The State of North Dakota has signed up to contribute GIS data to the Community Maps Program managed by Esri. Administrative boundaries, water features, landmarks, and transportation data from North Dakota state agencies will be used in the basemaps that Esri provides through its ArcGIS Online service. GIS professionals and casual users can access this basemap information via web tools and desktop software.
We believe it is important to share this publicly available data to help ensure that people within the state and elsewhere have access to the best available data. We wish to maximize the use of tax dollars by re-using data as many times as possible. Another benefit of contributing data to the Community Maps Program is that while helping to improve those maps we also have a very good chance of finding areas of improvement in the data that we share.
The Community Maps Program which has the slogan, "think globally, map locally," aims to stitch together multiple datasets to create seamless maps that are maintained by multiple data providers in partnership with Esri. For example, right here in our own fair state we already have the City of Fargo, the City of Bismarck, and Cass County. Have a look at the Current Contributor map to get an idea of who is involved around the country and the world.
It is important to note that the Esri basemaps that benefit from the Community Maps Program do not replace data on the North Dakota GIS Hub. Rather, the data that is shared via the Community Maps Program compliments and depends upon the GIS Hub and the contributions from state agency data stewards. Basemap data available from the ArcGIS Online service is yet another means to access GIS Hub data.
So, what's next? The next step is to begin loading GIS Hub data into the Community Maps database. After that, Esri will pretty much take care of business but will work with the State to verify the resulting data. Once the data becomes available on the ArcGIS Online basemaps, we'll be letting folks know via this channel, Twitter, and the listserv. Stay tuned!