Beginning in the summer of 2014 the Federal Government will release excess engravings once used to reproduce U.S. Geological Survey ( USGS) topographic and geologic maps and other scientific illustrations.

The process makes these unique engravings, created from the 1880s to the 1950s, available for transfer to Federal agencies; for donation to State and local governments, certain non-profit educational and other organizations, and public agencies; and for sale to the public.

The first round offering of 100 engravings is now complete. In this first round two sets of Indiana maps were available and both were transferred / donated to Indiana.

The second round is being announced today. All information about the engravings and the process for transfer, donation, or sales of the engravings is available through:

( USGS will post supporting status information weekly here.)

If you are interested, be sure to read this flyer [HERE] and the FAQ and other documents available on the FTP site link provided above. Allthose interested in obtaining engravings need to understand how to request the engravings; plan the logistics to receive, pack, load, and transport them; and be ready to request a donation or to make a purchase offer when the engravings become available.

The engravings will be available through a process managed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). State and local governments, certain non-profit educational and other organizations, and public agencies interested in receiving a donation should establish their eligibility now with their State Agency for Surplus Property ( SASP).

The SASPs are listed at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/100851 . Only the SASP can request a donation on your behalf. For Indiana, you need to contact:

Ramona Beaman
State of Indiana
Department of Administration
Federal Surplus Property
601 W. McCarty Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225 PHONE: (317) 234-3690
EMAIL: rbeaman@idoa.in.gov
FAX: (317) 234-3699


June 24, 2014: Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released updates to the OnTheMap for Emergency Management tool. The public data tool provides an intuitive Web-based interface for viewing the potential effects of disasters on the U.S. workforce and population. Users can easily retrieve reports containing detailed workforce, population and housing characteristics for hurricanes, floods, wildfires, winter storms and federal disaster declaration areas.


For more information click HERE.

The USGS Streamer web site is a very cool and easy way to explore our major waterways. Click here to visit the new USGS Streamer web site: http://nationalmap.gov/streamer/webApp/welcome.html

Streamer Downstream 1b.jpg
With a simple map click, anyone can trace rivers and streams from a starting point all the way downstream to where a stream drains.
Streamer Downstream 2.jpg

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Streamer also produces a report that includes a map and information about the people and places encountered along the streams traced.
Streamer Downstream 4.jpg
Even more impressive, they can click on a stream and trace all others that drain to that point.
Streamer Upstream 1.jpg

Streamer Upstream 2.jpg
A new map layer displays the locations of real-time streamflow stations across the country. Streamer updates this information hourly and symbolizes these stations to illustrate current streamflow conditions compared with each station’s observed mean streamflow on the same day of the year. You can tell at a glance whether conditions are above, below, or at normal levels at each station.
Streamer Upstream 3.jpg
Another new map layer has been added that shows weather radar across all 50 States.
Streamer Upstream 4.jpg
Click here to visit the new USGS Streamer web site: http://nationalmap.gov/streamer/webApp/welcome.html
Tomlinson is generally recognized as the "father of GIS.” He is the visionary geographer who conceived and developed the first GIS for use by the Canada Land Inventory in the early 1960s. This and continuing contributions led the Canadian government to give him its highest civilian award, the Order of Canada, in 2001. Text for that award reads, “he pioneered its uses worldwide to collect, manage, and manipulate geographical data, changing the face of geography as a discipline.”

Tomlinson tells the story of how this came to be. In the early 1960s he was working as a photo interpreter for Spartan Air Services in Canada. They had a contract to identify the best location for a tree plantation in Kenya. They turned to their young geographer Tomlinson and asked him to develop a methodology. He tried various manual methods for overlaying various environmental, cultural, and economic variables, but all were too costly. He turned to computers and found the solution. Subsequently he sold this approach to the Canada Land Inventory that had the responsibility of using data to assist the government in its land use planning activities. His GIS approach reduced the task from three years and eight million Canadian dollars to several weeks and two million dollars.

He went on to serve the community in many ways. He chaired the International Geographical Union’s GIS Commission for 12 years, where he pioneered the concepts of worldwide geographical data availability. He is a past president of the Canadian Association of Geographers a recipient of its rare Canadian Award for Service to the Profession.

Other awards followed including the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor for Applied Geography (1995) and the Robert T. Aangeenbrug Distinguished Career Award (2005) from the American Association of Geographers. He was the first recipient of the Aangeenbrug award and also the first recipient of ESRI’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1997). National Geographic gave him its rare Alexander Graham Bell Award for exceptional contributions to geographic research (2010). He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the recipient of multiple honorary doctorates – in addition to his own PhD from University College London.

