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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.

National Atlas: Another Victim of Austerity

Crossposted from the Writer’s Guide to Government Information blog.

The National Atlas from the US Geological Survey has so much of possible interest to fiction writers that it actually has FOUR entries in the Writer’s Guide to Government Information:

All this is going away on September 30, 2014 the end of the Federal fiscal year, courtesy of budget cuts. From the National Atlas web site:

Announcement – The National Atlas Will Be Removed from Service September 30, 2014

This year we are combining the National Atlas of the United States with The National Map to provide a single source for geospatial and cartographic information. This transformation is taking place to streamline access to information from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Geospatial Program. USGS budget austerity has compelled our organization to prioritize its civilian mapping role and to consolidate its core investments.

Our organization will continue its long history of providing topographic maps and other geographic information by offering a range of scales and layers of geospatial information on its National Map Viewer and through the US Topo product. As a result of the conversion to an integrated single source for geospatial and cartographic information, nationalatlas.gov will be removed from service on September 30, 2014.

We recognize that not having the same access to information about the population, economy, infrastructure, natural resources, environment, government, and history of the Nation, organized for display on national and regional maps, may place a burden on USGS customers. Please take advantage of the remaining eight months to browse and download anything you need from the National Atlas.

We value National Atlas customers and want to make this transition as easy as possible. We have posted more information on the future availability of National Atlas products and services.

Another page provides questions and answers about the future of the National Atlas.

Here are some of the questions that will likely be harder to answer from government information resources after September 30th:

  • What time zone is Dallas located in?
  • Where can I find a map of Indian reservations?
  • What did the Electoral vote map look like in 1860 for Lincoln’s first election?
  • Where are bats found in the United States?
  • Are there forests in Northern Alaska?
  • What is the average rainfall for Los Angeles, California?
  • Where did a major tornado hit in 1955?
  • What was the path of Hurricane ___________?
  • Is there more than one continental divide?
  • Outside of Appalachia, where are America’s coal fields?
  • Where are potentially active volcanoes in California?

Stay tuned for an entry on the National Map and whether it is as useful a tool for writers as the National Atlas is. If you want to complain about the deletion of theNational Atlas, I’d go straight to your Senators and Representatives. Only they can put back the money to restore the National Atlas.

Mapping Human Rights

Some stuff for us map junkies:

The World Freedom Atlas uses Flash to mashup data from the Quality of Government Institute with maps. 

GeoRSS is a new standard for encoding location information into RSS feeds.   

You can get prebuilt GeoRSS feeds or build them yourself in ShapeWiki.

Federal Geographic Data Committee

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is an interagency committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. This nationwide data publishing effort is known as the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The NSDI is a physical, organizational, and virtual network designed to enable the development and sharing of this nation’s digital geographic information resources. FGDC activities are administered through the FGDC Secretariat, hosted by the National Geospatial Programs Office (NGPO) of the U.S. Geological Survey. The NGPO oversees other geospatial programs of national importance including The National Map and the Geospatial One-Stop activity.

The FGDC hosts a FGDC Clearinghouse Registry. This registry is a database of all clearinghouse nodes participating in the clearinghouse activity. This site provides access to registry functions including: adding a new node to the clearinghouse, browsing through the existing node information, modifying of existing information in the database (password required by node administrator), and some administration functions (clearinghouse administrator only). You may search the database and see what agency is your local clearinghouse.

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.

National Atlas of the United States and the U.S. National Map

The United States government, led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has initiated a project to cooperatively develop, market, and distribute The National Atlas of the United States of America. The participation of many agencies of the federal government has been crucial to the successful development of the National Atlas. Congress recognized that no single government agency could deliver an atlas that is truly national in scope and breadth when it assigned the USGS to direct the project. That’s why so many Federal producers of reliable and authoritative geographic information have joined in developing National Atlas products.

More information can be found here: NationalAtlas.gov

The National Map is an online, interactive national map with contributors from around the country. Check it out: NationalMap.gov.

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