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Digital Mapping Techniques '00 -- Workshop Proceedings
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-325

NSGIC -- A Resource for State Geologists

By Susan Carson Lambert

President Elect, 2000
National States Geographic Information Council
67 W. Main St., Suite 600
Lexington, KY 40507
Telephone: (859) 514-9208
Fax: (859) 514-9188
e-mail: Susan.lambert@mail.state.ky.us

WHAT IS NSGIC?

The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is an organization of States committed to efficient and effective government through the prudent adoption of information technology. Members of NSGIC include delegations of senior state geographic information system managers from across the United States. Other members include representatives from federal agencies, local government, the private sector, academia and other professional organizations. A rich and diverse group, the NSGIC membership includes nationally and internationally recognized experts in geographic information systems (GIS), and data and information technology policy.

NSGIC is particularly concerned with geographic data and systems. This technology helps create intelligent maps and data bases that enable public and private decision makers to make better informed and more timely decisions in a wide array of governmental areas. This technology can affect such diverse areas as economic development, delivery of health and human services, environmental protection, facilities management, taxation, education, emergency government, and transportation. GIS systems and data are rapidly becoming principal tools in the business of government and the private sector because they are visual, integrative, intelligent and analytical. In addition, GIS provides the means to eliminate needlessly redundant work within and between units of governments; to provide operational efficiencies; and to capture economies of scale in information handling and distribution.

The implications of GIS technology and data are profound. Location is the single common thread to all data. In the not-too-distant future, nearly every governmental unit will adopt a geographic or locational organization scheme to tie governmental information together for improved data administration. Simply, geographically based information technology and data can enhance the usefulness of, and the returns from, the investment in public information. Nevertheless, the potential benefits of the technology and data can only be realized through intergovernmental and private sector cooperation, and partnerships.

PURPOSE

The NSGIC Bylaws provide that the purpose of the Council is to encourage effective and efficient government through the coordinated development of geographic information and related technologies to ensure that information may be integrated at all levels of government.

ACTIVITIES

The Council's efforts and focus include:

Policy
NSGIC provides a unified State voice on geographic information and technology issues, advocates State interests, and supports the membership in their individual initiatives. The Council actively promotes prudent geographic information integration and systems development. NSGIC reviews legislative and agency actions, promotes positive legislative actions, and provides advice to public and private decision makers.

In accepting these challenges, NSGIC has had profound influence on the development of policy on a national level. NSGIC members have served on a variety of task forces and working groups relative to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. NSGIC's influence has been felt within many states as well by providing speakers and education that have helped states to form sensible, productive policies toward the coordinated development of technology and data.

Liaison and Networking
NSGIC promotes interaction and cooperation among Council members, federal, local and regional governments, professional associations, and public and private sector groups. NSGIC publishes a quarterly newsletter to keep members abreast of Council activities and breaking developments. The newsletter provides a forum for state activities, technical issues, and general interest. The Council also maintains a bulletin board which is accessible via the Internet and a listserve. The NSGIC web site is http://www.nsgic.org/.

Research
The Council studies and provides a forum for examining geographic information issues. NSGIC provides resources and personnel to facilitate the research and testing of geographic information and technology concepts, applications, policies, and coordination mechanisms. The Council has conducted several surveys, issue papers and proposals in a number of technical and policy areas. Council members get complementary copies of all work.

Education and Public Relations
NSGIC develops and helps others develop, a variety of educational programs and materials through a variety of media to enhance and promote discussion of ideas regarding geographic information management and integration. Of particular importance is the NSGIC annual conference. This meeting takes a unique approach--it is an educational program, but it also is a working session where the Council develops policy, works on technical issues, and provides in-depth analysis of issues and opportunities.

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