Since 1977 he operated Tomlinson Associates, Ltd., Consulting Geographer which has advised clients like the World Bank, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. departments of Commerce and Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Canadian Forest Service, and numerous U.S. state and Canadian provincial and municipal government agencies. The Order of Canada award documents the impact of that work. “Governments and scientists around the world have turned to him to better understand our environment and changing patterns of land use, to better manage urban development and our precious natural resources.”

His book, Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, provides guidance for both senior managers responsible for a broad range of activities in their organization and the more technical managers responsible for actual implementation of GIS. The 4th edition of this popular book was published in 2011.

Here is a link to a nice NPR p​iece about Roger Tom​linson: http://www.npr.org/2014/02/13/276522411/tech-innovator-and-master-of-maps-dies-at-80

2015 “still the goal,” says FAA administrator, for figuring out how to support UAS in national air space. Story by: Dee Ann Divis, InsideGNSS.com

UAS illustration FAA roadmap.jpg
In major step toward enabling unmanned aircraft to operate freely in the U.S. the federal government released a set of plans Thursday (November 7, 2013)on how it plans to integrate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace, including a policy to help protect the privacy of those living near drone test sites.
. To read the full story, click HERE.
Contributed by: David Nail
USGS Geospatial Liaison for Indiana

To keep pace with a rapid schedule and increasing demand, the USGS has posted new US Topo quadrangles covering Indiana(640 maps), Iowa (1,011 maps), North Carolina (833 maps), Pennsylvania (798 maps) and Virginia (596 maps). These new quads replace the first edition US Topo maps for those states. The replaced maps will be added to the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection and are also available for free download from The National Map and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website.

"The newly redesigned US Topo maps are visually appealing, especially with the addition of the shaded relief layer", explained Bob Davis, the new US Topo Project Manager. "The addition of shaded relief and other design components demonstrate our commitment to improving the product to meet our users’ needs. I encourage you to download these maps, compare them against previous US Topo maps and drop us your comments. We value your input."

Contributed By: Bruce A. Joffe, Independent GIS Consultant
[Although this story is about a court case in California - the logic behind this decision can and should be applied everywhere...]

Interpreting the California Public Records Act in light of California's Constitution, the California Supreme Court affirmed the public's right of access to government information in the same format that it is used by government agencies. The unanimous decision of all seven Justices explained, "Openness in government is essential to the functioning of a democracy. Implicit in the democratic process is the notion that government should be accountable for its actions. In order to verify accountability, individuals must have access to government files."

It has been over four years (51 months) since the Sierra Club filed suit against Orange County for access to its GIS-formatted parcel basemap database ("OC Landbase") under the Public Records Act, which precludes having to pay the County's price ($475,000) nor having to sign a licensing agreement restricting use or distribution of the County's data. A year after filing, however, the Superior Court decided in favor of Orange County, agreeing with the County's position that its OC Landbase was excluded from disclosure as "computer mapping system" software. Sierra Club appealed, but 14 months later, the Court of Appeal found the statutory language ambiguous, and supported the County's position that GIS-formatted files fall within the meaning of "computer mapping system."

The Sierra Club appealed to the California Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case 3 months later. After another 22 months, the Supreme Court decided: the lower courts got it wrong. The Court decision says, "We believe the public records exemption for 'computer software' (§ 6254.9(a)), a term that 'includes computer mapping systems' (§ 6254.9(b)), does not cover GIS-formatted databases like the OC Landbase at issue here." Orange County must produce the OC Landbase in response to Sierra Club's request "in any electronic format in which it holds the information (§ 6253.9(a)(1)) at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication (§ 6253.9(a)(2))."

The Court cited the California Constitution, (Article I, Section 3, Subdivision (b)(1)): "The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business," and Subdivision (b)(2): "A statute, court rule, or other authority shall be broadly construed if it furthers the people's right of access, and narrowly construed if it limits the right of access." It also made several references to various Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) statements, particularly the brief from "212 GIS Professionals and 23 GIS Organizations" which explained the difference between software and data, made a distinction between "computer mapping system" and GIS software, illustrated the need for the GIS-formatted database over PDF-format pictures of the data, and pointedly noted that 49 out of California's 58 counties are able to maintain their GIS databases without having to sell public record data.

[The GIS communities] endorsement of the GIS Amicus Brief substantially helped win this case. Your interest and encouragement helped us carry on through initial disappointments to prevail. Thank you for your support.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, in which the GIS community is called upon to lend its expertise and participation to defend and extend our democratic rights and professional integrity. Liberty requires vigilance. Working together, our efforts can make a difference.

You can download the text of the decision at http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search/case/mainCaseScreen.cfm?dist=0&doc_id=1985061&doc_no=S194708.
There are those who say America is losing its regional identity. They say the mass media has homogenized our culture, making us all look the same, dress the same, act the same, and talk the same. Joshua Katz, a Ph. D student in statistics at North Carolina State University, just published maps of a linguistic survey begun by Professor Bert Vaux an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University that looked at how Americans pronounce words and shows that we still have some diversity in language across America.


