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1 Geographic Information Science Today and Tomorrow What makes [Google Earth] important is the trait it shares with other big steps forward in computing . . . it is not an end in itself, but a beginning of new opportunities for others, based on the new tools it provides. --Fallows 2006, p. 140 A mere 30 years ago, stranded drivers could not place a cell phone call or push a button in their automobiles and have their precise locations almost instantly identified by a service that could dis- patch assistance. Thirty years ago, the mobile telephones, pagers, and digi- tal assistants that are now commonplace were little more than the dreams of visionaries, who were rarely taken seriously. Thirty years ago, scien- tists rarely used computers to visualize and analyze such complex geo- graphic phenomena as the spread of a disease, trends in an evolving storm system, or variations in global soil moisture. Thirty years ago, geographic information systems were only beginning to be deployed in government agencies, the military services, police departments, private firms, and in higher education. Many of these changes were identified in a 1997 Map- ping Science Committee workshop that assembled a group of experts from the private sector, academia, and government to focus on the future of spatial data in society (NRC, 1997). The resulting study described the changing organizational and technological environment in which all forms of spatial data are being created and used, and the related strategic questions facing organizations and stakeholders in the spatial data com- munity. However, not even that group could predict the impact of the Internet, high-speed data access, cheap storage devices, and powerful search engines. Today numerous powerful and sophisticated mapping and visualization software is widely available at little or no cost to schol- ars, professionals, and ordinary citizens. Such utilities as Google Earth,1 1http://earth.google.com (accessed 19 April 2006). 7
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8 BEYOND MAPPING Virtual Earth,2 World Wind,3 EarthSLOT,4 GeoFusion,5 Placepedia,6 and Flickr7 provide a wealth of maps, images, and information that is cata- loged and accessible by location. The geospatial mapping technology trends that have accompanied these advances include, among others:8 · Migration from paper to digital storage and representation of data, allowing rapid spatial query and analysis; · Shift from maps to mapping services (Mapquest, for example),9 with inner workings and transactions often transparent to users, and from the mass production of multipurpose maps with long update intervals (the USGS 1:24,000 topographic map series, for example, or NOAA's Nau- tical Charts, the Rand McNally Road Atlas, Reader's Digest Atlases, or the National Geographic Society's maps) to customized, user-specified, on- demand maps for individual users; · A broadening range of sensors and sensor locations, including those worn by people, animals, and robots, with improving capabilities for better spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution and with capacities for rapidly determining location using GPS; 2http://local.live.com (accessed 19 April 2006). Microsoft's basic map utility. 3http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov (accessed 19 April 2006). Permits users to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth and view plan and 3-D versions of Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data. 4http://www.earthslot.org (accessed 19 April 2006). A collection of 3-D GIS and terrain visualization applications designed to allow scientists, resource managers, educators, and the public to understand Earth and the Earth sciences. The site is maintained by the Univer- sity of Alaska Fairbanks with support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administra- tion and the National Science Foundation. 5http://www.geofusion.com (accessed 19 April 2006). A commercial visualization tech- nology company that provides 3-D visualization of images of Earth. GeoFusion software is linked to that of the largest GIS software vendor. 6http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placeopedia (accessed 19 April 2006), an online gazetteer that integrates Google Maps images (including satellite photos) and Wikipedia encyclope- dia articles. 7http://www.flickr.com (accessed 19 April 2006). A photo-sharing website that can be accessed from Google Earth, thereby providing photos of specific sites organized by location. 8The evolution and fundamental underpinnings of GIS and GIScience requested in the Beyond Mapping Statement of Task question 1 constitute a fascinating tale that is told more fully in Appendix C. As this report itself evolved, and as its title suggests, its focus became dominated by the prospects that lie beyond the past and current mapping upon which it is based. Appendix C offers a more detailed account of evolution for those who desire it, but avoids diverting attention from current and future needs with a lengthy in-text history. 9http://company.mapquest.com (accessed 27 April 2006).
