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The FSTopo program historically has utilized a cartographic production workflow that has relied on multiple copies of data while residing in different formats based on different types of geospatial solutions. This architecture and associated data management have been both time-consuming and costly. In an effort to address these program needs, the data life cycle and workflows required to maintain this information need to be modernized, streamlined, and consolidated.

The FSTopo program has already begun addressing these issues through their migration of the program to the US Forest Service’s Virtual Data Center (VDC) in Kansas City, KS. In preparation for this effort, the program underwent an update to the platform and revised and updated the database to allow for further integration with data maintained by authoritative sources, both internal and external to the USFS. The FSTopo program is also working toward moving away from the legacy custom application to a newer Production On Demand (POD) solution already in use by the USGS. These existing modernization efforts will allow for a product that will be easier to update and integrate with existing and future data sources into the future.

Problem and Solution

The Geospatial Technology and Application Center (GTAC) Data Development and Cartography (DDC) program area has a requirement for GIS Services. The DDC division at GTAC hosts the FSTopo project which is responsible for the management and maintenance of the agency’s large scale base series mapping. These large scale map products were derived from the US Geological Survey (USGS) national mapping program at a standardized 1:24,000 scale 7.5 minute quadrangle footprint. This program covers all of the National Forest Service System lands including National Forests and Grasslands.

The DDC program is undergoing a transformation to streamline and standardize the method, data, and production process. The program will use it for the production of the primary (FSTopo) and secondary base map series for the agency. This project also involved testing and documentation of the workflows and processes. These workflows and processes aggregate authoritative data from internal and external agency sources to a new platform used for production. Furthermore, this task supports the program’s goal to improve practices and approaches for enterprise data consolidation. Also, platform improvements, analysis, streamlined workflows to integrate enterprise geospatial data. Consequently, through these modernized efforts cartographic staff will focus on updating and maintaining authoritative data for the Forest Service and avoid altering data external to the agency.


Xentity supported the Base Mapping program, partly due to our experience in the architecture and design for the modernized platform for the program. We provided testing, documentation and feedback of the workflows needed to produce cartographic products. Also, due to our familiarity with GIS and cartographic standards, we provided additional insight, context and consistency to these efforts. Furthermore, we executed systems analysis, support, of ArcGIS Server, SDE, and ESRI POD solution for web products.

Outcome and Benefit

The biggest major outcome was that our efforts supported modernization of the aforementioned programs. Also, we were able to support the Forest Service to streamline and modernize the agency’s map series based on our experience working with the Primary and Secondary base mapping programs.