Oh come on! ProPublica has a story out today "As Need for New Flood Maps Rises, Congress and Obama Cut Funding". This shows the absolute -- not to mention dangerous -- idiocy of our Federal legislators' feverish obsession with cutting the US budget. People, please, the US budget deficit is under control and shrinking faster than the CBO originally estimated. Meanwhile, our public infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes -- another bridge collapsed a few days ago, this time in WA -- and our emergency preparedness is in dire need of being updated. This is not the time for austerity (see Krugman, "How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled.").
The maps, drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, dictate the monthly premiums millions of American households pay for flood insurance. They are also designed to give homeowners and buyers the latest understanding of how likely their communities are to flood.
The government’s response to the rising need for accurate maps? It’s slashed funding for them.
Congress has cut funding for updating flood maps by more than half since 2010, from $221 million down to $100 million this year. And the president’s latest budget request would slash funding for mapping even further to $84 million — a drop of 62 percent over the last four years.
In a little-noticed written response to questions from a congressional hearing, FEMA estimated the cuts would delay its map program by three to five years. The program “will continue to make progress, but more homeowners will rely on flood hazard maps that are not current,” FEMA wrote.
The cuts have slowed efforts to update flood maps across the country.
In New England, for instance, FEMA is updating coastal maps but has put off updating many flood maps along the region’s rivers, said Kerry Bogdan, a senior engineer with FEMA’s floodplain mapping program in Boston.
“Unfortunately, without the money to do it, we’re limited and our hands are kind of tied,” she said.
Many of the flood maps in Vermont — including areas near Lake Champlain that have recently flooded — are decades out of date. “There are definitely communities that really need that data,” said Ned Swanberg, the flood hazard mapping coordinator with Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
Randall Munroe has outdone himself. XKCD, the "webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language," just posted another amazing, wall-sized infographic, this one depicting the historical ideological swings of left, right and center of the US Senate and House of Representatives (here are Randall's other *huge* and hugely fascinating infographics).
Be sure to read the side boxes and especially the one on methodology of how ideology was calculated. He meticulously accounts for the historical shift in the left/right spectrum between Republicans and Democrats.
That is all.
The U.S. Census Bureau is going through the final integration tests for the next TIGERweb release. TIGERweb v2.0 (beta) will consist of a new set of map services using American Community Survey (ACS) 2011 source data, an upgraded viewer application based on comments received from our users, and a relocation of our Census 2010 viewer to TIGERweb2010. We hope to release this new version the week of September 17, 2012. Expect more information about this release later this week.
If you have any questions or comments about TIGERweb, you may contact us by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NARA, Sweden, ILO, Online Maps, Voting, Statistics, NASA, TOXNET, Transporation, DOT, Smithsonian, Federal Regulations, EnergySubmitted by garyprice on Wed, 2012-02-22 07:00.
Another in our series of roundups of news and new resources via INFOdocket.com. 15 items in all.
Additional Items That Might Be of Interest
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Historical Quadrangle Scanning Project (HQSP) is in the process of releasing all editions and all scales of more than 200,000 historic topographic maps of the United States dating from 1884-2006.
The historical topographic map collection includes all States and U.S. territories mapped by the USGS. The HQSP creates a master catalogue and digital archive for all topographic maps and provides easy access to the public to download this historical data to accompany topographic maps that are no longer available for distribution as lithographic prints.
Historical maps are available to the public at no cost in GeoPDF format from the USGS Store. These maps are georeferenced and can be used in conjunction with the new USGS digital topographic map, the US Topo.
"Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s office has launched an interactive map listing the 137 data centers it has either already closed or plans to close by the end of this year.
The map lists data centers’ names and locations — down to geographic coordinates — and whether the center is among the 39 already closed as of April or is still operating but slated for closure."
Last month the White House released an interactive map showing excess federal properties. The map provides info about 7000 out of 12,000 properties.
The Tech Insider article also points out a new list with info about what operations federal agencies plan to migrate to the cloud.
Printable Congressional District Maps: Behind The Scenes, Joshua Tauberer, February 26th, 2010.