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 9 · Increased capability to instantaneously integrate multiple sources of geospatial information from geolibraries, clearinghouses, and data cen- ters,10 and; · An increasingly rich array of ways to portray geospatial informa- tion in virtual reality and augmented reality. Global positioning and navigation systems, hardware miniaturiza- tion, software innovations, wireless telecommunications, remote sensing, computer evolution, and the Internet have made such powerful software possible and fostered the penetration of geographic information systems into many realms of daily life. The utility of the increasing quantities of geographic information that has accompanied these technological changes has fostered rapid expansion in the use of geographic information sys- tems (GIS). The resulting demand in the commercial, government, and private sectors for even more geographic data, for more advanced geo- graphic information systems, and for personnel skilled in their applica- tions has, in turn, fostered the development of geographic information science (GIScience), a vigorous and often ad hoc collaboration among many disciplines and professional specialties (Sidebar 1-1). Today geographic information systems have become central to the ways thousands of government agencies, private companies, and not-for- profit organizations conduct business. Geographic information science is key to the ways thousands of researchers do science in numerous disci- plines. For the most part, however, the supply of well-trained and well- educated GIS/GIScience professionals in the United States has not kept pace with the demand for more and improved geographic information systems and for more robust geographic data (Mondello et al., 2004). Al- though rapid growth in the GIS/GIScience labor force is forecast, without specific programs to accelerate that growth the United States runs the risk of losing its international lead in GIS/GIScience due to shortages of high quality GIS/GIScience personnel. Meeting current and prospective demands for employees who will enhance the vigorous information-based economy of the United States presents many challenges, not least of which are those faced by colleges and universities. An information-based society demands new strategies for learning, practice, teaching, and research if the economic and social benefits it promises are to be realized. The United States remains the 10Vast amounts of geospatial information can be downloaded from the Internet. For ex- ample, EOSDIS (the Earth Observing System Data and Information System) alone offers about at petabyte (1,000,000,000,000,000, or 1015 bytes) of data.
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10 BEYOND MAPPING SIDEBAR 1-1 GIS and GIScience Definitions A prominent geographic information system software vendor defines a GIS as "a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing feature events on Earth. GIS technology integrates common database operations, such as query and statistical analysis, with maps."a The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which uses geographic information systems extensively, defines GIS as "an organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data, and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipu- late, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information."b The individual who coined the term GIScience defined it as "a multidisciplinary research enterprise that addresses the nature of geographic information and the application of geospatial technologies to basic scientific questions" (Goodchild, 1992). The definition adopted in the 2006 GIS/GIScience Body of Knowledge (DiBiase et al., 2006) is "the science behind or underlying geographic information systems technologies and their applications."c ahttp://www.esri.com/library/brochures/pdfs/higher_ed_bro.pdf (accessed 4 May 2006). bhttp://www.fws.gov/data/IMADS/glossary.htm (accessed 9 April 2006). chttp://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/giscc/units/u002/u002.html (accessed 9 April 2006). acknowledged leader in the development of GIS hardware and software, but individual and collaborative efforts on the part of educational institu- tions and employers will be needed if the country is to derive maximum benefit from its past investments in geographic information systems and geographic information science.
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 11 NATIONAL NEEDS FOR GIS/GISCIENCE PROFESSIONALS A real barrier . . . is the lack of managerial leadership to oversee this entire process. We need GIS and GMS [geographical management systems] leaders. --Wachter, 2005, p.12 Informed observers agree that the supply of competent GIS/GIScience professionals is inadequate to meet current and future needs of the geospatial enterprise. The National Aeronautics and Space Administra- tion (NASA) launched a National Workforce Development Education and Training Initiative in 1997 to address the "serious shortfall of profession- als and trained specialists who can utilize geospatial technologies in their jobs" (Gaudet et al., 2003, p.21). The largest GIS software vendor in the world estimated in 2000 that "the shortfall in producing individuals with an advanced level of GIS education was around 3,000 to 4,000 per year in the U.S. alone" (Phoenix, 2000, p.13). More recently respondents to a sur- vey conducted by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) noted a "shortage of trained workers emerging from educational programs," compounded by "the lack of the required skill sets among many of the graduates" (Mondello et al., 2004, p.13). Moreover, a diversity