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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

USGS Pilot Project Makes High-Quality Landsat Data Available Through Web

USGS Pilot Project Makes High-Quality Landsat Data Available Through Web

As of June 4, 2007, the USGS will be releasing selected Landsat 7 image data of the United States through the Web (glovis.usgs.gov or earthexplorer.usgs.gov). These data are of high quality with limited cloud cover.

This Web-enabled distribution of new and recently acquired data is a pilot project for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), currently projected for launch in 2011. The project will allow the Landsat data user community to help refine the distribution system planned for the upcoming LDCM. Each scene will be registered to the terrain, or “ortho-rectified,” prior to
being placed on the Web. Copies of these data will also be available on CD or DVD at the cost of reproduction.

Landsat data have proven useful for a wide range of applications. From disaster monitoring after Hurricane Katrina and the Indonesian tsunami to global crop condition analysis, Landsat data are being used by scientists around the world. The Web-based distribution system will allow the user community easier access to Landsat 7 data.

The pilot project will be carefully examined. Customer response will be evaluated and their insight will influence the future distribution system.

Map Collections – Treasures of the Library of Congress

The Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress is the “largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world, numbering over 5.2 million maps, including 80,000 atlases, 6,000 reference works, numerous globes and three-dimensional plastic relief models, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats, including electronic.” Many have been converted to digital form.

The focus of digital Map Collections is Americana and Cartographic Treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases and, in general, are restricted to items that are not covered by copyright protection.

Map Collections is organized according to seven major categories.

One of my favorite collections at the LOC Map Collections site is the panoramic map collection. The panoramic map was a popular cartographic form used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These maps are also known as bird’s-eye views, perspective maps, and aero views.

Panoramic maps are nonphotographic representations of cities portrayed as if viewed from above at an oblique angle. Although not generally drawn to scale, they show street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective.

Real-Time Water Data for the Nation

You can access real-time water data from the USGS National Water Information System: Web Interface. Data are recorded at 15-60 minute intervals and then transmitted to USGS offices every 1 to 4 hours. During critical events such as flooding and hurricanes, recording and transmission times may be more frequent. Data from real-time sites are relayed to USGS offices via satellite, telephone, and/or radio and are available for viewing within minutes of arrival. Data are collected at approximately 1.5 million sites in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Data available include stream discharge, water levels, precipitation, and components from water-quality monitors.

Drop down menus and a hot linked map are among the features that make finding and using this data easy.

GPO dives into digital future

From an article entitled GPO dives into digital future and Begins testing automated management system by: Joab Jackson, GCN (Government Computer News) Staff Writer (http://www.gcn.com).

Quoting the article:

The Government Printing Office is ready to test the ambitious Future Digital System, a content management system designed to handle the many documents GPO publishes and posts for the rest of government.

The program’s goal is to digitize nearly every federal document published since the birth of the country. People can then search, view and download documents via a Web portal.

Historically, federal agencies would submit publications, and GPO would print for both the public and libraries. Although agencies will continue to submit publications, GPO will now work to disseminate the information electronically and in print.

Read the whole article here.

NGA GEOnet Names Server (GNS)

The NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) Geographic Names Server is the official repository of standard spellings of all foreign place names, sanctioned by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The database also contains variant spellings (cross references) which are useful for searching purposes.

All the geographic features in the database contain information about location, administrative division, and quality. The database can be used for a variety of purposes, including establishing official spellings of foreign place names, cartography, GIS, GEOINT and finding places.

The database serves as an online gazetteer and is also helpful for genealogists.