GIS Data for California Roads and Landmarks a Goal of Geospatial Officer

Newly appointed geospatial information officer Michael Byrne says GIS data sets will likely be publicly available.

by / March 26, 2009

California Geospatial Information Officer Michael Byrne, who was named to the newly created position on Wednesday, says one of his first priorities will be to create common GIS data sets of imagery, roads and landmarks of the state.

It will be the best-available public domain data -- 6 inches in the urban footprint and a minimum of 1 meter for the rest of California. Byrne said the data sets will likely be made available on a public forum like Cal-ATLAS, the state's geospatial coordination Web portal launched in February.

Currently Cal-ATLAS only provides the ability to upload and download data sets, he said.

"So rather than an end-user requiring to download that data, and storing [it] in their own disk, we're going to turn this on as a data service so that it'll be streaming to the desktop through a thick [client] and likely a thin client as well," Byrne said. "So the difference is a common footprint for imagery, roads and landmarks, and we haven't done this before."

Byrne said he will be pushing hard on this project within the next year. It's funded by an award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he said.

Byrne is the chair of the California GIS Council and serves on the board of directors for the National States Geographic Information Council. He said he is exploring how to add permanent staff who would carry out geospatial projects for the state. He will work in the state Office of the Chief Information Officer.

A task force of GIS professionals convened in 2008 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recommended the creation of a state geospatial information officer (GIO).

In recent years, more states have named GIOs and similarly named positions. "What makes it different in our capacity, though, is that we're the eighth-largest economy in the world, and while Maryland has a GIO, they just have a little bit different scale than we do," Byrne said.




Video: California CIO Teri Takai announces a one-stop GIS clearinghouse Web site that's home to geospatial data and maps.

Matt Williams Associate Editor
Platforms & Programs