of education and training approaches is needed to prepare practitioners in a wide range of fields to realize the potential of geospatial technologies (Longley et al., 2001). The U.S. Department of La- bor (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.) identified geospatial-related occupa- tions as one of twelve high-growth employment sectors for the 2000-2010 period, with employment in those occupations projected to increase from 8 to 29 percent over the decade (Table 1-1). A 2004 article in Nature stated that earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor identified geotechnology as one of the three most important emerging and evolving fields, along with nanotechnology and biotechnology. Job opportunities are growing and diversifying as geospatial technologies prove their value in ever more areas (Gewin, 2004). The size of the GIS/GIScience enterprise in the United States is diffi- cult to estimate owing to its rapid evolution and to the absence of compre- hensive, consistent occupational categories and data. One estimate reck- oned that 175,000 workers were employed in the domestic remote sensing and geospatial information industries in 2004 (Mondello et al., 2004, p.11). In 2000, the GIS software vendor Environmental Systems Research Insti- tute stated that some 500,000 individuals in the United States used GIS software at work, and that 50,000 were full-time GIS specialists (Phoenix,
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12 BEYOND MAPPING TABLE 1-1 Projected Growth in Geospatial-Related Occupations by U.S. Department of Labor 2000-2010 2000-2010 Growth Occupation (projected percentage) Cartographers and photogrammetrists 18.5 Surveyors 8.1 Surveying and mapping technicians 25.3 Architectural and civil drafters 20.8 Civil engineering technicians 11.9 Mechanical drafters 15.4 Electrical drafters 23.3 Electrical and electronic engineers 10.8 Mechanical engineering technicians 13.9 Industrial engineering technicians 10.1 Environmental engineering technicians 29.1 Geoscientists 18.1 NOTE: Most industry insiders consider this conception of the "geospatial industry" to be far too inclusive (Seitzen, 2004). No one has questioned the projected growth of each of the listed components. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. 2000). Whatever the size of the GIS/GIScience labor force, it is not large enough; those using GIS continue to report that they are unable to find adequate numbers of qualified employees and GIS developers and ven- dors consistently lament shortages of capable geographic information sci- entists (Phoenix, 2000). Anecdotal evidence and informal reports from rel- evant scholarly and professional societies suggest that demand for faculty members qualified to teach GIScience in colleges and universities remains strong.11 FORCES DRIVING THE NEED FOR GIS/GISCIENCE PROFESSIONALS The combination of real-time and real-world mapping capabilities is extra- ordinarily powerful, leading to what I have termed Geographic Management 11Latitude, an initiative of an organization called NITLE (National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education), promotes the use of mapping and GIS for the purposes of develop- ing and enhancing a spatial understanding of liberal arts curricula. Among other strategies for achieving that goal, NITLE sponsors workshops at which college faculty and staff can learn about ways to incorporate GIS into their teaching (http://gis.nitle.org).
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 13 Systems [GMS]. . . . Today we have the potential to manage operations across space and over time on a minute-by-minute, second-by-second basis. --Richardson 2005, p.5 Three elements of continued change will ensure and require a grow- ing demand for GIS/GIScience professionals into the near future: (1) sustained and accelerating changes in information technologies, (2) ex- panding needs for more detailed geographic information, and (3) organi- zational change that responds to technological change and data avail- ability. Technological Change Basic capabilities for collecting, processing, analyzing, and dissemi- nating geographic data continue to evolve on the foundation of the rapid progress made over the last 25 years. Airborne and satellite sensing de- vices are constantly being refined, and the resolution of readily available imagery continues to improve for almost all areas of Earth. Geographic data can now be collected from sensors that can be embedded in animals, buildings, vehicles, and even in millimeter-diameter "smart dust" (Hoffman, 2003). The number of mobile communication devices in service continues to increase, stimulating augmented demand for location-based services, at the same time that the capacities of the Internet, faster and lighter computers, and wireless access multiply to interconnect formerly distinct elements of information technology. The migration from paper to digital storage and representation of geographic data continues apace, as demand shifts from traditional maps and map vendors to map services that offer customized maps on demand for individual users. Simulta- neously, lower entry costs have made it possible for many more organiza- tions to engage in mapping in support of their operations or to produce products and services based on geographic information. Far from repre- senting the end of a technological era, such services as Mapquest, Google Earth, and Geospatial One-Stop are but early way stations on a long jour- ney of technological development (Sidebar 1-2). These communication technologies have also made it possible for widely dispersed individuals to work on projects and provide services. Many companies are locating staff overseas to take advantage of lower wages and in response to domestic shortages of adequately trained per- sonnel. Demand for Geographic Information As the country and the world become increasingly interconnected, knowledge of place becomes ever more vital to a vast range of such hu-
