March 17, 2015 — Finding geographic information about Wyoming just got a little easier.
The University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) recently launched the Wyoming Geospatial Hub (GeoHub), an Internet-based technological infrastructure for discovering, accessing and sharing publicly available geospatial data created and maintained by various Wyoming organizations and groups including state, local and tribal governments, federal agencies and the private industry.
Developed in partnership with the state of Wyoming Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), the GeoHub was created partially in response to Wyoming Statute 9-1-224 (2013), which provided for the baseline scientific assessment of agricultural, mineral, geological, historical and environmental resources on public lands. According to the GeoHub website, the application will “reduce data redundancies, increase the sharing of data, and improve the coordination of policy initiatives across state agencies for the benefit of decision makers, business and industry, and the public at large.”
“Geospatial data typically refers to digital data that include some type of locational geographic reference,” states Jeff Hamerlinck, WyGISC director. “Today, almost all data — about natural resources or otherwise — have a geographic component, so it makes sense that the GeoHub site supports this mandate.”
WyGISC has served geospatial data for Wyoming since 1997. The GeoHub will replace the existing Wyoming GeoLibrary, which has served as WyGISC’s data portal since the mid-2000s. It also reflects new trends in public data sharing philosophy.
“We designed the GeoHub to be not so much a warehouse where data are collected and stored in one place, but rather as a gateway for searching for and discovering data maintained by all sectors of the geospatial community across the state,” says Paddington Hodza, WyGISC assistant director and GeoHub project manager. “That way, you’re always connecting to the most current version of a dataset and you know that it is being supported by the group that created and maintains it on a regular basis.”
Currently, the GeoHub provides near-24/7 access to more than 600 different geospatial datasets ranging from elevation and soils information to land management status and population demographics. Enhancements over the next year will include improved access to digital aerial photography and satellite imagery, as well as a contacts database of geospatial experts in the state.
“The Wyoming Geospatial Hub represents the next evolution of an effort to increase geospatial application use and effectiveness, while reducing the cost to all users, stakeholders and decision makers,” says Karl Osvald, a senior geologist with the Bureau of Land Management. “The BLM has collaborated with the university and a range of stakeholders to timely access, acquire, analyze and distribute the highest quality related geospatial data in Wyoming.”
Randy Wiggins, GIS coordinator for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, adds, “Having a one-stop spot like the GeoHub for discovering and downloading Wyoming’s geospatial data is invaluable to the NRCS, our customers and partners. Reducing the amount of time spent looking for data allows our users to spend more time focusing on our natural resources.”
“I see the GeoHub as an evolving concept that will eventually go well beyond data sharing to become a place where people come to exchange ideas and collaborate on various geospatial activities of interest to Wyoming,” Hodza says.
For more information on the Wyoming Geospatial Hub, visit http://geospatialhub.org.