Community Demonstration Project
Mapping our course for the future...

This project has several fundamental goals:
  • To show how cross-government, cross-functional geospatial data, maps and applications help solve community problems
  • To support results-driven management practices which use timely mapping data
  • To strengthen efforts to set cross-government, interoperable standards for data sharing
  • To supply federal expertise for resolving data, policy, standards, and technical issues related to cross-government information sharing
  • To share results of these pilots nationwide
Background: Imagine this future: A city is successfully reducing and preventing crime with the help of maps showing crime activity by type, location, time of day and day of week. Maps with differing levels of detail are used in headquarters, precincts, and community meetings. When police and citizens see hot spots for crime, officials rapidly mobilize resources with targeted goals and great results. When crime mapping data is displayed with housing, sanitation, public health, planning and social services data, partnerships of city officials, community residents, private and non-profit organizations plan extremely effective actions for improving the city's quality of life. When maps and information about federal programs and funding streams are added to the analysis, resources are leveraged for further improvements in community services. The key to success is everyone has a common, pictorial view of problem areas and available resources.

At the county level, critical issues such as land use, which have environmental and quality of life consequences for communities, are also portrayed visually. The county's digital library shows geo-based data such as county roads, utilities and pipelines, hazardous waster dumps, schools, census tracks, rights of way and federal water quality monitoring data acquired from the Internet. From this multi-layered database of information, specialized maps are created to help solve specific problems, such as the impact of land use changes on the environment over time. Working together, county officials and citizens use analysis and visualization software tools to develop a county land use plan that minimizes impacts to environmentally sensitive areas, and maximizes county well being.

When the Watershed Council meets to resolve its issues, visual maps are also used. Geo-based data is used to analyze, plan the approach, and resolve environmental quality issues such as agricultural runoff or toxic waste and their impact on water quality, or the interactions between flooding, land use and economic growth. Geo-based data helps decision makers balance water quality, flood protection, economic growth and available funding. Again, the key to success is that everyone has a common, pictorial view of problem areas, possible solutions, available resources and a baseline to measure results.

These geo-based, results-driven models of community management are only a few examples of a trend that is revolutionizing management and decision making in American cities and communities. On their own, and in partnership with other local, state, academic, industry and federal agencies, decision support applications are becoming commonplace tools for improving the health and well being of our communities.

However, many problems remain. Spatial standards, practices, and principles are slow in being implemented. These are critical to a high level of data sharing, elimination of redundant data collection, and the ability to collaborate effectively with neighboring jurisdictions. Federal support to communities can be improved to provide more comprehensive access to data, technical and other services. Finally, local community success stories need to be highlighted in ways that allow other communities to accelerate their application of lessons to their operations.

Scope: This Demonstration Project will be implemented in city, county, and watershed areas around the country, and will address the following categories of issues: crime prevention and reduction, watershed and water quality management, disaster preparedness and recovery, urban growth and land use planning. The Demonstration period will run from July 1998 through May 2000, with each project community designated as a NPR Reinvention Lab. Potential sites were nominated based on these criteria:

  • Ongoing geo-based applications and supporting infrastructure
  • Clearly defined goals and outcome measures
  • Use of, or willingness to move towards use of, NSDI data standards
  • Willingness to share geo-based information, within appropriate privacy guidelines
  • Commitment to citizen participation in discussions using geo-based data
  • Willingness to share lessons learned and best practices
The following communities were selected for this demonstration effort: Baltimore Police Department, MD, Dane County, WI, Gallatin County, MT, Tilamook County, OR, Tijuana River Watershed and the Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna River Watershed

August - September 1998

  • Form NSDI Demonstration Project community teams
  • Identify critical business questions/themes/outcomes
  • Determine extent of existing infrastructure to support those themes
  • Determine new infrastructure needed
  • Develop Business Plan to achieve new infrastructure
October 1998 - May 2000
  • Prototype and implement changes
  • Monitor progress and measure performance
  • Adjust as necessary Demonstration Project Management Team
  • Share results, best practices and lessons learned nationwide
PROJECT MANAGEMENT: At the federal level, a single NSDI Demonstration Project Lead will be identified to assure overall project integrity, resolution of cross-site issues, coordination, documentation of progress and results, and to facilitate cross-team communication. At the community level, a Community Planning and Implementation Team, including local and federal staff, will be responsible for planning and implementation. In addition, sponsoring agencies will identify a high-level official to act as a "project champion" to assure that all possible federal resources are identified and that federal support issues are worked in a timely manner. At the local level, a Community Champion and/or project lead may also be identified to provide visibility and support.

Points of Contact: John Moeller, Executive for the Federal Geographic Data Committee, (703) 648-5752; or Mark Reichardt, National Partnership for Reinventing Government, (202) 694-0081.

September 1998

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