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14 BEYOND MAPPING SIDEBAR 1-2 Geospatial One-Stop The Geospatial One-Stop Initiative is one of 24 e-government initia- tives sponsored by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to enhance government efficiency, reduce costs, and achieve the goal of a more citizen-based and results-oriented government. To manage the initia- tive, an intergovernmental board of directors has been established that is composed of state, local, tribal, and federal representatives. This board provides guidance on the direction of the project and ensures dialogue among the levels of government making major investments in geospatial information. The project was initially to have a finite lifespan of two years but has been continued indefinitely. It is focused on the seven framework digital data themes in common use specified by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). Participating data producers must classify and document their data holdings following accepted standards. Geospatial One-Stop's primary objectives are to: · Develop and implement data standards for National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) framework data; · Maintain an operational inventory of NSDI data and publish the metadata records in the NSDI Clearinghouse Network; · Publish metadata for planned data acquisition and update activities; · Develop and deploy prototypes for enhanced data access and Web mapping services for geospatial data; and · Establish a comprehensive electronic portal as a logical extension to the NSDI Clearinghouse Network. The initiative will build on investments already made in developing the NSDI and on advances in geospatial information technologies to en- courage greater collaboration and coordination among federal, state, and local governments; tribal governments; the private sector; and academia. SOURCE: http://www.geo-one-stop.gov (accessed 24 May 2006). NRC, 2003. man activities as responses to emergency 911 calls, weather forecasting, air traffic control, crop monitoring, and national security. Humans rely constantly on place-based knowledge as they navigate, describe places to others, study the history of localities, or plan for the future of places where they live. As globalization causes events in distant places to induce changes in familiar localities through the outsourcing of formerly local
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 15 jobs or the consequences of distant political upheavals, the demand for detailed geographic information grows, along with the need for more ro- bust ways of storing, synthesizing, analyzing, and understanding the meaning of information about places (Friedman, 2005). A related force driving accelerated societal demands for geographic information and GIS/GIScience professionals is the increasing accessibility to that infor- mation. Today anyone with access to a computer or a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver can make maps and publish them on the Internet, empowering individuals, local communities, and private firms to create or capture data in their own ways instead of relying on federal and state governments to produce it for them (NRC, 1997). Access to geographic information received a huge boost with its re- cent incorporation into major commercial search engines such as Google. The enormous financial and technical resources that Google and other software companies command have changed the way average citizens can access geographic information--and even add their own content. Free, robust, and dynamic Web-based tools for accessing geographic informa- tion provide new ways for the public to search for all kinds of geographic information, including tourist sites, property tax assessments (Figure 1-1), and even the locations of convicted sex offenders (Figure 1-2). Maps and aerial photography have become part of the standard content for many commercial websites, and a rapidly increasing number of companies are developing new marketing strategies based on geographic search and vi- sualization tools. The RE/MAX real estate company in Colorado, for ex- ample, has developed an application billed as "The Future of Real Es- tate." It uses Web-based search engines to select subsets of prospective properties from traditional multiple listing services and allow buyers to view property locations on high-resolution aerial photographs over- laid with information on schools and other services and amenities (Figure 1-3). Virtual tours of individual properties can be taken using other Internet tools. Like the demand for more geographic data, the demand for better data seems insatiable. For many applications, data currency is crucial, as in emergency 911 dispatching systems. Desirable data are accurate, de- tailed, as inexpensive as possible, and easy to find and retrieve. Data should be amenable to analysis, modeling, visualization, and use in deci- sion support systems, and the tools needed for those functions should be as accessible as the data themselves. For government agencies, private entrepreneurs, and scholars, success relies on geospatial information be- ing current, timely, accurate, cheap, easy to manipulate, and easy to re- trieve. These are persistent desires, and they will continue to drive the further development of geographic information science in the future, just as they have in the past.
