific mission: the responsible use of the nation's land, water and coastal resources." Examples of information available on the initial Geospatial Platform include environmental clean-up data from the Environmental Protection Agency, and coastal environmental sensitivity data and historic hur- ricane data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These datasets could be combined on a topographic map from Interior to assess hurricane vulnerability in coastal areas. New Earth-Observing Satellite a Bridge to Future Missions NASA sent aloft an Earth-observing satellite carrying a bevy of instruments that should help scientists better understand long-term climate patterns and aid meteor- ologists in improving short-term weather forecasts. The satellite, launched in fall 2011 aboard a An online Geospatial Platform rolled out by the federal government includes a wealth of maps and imagery, such as this image showing non-overlapping coverage from Landsat scenes over the United States. 6 GEO W ORLD / DECEMBE R 2O11 Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, is branded as NASA's National Polar- orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP). The satellite carries five key science instruments, including four sensors. The instruments include an advanced technology microwave sounder (for creating global models of temperature and moisture profiles), and an ozone mapping and profiler suite. The NPP mission should add to more than 30 long-term datasets the agency has been tracking, including measurements of the ozone layer as well as land and ice cover. "NPP is critical to our understanding of Earth's pro- cesses and changes," said Lori Garver, NASA deputy administrator. "Its impact will be global and builds on GEOSPATIAL PLATFORM/USGS

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