Wisconsin Geospatial News

Grants Enable WISCLINC and Web Services Progress

For the past year and a half our office has been busily working on two different Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) grants from the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) related to metadata, clearinghouses, and webmapping services. Currently, we are submitting our final report on the first grant while integrating its outcome, the recently re-cast Wisconsin Land Information Clearinghouse (WISCLINC) website, into our existing workload. The second grant is currently in full gear and should provide valuable insight into the use of Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) service standards for serving statewide framework data for exchange with federal programs.

CAP ’03: WISCLINC re-loaded
Awarded to demonstrate linking OGC Web Map Services (WMS) to metadata documents, the bulk of our FGDC CAP ‘03 grant was done last year. These embedded links help automate online views of geospatial data from clearinghouses like WISCLINC, the Geospatial One-Stop portal, and the envisioned Wisconsin Land Information System portal.

We leveraged the goals of this grant as an opportunity to do two things. First, it allowed us to update, streamline, and re-cast the WISCLINC website and underlying structure. Second, we were able to review and publish a subset of the geospatial metadata submitted by local agencies to the Wisconsin Land Information Board (WLIB) resulting from the WLIB’s strategic initiative grants for metadata a few years back.

Our work proved timely as the state agency server previously hosting the old WISCLINC site was due to be retired; and we were able to retrieve and review many metadata records resulting from WLIP funds that are not available elsewhere. Our next step is to review older metadata files and approach data custodians for metadata updates from around the state to reinvigorate an important component of statewide organizational efforts – a metadata repository. If you’d like to be proactive in contributing to this effort, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

If you visit the improved WISCLINC site, I think you will find we have drawn upon lessons learned from many other efforts in the state and nation in providing an easy interface to locate land records data. The idea of OGC-standard webmapping services for publishing and exchanging GIS data is still moving slowly in Wisconsin, but there are plenty of examples in other states and federally that make me believe we’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the next year.

CAP ’04: Streaming geodetic control to your desktop or application
Our objective for this grant project is to demonstrate the storage and delivery of geodetic control in an interoperable manner that is both consistent with the OGC’s Web Feature Service (WFS) specification, as well as a newly-emerging federal data content standard.

This work is important on two fronts. It gives us an early look at not only the content but technology-based delivery mechanisms for a new breed of federal framework data standards for data exchange. This standards effort is an important one to watch as it streamlines FGDC and ANSI standards efforts, and is very much oriented to a web services-based, enterprise architecture, digital governance setting. Perhaps a more important aspect of this project locally is that it also demonstrates how to effectively “map” your internal data model to an external standards-based data model for exchange using web services. In other words, web services provides a new digital publishing and exchange paradigm that doesn’t insist that you overhaul your data warehouse in order to be able to participate.

Once we have a successful service up and running, we will be able to demonstrate how geodetic control point information currently accessible through our own online geodetic control application, ControlFinder, can also be viewable directly from within your client GIS software (e.g. ArcGIS) or even your own agency’s webmapping application, all while originating from a single source.

Statewide collaboration
On a final note, these FGDC funds have really helped us understand and develop some mechanisms for demonstrating the value of metadata and the use of web services for GIS data cataloging and publishing in the 21st century. We now have the opportunity to assist others to this end. From one perspective, we now have a clearinghouse resource that can serve as a repository and more comprehensive window into the mapping and land records efforts in the state. In addition, the FGDC will soon announce their next round of grant funds available for the CAP program. I would encourage grant submissions from local and regional consortia that wish to demonstrate forward-looking integration of locally-produced GIS information.