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 19 Changes in Organizations Abundant geographic data and its uses have brought about changes within many organizations as well as in interactions among organizations. Transforming mapping from the art of a few to standard software func- tionality results in less centralized management, less control over geo- graphic data, and fuller reliance on a distributed network of individuals and organizations for capturing and managing stores of geographic data (NRC, 1997). Organizations using GIS technologies now face the need to manage resources and technologies with which they have little experi- ence. Another force for organizational change in GIS/GIScience is an in- creased focus on problems and questions that do not fit neatly within such traditional categories as the purview of an individual academic dis- cipline, or the prerogatives of the private and public sectors. Effectively addressing global warming, the threat of influenza pandemics, or national security, for example, demands the knowledge and skills of professionals from a variety of sectors and specialties. While many organizations produce digital geospatial data, few have the resources to produce all the data they require. This means that organi- zations are spending increasing amounts of time searching for data and negotiating or coordinating with other organizations to help meet their needs. These negotiations are taking place across all sectors (public, pri- vate, nonprofit, and academic) and are resulting in new forms of collabo- rations as well as new organizations. Some of the organizations most af- fected by technology and GISciences changes are the traditional national mapping organizations. Federal The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), with long-standing responsibili- ties for national mapping, has faced significant organizational challenges over the last decade in response to the evolution of the GISciences. The ability of many other entities to produce more current, higher-resolution data and to market data products effectively has forced USGS to reexam- ine its mission and roles and to consider new collaborations and partner- ships (NRC, 2001, 2003b). The realities of declining budgets for mapping functions, a workforce lacking many of the necessary skills to respond to today's geographic data management requirements, and shifting man- dates as the federal government tries to coordinate geospatial activities, have contributed to the need to reassess USGS operations, a challenge faced by similar mapping organizations worldwide. The USGS response is the Center of Excellence in GIScience (CEGIS) established in January 2006 within the USGS Geospatial Information Of- fice. CEGIS conducts, leads, and influences the research and innovative
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20 BEYOND MAPPING solutions required by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and the emerging GeoSpatial Web. The mission of CEGIS is to: · Provide leadership to identify, conduct, and collaborate on GIScience research issues of national importance; · Provide timely, efficient, and intelligent access to new and archived USGS geographic data needed to conduct science and support policy de- cisions; · Develop innovative methods of modeling and information synthe- sis, fusion, and visualization to improve our ability to explore geographic data and create new knowledge; · Develop credible and accessible geographic research, tools, and methods to support decision making related to the human and environ- mental consequences of land change; · Assess, influence, and recommend for implementation technologi- cal innovations for geospatial data and applications; and · Maintain world-class expertise, leadership, and a body of knowl- edge in support of the NSDI. CEGIS will consist of a cadre of government research scientists, largely located at the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center in Lake- wood, Colorado. It will directly fund its staff and some specific research activities within the USGS. Other activities that support the CEGIS re- search agenda will be funded through a competitive research prospectus process. CEGIS staff will be augmented by postdoctoral researchers and by academic and industry scientists in visiting positions. GIScience initially involved, and still includes, the science behind the traditional mapping disciplines of cartography, photogrammetry, re- mote sensing, and surveying. Today it also includes broader issues re- lated to the modeling and representation of geographic data, phenomena, and processes; human cognition of geographic information; the analysis and description of uncertainty; spatial analysis and modeling, including GIS; scale; geographic ontologies;12 visualization;13 and similar topics. Examples of specific questions of relevance to the Geospatial Infor- mation Office (GIO) are: · What roles do scale, resolution, and uncertainty of scientific infor- mation play in addressing different types of issues? 12 GIS representations of geographical phenomena and data. 13Rendering data into visual geospatial representations.
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 21 · How can science performed on the basis of natural boundaries sup- port decisions that affect areas defined by administrative or social bound- aries? · What science-based tools and products can be developed to sup- port decision making? · How can data mining algorithms be designed to handle geospatial data, spatial data access structures, and use of domain knowledge for im- proved query processing and mining? · Can a theoretical model be developed and verified that provides a basis for fusing geospatial datasets of different geometries, resolutions, and accuracies? · Can such a model provide a basis for automatically combining data through access to metadata that includes resolution and accuracy? · Can we develop appropriate methods of visualization to handle the generalization of features at different scales, deal with color and con- trast issues when combining multiple raster and vector datasets, and rep- resent and display critical data elements on a variety of display media? While these topics generally represent long-term research areas, the GIO also seeks shorter-term opportunities to apply new understanding and capabilities gained from research in these areas to enhance the develop- ment and operation of