In the United States Forest Service (USFS), the Geospatial Technology and Application Center (GTAC) currently supports the administration and maintenance of enterprise geospatial data services using ArcGIS for Server in Agency data centers and cloud based environments. Coordinating 154 National Forests, across 9 different Regions, 5 Deputy Areas, and all Research Stations and International Programs is a challenge for an agency as large as the USFS. As National Forests increasingly rely on geospatial systems and enterprise data standards to make Forest management more efficient, intuitive, and accessible, a new opportunity emerges to integrate “historically isolated efforts” to manage geospatial data. 

Our team was tasked with providing integrated data management activities, including administration and management of national level data services in agency data centers and cloud based environments. In support of these geospatial enterprise services, Xentity designed, developed, implemented, and coordinated their publication for USFS Washington Office program areas, GTAC, Regional offices, and Forest units and serve as the agency Enterprise Map Service Administrator (EMSA).

Maintaining, Integrating And Updating USFS Data

Today, the USFS Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) represents the authoritative standard for all USFS data, enabling analysis and increased understanding across a broader scale. However, efforts to integrate, update and maintain the data from individual Forests had been an ongoing challenge. Publishing data services from these authoritative data to eager public audiences required a thoughtful, methodical, and systematic approach comprehensive data governance. Hence, GTAC had played a fundamental role in fostering the early design of the EDW and, at the time, supported a number of roles charged with sustaining, improving and leveraging the EDW.

In particular, the role of EMSA had proven essential for developing and implementing the methodical process. This ensured a thoroughly vetted, approved and governed published services. That way, webmap services made available to the public were trusted, validated and authoritative. The EMSA does not just involve themselves in national level data services in agency data centers and cloud based environments. They also served on the EDW content governance board. Furthermore, they refined efficient workflows for publication routines. Finally, they provided knowledgeable consulting services for innovative approaches to new webmap services. These combined roles and responsibilities were integral to the function, efficiency, and accessibility of the agency’s growing internal and external webmap service catalog.

Solutions

Through Xentity and Critigen’s efforts, they managed the publication of map services for national data sets from many sources. This included the Enterprise Data Warehouse. Created interactive maps displaying information such as; near real-time fire and related data/information to inform end users in the USFS, external agency partners and the general public. Optimized national map services using caching, indexing symbolization, data connections and other service optimization as needed.

They will publish optimized map services. Assisted and provided consolation in the implementation and operation of cloud and enterprise geospatial solutions. They indexed and cataloged map services. That way, they are discoverable and available in environments such as data.gov, ArcGIS Online, data.gov and other open data sites. This ensured the cataloging and discoverability of all enterprise map services on the USFS intranet. Also, they provided technical support to Local Map Service Point of Contacts. This ensured adequate procedures and support for map services. Furthermore, they provided professional consultation on agency and industry best practices. These best practices related to the implementation of ESRI and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) geospatial data services. Assisted in the configuration of ArcGIS Online (AGOL) applications.

Publicized Data Services

The purpose of this task was to provide integrated data management activities. Xentity and critigen’s efforts have resulted in the publication of data services (such as interactive maps) for public use. They have organized map services so that they are discoverable on open data sites. They have also optimized national map services.