So when you have some time to kill and you find yourself "Standing on line at the bubbler with a hoagie in your hand" click on this link from your smartphone and enjoy these dialect maps of America!

Interactive Map Site: http://spark-1590165977.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws.com/jkatz/SurveyMaps/

Or to read more about the study:

Written By Matt Ball
Created On August 20, 2012

The exploding interest in unmanned aerial vehicles and systems is a global paradigm shift that began with their heavy use in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan that is now poised to rapidly accelerate. The expansion to civilian use is coupled with technology and safety innovations, and upcoming more lenient FAA regulations in the United States...


The FAA will release a five-year road map to integrate drones into airspace by February of next year, with steps toward permitting by 2015....this FAA planned ‘realignment’ to deal with an estimated 30,000 drones flying above the U.S. by 2020, and a growing industry valuation of $12 billion within 10 years....click here to read more

Contributed by: Katie Springer
Indiana State Data Center (SDC)

Computer and Internet Use at Home: 2010 — These tables provide information about computer and Internet use from the Current Population Survey (CPS) School Enrollment and Internet Use Supplement. The tables display national and state level data and examine householder and individual characteristics by school enrollment, age, race, sex and Hispanic origin. Additional tables use data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine how and why people connect to the Internet. The CPS has been collecting data on computers and Internet use periodically since 1984. SIPP data on this subject have been collected since 1998. Internet address: <http://www.census.gov/hhes/computer/publications/2010.html>.

NEW Census API Lets Developers Create Custom Apps, Reach New Users: The U.S. Census Bureau released a new online service that makes key demographic, socio-economic and housing statistics more accessible than ever before. The Census Bureau’s first-ever public Application Programming Interface (API) allows developers to design Web and mobile apps to explore or learn more about America’s changing population and economy. The new API lets developers customize Census Bureau statistics into Web or mobile apps that provide users quick and easy access from two popular sets of statistics:

--2010 Census (Summary File 1), which includes detailed statistics on population, age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, household relationship and owner/renter status, for a variety of geographic areas down to the level of census tracts and blocks.

--2006-2010 American Community Survey (five-year estimates), which includes detailed statistics on a rich assortment of topics (education, income, employment, commuting, occupation, housing characteristics and more) down to the level of census tracts and block groups.

The 2010 Census and the American Community Survey statistics provide key information on the nation, neighborhoods and areas in between. By providing annual updates on population changes the survey helps communities plan for schools, social and emergency services, highway improvements and economic developments.

“We hope to see many apps grow out of the Census API, as this opens up our statistics beyond traditional uses,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. “The API gives data developers in research, business and government the means to customize our statistics into an app that their audiences and customers need.”

For example, developers could use the statistics available through this API to create apps that:
--Show commuting patterns for every city in America.
--Display the latest numbers on owners and renters in a neighborhood someone may want to live in.
--Provide a local government a range of socioeconomic statistics on its population.

“Apps give people simpler access to our statistics so they can get the information they need to answer questions or solve problems,” said Stephen Buckner, chief of the Census Bureau’s Center for New Media and Promotions. “As Web developers exercise their creativity with our statistics, we believe the public will gain more opportunities to access more of our information on their laptops and mobile devices ─ anytime and anywhere they wish.

The Census Bureau has also launched a website for developers to provide feedback and ideas on the API. The website includes an “app gallery” where the public can view and download Web apps that have already been created:
--Age Finder — Users have the flexibility to get a count of the population for a single year of age or for a customized age range by sex, race and Hispanic origin for states, counties and places.
--Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months by Sex by Age — Users can get the poverty rate for counties in New York by sex and multiple age groups in an app developed by the Program on Applied Demographics at Cornell University.

Developers can access the API online and share ideas through the Census Bureau’s Developers Forum - http://apiforum.ideascale.com/. With the release of this API and other upcoming forward-looking online communications improvements, the Census Bureau is meeting the goals of the President’s digital strategy to make information more transparent and customer-centered.

Editor’s note: The API does not include any information that could identify an individual; such information is kept strictly confidential by law. The API only uses statistics that the Census Bureau has already released publicly and in aggregate form.

GIS Developers Take Note: So as a ArcGIS Flex, Silverlight, JavaScript, and DotNet developer you can also use the Census API in your existing or new GIS application to more tightly integrate the Census data with your GIS application. Where do you start? Click Here

Census Bureau Releases Its First Mobile App: The U.S. Census Bureau will released its first-ever mobile app built using their new public Application Programming Interface (API). The first app is called “America’s Economy,” which will send economic trends, updates and the schedule of upcoming releases to a smartphone or computer tablet. The app combines statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics with statistics from the Census Bureau, presenting a live update of the nation’s key economic indicators. (Scheduled for release early August.)