the National Map (http://nationalmap.gov [ac- cessed 24 May 2006]). Research activities necessary to achieve the National Map vision in- clude the development of methods necessary to derive and display seam- less, generalized, consistent data and topographic maps from the best data available from a variety of distributed federal, state, county, and local government and private-sector sources. Extraction and long-term mainte- nance of feature information, including capabilities for individual feature identification and transactional update, Internet-based data collection and editing, metadata population and maintenance, and integration of open- source and proprietary systems and data also are research themes. Also included is the development of technologies to integrate laser- and micro- wave-based technologies, combined with airborne Global Positioning Sys- tem capabilities, into the production of the National Map data. CEGIS will also conduct, support, and collaborate in research to ad- dress critical geographic information science questions of importance to the USGS as a whole and to the broader geospatial community. As an outgrowth of and complement to this research program, the CEGIS will support and collaborate in technological innovations that further the implementation of the NSDI (Steven Guptil personal communication to David Cowen, April 5, 2006). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recognized 15 years
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22 BEYOND MAPPING ago the need for agencies to cooperate in order to more effectively de- velop and maintain geospatial data (OMB, 1990). OMB created the Fed- eral Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to provide a forum for federal agencies and states--and more recently professional societies, local gov- ernments, and universities--to discuss geospatial data issues and to con- sider data standards (Sidebar 1-3). Private Structural changes within private organizations in response to GIS/ GIScience are likely to be self-initiating in response to market forces. An increasing number of firms recognize that ready access to detailed spa- tial information represents new market opportunities. Innovative com- panies are capitalizing on these opportunities. Private firms in forest management and real estate have long relied on robust GIS tools to in- ventory and manage their assets. Most utility companies now rely on detailed geographic information for all components of their infrastruc- ture to feed the decision support systems they use to monitor their net- SIDEBAR 1-3 The Federal Geographic Data Committee The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is an 18-member interagency committee that coordinates the development, use, sharing and dissemination of spatial data nationally. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) established the committee in the 1990 revision of OMB Circular No. A-16 and reestablished it in the circular's 2002 revision (OMB, 1990, 2002). The FGDC evolved in part from a committee estab- lished by OMB in 1983 called the Federal Interagency Coordinating Com- mittee on Digital Cartography (FICCDC). FGDC receives a budget of approximately $4.9 million from the USGS to facilitate coordination, de- velop standards, sponsor cooperative agreements, and support the FGDC secretariat. FGDC has developed and issued approximately 25 spatial data standards, including the metadata standard; established clearinghouses that provide access to spatial data using metadata standards; fostered hundreds of cooperative agreements that sponsor the development of framework data and the development and testing of spatial data access technology and interoperability; and disseminated numerous publications and educational materials describing the National Spatial Data Infrastruc- ture (NSDI) and its various components. SOURCE: FGDC, 2005; NRC, 2003a.
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 23 SIDEBAR 1-4 Job Posting for a GIS-related Position GIS Analyst/Programmer Miner & Miner has a career opportunity for a motivated person to join our application team. This person will have strong object-oriented pro- gramming skills and geographic information systems experience to work as a member of our project consulting team. This individual will perform a variety of tasks relating to implementing and customizing applications for electric, water, and gas utility companies. This individual will play a role in the development of new tools and the enhancement of existing software. This person will work closely with project managers, technical leads, and clients. This position requires: · Bachelor of science degree in computer science, engineering, or geography (or related field with computer emphasis). Relevant job experi- ence will also be considered in lieu of a degree. · At least two years experience with ArcGIS and other ESRI prod- ucts. Experience with Smallworld or Intergraph will also be considered. · At least one year of extensive work experience developing end- user applications with an object-oriented programming language, such as C# or Magik. · Experience with commercial RDBMS [relational database management system], such as Oracle or SQL [structured query language] server. . . . SOURCE: TechJobsCafe.com, 2005. works. During an outage, sophisticated tools now enable utility compa- nies to link customer phone numbers to precise nodes on a network and quickly pinpoint the location of the problem. Many companies now inte- grate their GIS departments with their standard information technolo- gies. This mainstream enterprise view of information systems has led to demands for experts who can integrate geospatial information with other information technologies. Many such firms have major recruitment prob- lems. Sidebar 1-4 shows a recent job advertisement that illustrates the type of skills that are in demand. As new business opportunities emerge, they stimulate demand for current, high-resolution geographic data. The information that is used to dispatch emergency vehicles, calculate property taxes, and drive dash-
