Wisconsin Geospatial News

Former student’s maps highlighted in congressional research report

If one of your career goals is having an impact on federal policy, cartography may be the field for you!

A recent report by the Congressional Research Service entitled “Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): An Overview for Congress” by Peter Folger highlights an interactive mapping application created by Matt Bloch and Janet Roberts. The maps show residential foreclosure rates in the New York City area, and were originally published by the New York Times in May, 2009. As noted in the report, this type of visualization can help inform policy makers about the nature and extent of foreclosure patterns, and lead to deeper analysis to help understand and interpret these patterns.

Matt Bloch is a former graduate student in Geography at UW-Madison, and worked as a student assistant in the State Cartographer’s Office in 2005-06. While at the SCO Matt programmed the latest complete version of WiscLINC including the WiscMap viewer. He joined the New York Times graphic design department several years later.

The Congressional Research Service is an agency within the Library of Congress that provides policy and legal analysis to the US Congress. Another recent report by the Service is “Issues and Challenges for Federal Geospatial Information” which lays out some of the challenges being faced at the federal level around data coordination and sharing, management of geospatial data, and the role of the FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee), NGAC (National Geospatial Advisory Committee), and NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council).