I missed this when it came out a couple of months ago, so this may be old news to some of you. Seems worth mentioning for those who missed it.
Today I’m releasing print-quality maps of congressional districts, with street-level detail and county border lines. This has been one of the most sought-after resources based on emails I’ve received over the last some four years and I don’t think you can find this anywhere else. (At least not comprehensively for the whole nation. Local state clerk’s offices may have them. NationalAtlas.gov has maps but not with very much detail.)
This was a solid 2-day project with less than 300 lines of code and it’s something that only recently became this easy to do.
One great way to get your head around a large government dataset is to view it using Google Earth. I went on a hunt for the most interesting, striking and geography based government data sets currently available in the KML format used by Google Earth. There is a large gallery of tours and layers available from Google Earth's site, including some based on government data - but I wanted to look beyond them.
Here are eleven data sources (in no particular order) that have KML files ready and waiting for you to download. For some of these you will need to read the instructions associated with the KML to understand what you are looking at and what special features are enabled. Some have multiple datasets within a single KML file -- others include animations. Often when you open them in Google Earth they will start out with either a helpful note or a built in graphical key.
- USDA Forest Service: MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program: View fire detection data and incident information
- USGS Earthquake Hazards Program: real-time earthquake data (updated every 5 minutes!), geologic features and virtual tours of historic earthquakes.
- FEMA Flood Hazards: Stay Dry provides basic flood hazard map information from FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer for specific addresses while NFHL (National Flood Hazard Layer) appears to be a more general application that displays flood hazard zones, floodways, base flood elevations, cross sections and coastal transects and much more.
- NASA: Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio: provides various visualization layers including Tectonic Plates Boundaries and African Fires during 2002. Dig through the various categories, there is a lot here.
- Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory OnEarth: multiple options are available for viewing daily updated views of earth from satellites. Very striking!
- gCensus: provides access to data from the 2000 US Census. The site lets you browse for various elements of data and generate a KML file you can then view via Google Earth.
- Air Quality Now: provides current and forcasted air quality conditions for locations across the USA. It is a product of a partnership of multiple US Government agencies.
- National Weather Service: has a full page of KML layers related to all aspects of weather - past, present and predicted.
- National Gallery of Art: Afghanistan Hidden Treasures from the National Museum: visit Aï Khanum, Tillya Tepe, and Begram—that and examine Afghan Treasures
- National Park Service: National Register of Historic Places: provides Google Earth layers per region of the USA that mark historic places.
- District of Columbia Data Catalog: provides a wide range of data about our nations capital. You must supply some simple data to identify yourself before downloading these KML files. This is just a taste of what various regional governments are providing. Give your home state, district or territory's website a look to see if you can find KML data available.
If you're like me, you want to keep track of the presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain. I thought I'd share a few sites that I've bookmarked in order to keep up to the minute. My favorite site is Electoral-vote.com. E-V collects national and state polls and shows a nice map of the current electoral vote count. As new state polls are released, the maps, spreadsheets, tables, graphs, etc. are updated. There's also a comparison for that day in the 2004 presidential race, roll-over stats for how each state voted since 1992, and tracking of Senate and House elections.
Another site of interest is FiveThirtyEight "electoral projections done right." This one has lots of graphs, "tipping point" states, a return on investment index and more. 538 (the # of electors in the electoral college of course :-) ) also tracks governors' races. It's run by Nate Silver, a writer and baseball statistician. You know how crazy baseball fans are for data, so you know that this site is sucking up as much data as they can, chewing it up and serving it up in lots of different ways.
Also check out RealClearPolitics. This one pulls together news, blogs, editorials, polls and electoral maps (although the mapping feature is only for presidential race).
Your feed reader getting too full? Thunderbird slowing down because of too many feeds? Then do what I do: tag it to your del.icio.us account with a tag like "daily." Because each tag has an RSS feed, you can simply add the feed to your Firefox toolbar as a live bookmark. Just click on the orange icon ( in your location bar (upper right). That's how I read GOVDOC-L too!