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24 BEYOND MAPPING board navigation systems can also be employed in site selection and mar- ket analysis. Consequently, an energetic market has developed for firms that capture, convert, and maintain geospatial data. One company re- ported that it had 15 vacancies and planned to hire another 35 people the following year (A. Miglarese, personal communication to D. Cowen, Janu- ary 12, 2005). More important, the president of the company suggested that it was impossible to find people with the skills to integrate digital imagery with other information systems. The shortage is so acute that the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) is inviting its members to send human resources personnel to attend a workshop on ways to locate and recruit a skilled workforce. In addition to the expanding business opportunities in marketing, real estate, tourism, and similar data-related enterprises, there are critical needs to be met on the tool development side of commercial enterprise among firms that can create commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and custom- ized computer software. While much of the effort of GIS software vendors over the past 25 years has focused on the development of tools to solve specific data capture and editing problems or to provide powerful ana- lytical tools, demand is now growing for specialized Web-based applica- tions. Firms specializing in Web-based GIS consistently report great diffi- culty in finding personnel who are expert in modern programming techniques, sophisticated database management, and geospatial informa- tion standards requirements (G. Ehler to D. Cowen, personal communica- tion, April 17, 2006). Private firms have offered training in their respective software prod- ucts for many years, and many organizations, public, private, and non- profit alike have sent staff for such training. Governments have also un- dertaken organizational initiatives, both within individual agencies at local, state, and national scales, and in creating intergovernmental organi- zations such as FGDC to coordinate their complementary and overlap- ping efforts. Colleges and Universities Traditional university programs are not well structured to provide students with these kinds of qualifications. It is difficult for such tradi- tional academic disciplines as forestry and business administration to add the additional coursework in GIScience that would provide graduates with the proficiency employers desire. In recognition of the need for an innovative approach, the University of Texas at Dallas initiated a new Ph.D. program in GIScience (Sidebar 1-5) that is jointly offered by its School of Social Sciences, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (specifically in the Department of Geosciences), and School of Engineer-
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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE TODAY AND TOMORROW 25 SIDEBAR 1-5 University of Texas at Dallas Doctoral Program in GeoSpatial Information Technology The innovative structure of the University of Texas at Dallas doctoral program in geospatial information technology reflects geographic informa- tion science's origins at the confluence of work in multiple disciplines, including geography, computer science, engineering, geology, and various social, policy, and applied sciences. Unlike programs at other schools in which geospatial information sci- ence is offered as a concentration within traditional geography, geology, environmental science, or engineering programs, the degree at UTD is devoted solely to GIScience, focusing on advancing the technology, asso- ciated theory, and enhancement of application in a variety of substantive realms. It provides a unique option for students wishing to concentrate in this inherently cross-disciplinary specialty. Students educated in this manner will be attractive to the burgeoning geospatial technology industry, and to academia, because of their ability to build bridges to other disciplines. A critical mass of quality faculty have been assembled under this programmatic umbrella by bringing together faculty with expertise who are currently distributed among multiple depart- ments across the UTD campus. The program's architects expect that many students will enter the pro- gram with a bachelor's or master's degree (and/or work experience) in such applications as public administration, geology, or economics, or a techni- cal specialization (engineering, computer science, statistics, etc.) with the intent of advancing existing practice with geospatial information sciences in that application or expanding the technological or theoretical base for geographic information science. SOURCE: http://www.bruton.utdallas.edu/educ/gisphd.html. Accessed 19 April 2006. ing and Computer Science. The program is devoted solely to GIScience, focusing on the advancement of the technology, associated theory, and enhancing applications to substantive problems. It is interesting that Harvard University has recently chosen to begin the process of reestablishing a geography program by focusing on re- search and education in spatial analysis and geographic information. Working with entities across the university, the new Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) will be responsible for strengthening univer- sity-wide geographic information systems infrastructure and services to
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26 BEYOND MAPPING enable scholarly research that would use, improve, or study geospatial analysis techniques. In creating the center, the university has also com- mitted itself to raise funds for two senior positions that will provide strength in such fields as geospatial analysis, geoinfomatics, and geogra- phy. The CGA will enhance undergraduate and graduate curricula across the university and work with faculty in Harvard's Division of Engineer- ing and Applied Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Design, and the Harvard School of Public Health to develop and sup- port appropriate courses, course modules, and laboratories (Graun, 2006). Although commerce and industry lead the government and academic sectors in devising and applying new developments in GIS, the country's colleges and universities remain the primary source of new GIS/GIScience professionals. The ability of governments and the private sector to meet their respective missions is increasingly hampered by the shortage of qualified professionals. Society's needs for these professionals could be more effectively met if the traditional departmental structure of colleges and universities were more hospitable to such diverse emerging special- ties as GIS/GIScience.
Representative terms from entire chapter: