Contributed by: Brooke M. Gajownik, GISP, 911 Address Coordinator, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

Not only have the nation's local cities, towns and counties created their own 911 systems, but they're all based on non-standard and sometimes odd methods of addressing properties in their jurisdiction. Facing the possibility of a future integrated, national 911 network, a federal group is now working to create a standard way of assigning addresses to help public safety pinpoint incidents, and also improve mail delivery and other related activities.

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) held a meeting last month to approve the final draft of the standards, comprising 605 pages of basic definitions and terminology, and an attempt to corral all the various addressing methods into a single, meaningful standard. It's an amazing collection of the familiar and the arcane. Download (pdf) the full document here.
The technology (equipment, software, and methods) for capturing and producing imagery and elevation data changes almost on a weekly basis. It has become increasingly difficult to quantify and measure the accuracy of these various technologies and products using traditional methods and standards, especially when comparisons often appear to be "apples-to-oranges". In an effort to keep pace with this evolving landscape, here are some links to some relevant articles:

Links to 3 relevant ASPRS articles on Imagery products and accuracy...

Ortho Imagery Systems: http://www.asprs.org/mapping_matters/index.html (by Qassim Abduallah, Fugro EarthData)

Oblique Camera Systems: http://www.asprs.org/publications/pers/2009journal/february/highlight.pdf

Satellite Imagery: http://www.asprs.org/publications/pers/2009journal/june/feature.pdf

Links to 3 relevant articles on LiDAR products, applications, and accuracy...

http://www.eijournal.com/LiDar_Mapping.asp (by Jamie Young - Sanborn)

http://www.asprs.org/mapping_matters/march09.pdf (by Qassim Abduallah, Fugro EarthData)

http://www.eijournal.com/Lidar_Data.asp (also by Qassim Abduallah, similar to ASPRS article above)

If you know of other good articles, please share them.
Many involved in GIS may not be aware of changes that will take place in the not-so-distant future involving metadata….yikes! There, I’ve said it. Metadata is a subject that can generate considerable fear among the hale and hearty. It’s the less glamorous aspect of GIS that people usually choose not to discuss, but it is an absolute must if you plan to share geospatial data. Metadata describe the content, quality, and condition of geospatial data. Better yet, when metadata is standardized, one can easily find specific dataset information of particular interest quickly.

Before I get to the breaking news, here’s just a bit of background. The first U.S. standard for metadata created by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) http://www.fgdc.gov/metadata, the Content Standard for Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM), was approved in 1994 and revised in 1998. It can include over 300 possible pieces of information to fully document a dataset. Since the creation of the standard, numerous tools and training materials have been introduced in an attempt to make the process of metadata compilation less tedious. Some tools are so handy that they automatically extract some metadata elements directly from the dataset.

In 2003 the international GIS community developed and approved a metadata standard (ISO 19115) through the International Organization of Standards (ISO). As a member of ISO, the U.S. must make changes to its current standard to adhere to 19115. Each participating nation can create an individualized ‘profile’ by customizing the standard, with the requirement that it includes the 22 core elements. Thus, the U.S. and Canada joined forces to create a common geospatial metadata profile. The North American Profile was published this July and supports the objectives of ISO 19115. The goal of the North American Profile (http://www.fgdc.gov/nap/metadata/nap-press-release.pdf) is to arrive at an ISO 19115 profile which meets the geospatial needs of both the US and Canada. To do so, the NAP team established specific methods and approaches that would guide NAP development. Copies of either the ISO 19115 or NAP can be purchased through the American National Standards Institute.

Why a new standard? Think of ISO 19115 as a way to upgrade the standard to today’s technology. There are more ways to access geospatial data today than there were in the 90’s. The new standard provides a schema for describing: geospatial web services, individual dataset descriptions, data catalogs, and clearinghouse activities. It applies to multiple levels of geographic information: datasets, dataset series, individual data features, and individual feature (attribute) properties. The content of ISO 19115 strongly resembles the ‘sections’ of the CSDGM. ISO 19115 provides information about the geographic data or service like: identification, extent, quality, spatial schema, temporal schema, spatial reference, and distribution.

So, how will this change affect Indiana? It means that down the road the FGDC will begin encouraging the transition from the CSDGM to the ISO 19115 based North American Profile. This will happen after appropriate tools for metadata creation and/or capture have been created (many are being developed and tested now). ESRI is one of the leaders in this and as many may be aware, already have an ISO tool included with their software. Eventually there will be a patch from ESRI updating ArcCatalog to include a NAP metadata collection tool. As the Federal Geographic Data Committee begin work on a new manual and training materials, they encourage the continued use of the CSDGM to compile metadata. If you need access to a fee metadata tool, the Indiana Geological Survey provides an online application at the following location: http://igs.indiana.edu/metadata/index.cfm.

Indiana has little to worry about. The Indiana Geological Survey has been doing a splendid job following the CSDGM to document the datasets residing on the IndianaMap. They are including the ISO theme keywords necessary for catalog searching/accessing metadata records currently recommended by the FGDC as the first step to getting ready for the transition. Any future changes in map service hardware, software or hosting should keep metadata issues in mind.

Final Notes: Before you get all excited to download and read this new standard, be warned it is not free. A single copy can be purchased for $30.00 from the American National Standards Institute at: