Alaska Geoportal Technical Working Group
What data? Locating existing datasets using portal
When existing data cannot be located or shared, duplicate data is acquired and stored. Data is expensive to acquire, and geospatial datasets are notoriously large and can be expensive to house and distribute. Well over $70 million has been invested in Alaskan elevation and imagery data alone, with no established plan for long-term, sustainable hosting. A data portal allows discovery of datasets and encourages adoption of data standards that allow sharing for many different uses. It ensures that current, authoritative datasets are readily discoverable and widely available. Keywords, acquisition date, agency owner and location are used to discover data, and are contained in documentation known as metadata.
Where's the data?
Data discovery is not the same as data hosting. Like a directory of addresses, a metadata portal points to where a dataset is housed. Data does not have to be available online, and both online and offline collections can be included. Many agencies throughout Alaska are already hosting and distributing geospatial data through online portals, but there is no reliable way to discover these collections.
A stakeholder-driven geoportal and metadata registry plan was developed using a grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee in 2014. Recommendations in this plan guide the Alaska Geospatial Council's geoportal technical working group. This working group is not alone in their efforts, and has joined forces with the Smart Communities portal working group to address minimum metadata requirements, data standards and data sharing agreements as well as technology and shared resources necessary for sustainable and effective data discovery.
Shared, widely-accessible data means elimination of redundant data hosting costs, and reliable access to current, authoritative data. Access to public data improves government transparency, allows private sector development of new applications that consume the data, and encourages further collaboration and cost sharing.
Stakeholder survey results from the July, 2014 survey are available here.
Geoportal Technical Working Group Google Docs folder is available here.