Last time, we introduced you to the concept of telling our story through our data types and our accomplishments over 20 years of being in business. We will now continue with part 2, where we continue the tale of Xentity through our experiences in Geospatial Data. This will include summaries of a variety of projects we have done in the past. For those of you who do not know, Geospatial data is defined as information that describes objects, events or other features with a location on or near the surface of the earth.
Our goal in working with geospatial data is adding the ‘where’ dimension to your reporting, analytics, and monitoring adds immense value to operations, decisions, and planning. Geospatial data permeates everywhere, yet is elusive in most organizations. It requires organization of the community of supply capabilities driven by the community of use needs and questions sought. At its core, geospatial data is information that describes objects, events or other features with a location on or near the surface of the earth.
Some of Our Past Projects
We’ve had the pleasure of working on a variety of geospatial-related projects the past 20 years. We’ll now share a few highlights that span those 2 decades.
The US Geological Survey’s Land Remote Sensing program works to acquire regional and global remotely sensed datasets from multiple sources. Also, participate in defining and developing future satellite missions. Furthermore, Expand the understanding and applications of remotely sensed data. At the time of this project, the LRS program needed to capture its goals, processes and requirements to create a greater understanding of its own portfolio.
Several Xentity projects have often revolved around the simple act of better organizing and explaining internal data such as program requirements. We analyzed project data to facilitate the development of team recommendations. Also, we helped document the standardized schema and metadata the LRS used in maintaining project data and metadata. We even developed two 2-minute long videos to explain the program and its vision. The analysis we provided helped the LRS transition to a new operating model.
It certainly seems a bit meaningless compared to more glamorous projects. Helping design the transition plan definitely does not have much of a wow factor. However, our company revolves around data. Current data, new data, different types of data, it does not matter. In this case, we worked with already existent data to help the LRS operate more efficiently. By using already existing data, the LRS was given a clear project plan and solution in their transition to a new operating system. Glamorous? No. Helpful? You better believe it.
Frankly, of the four data types we work with, there is a legitimate argument to be made that geospatial data means the most to us. Okay, yeah, we can make the parent argument we love all our ‘kids’ equally. But no. We are especially passionate about earth/environmental data. So we especially love projects that have to do with dealing with natural disasters, like wildfires.
The Disturbances Assessment and Services (DAS) program provides a wide breadth of information as part of tactical and strategic geospatial support to forest service units and external partners. DAS also provides rapid assessment and analysis services following major disturbances such as wildfires, severe weather, and natural disasters. At the time, the US Forest Service wanted their DAS program to be more comprehensive in its use of satellite imagery, and then to provide data from that imagery to specific fire professionals.
Xentity provided geospatial support services to these several initiatives, but they also developed and maintained operational geospatial frameworks/systems. We edited, debugged, and tested export scripts to write and copy shape-files files to multiple locations. Then we changed these detection export scripts to write to a new geodatabase location. From there, we created a new geodatabase for the USFS’s server and edited the script to only ingest mod-res data into the geodatabase, eliminating the highres shape-files, along with to detections to export script to copy shape-files to a new folder location for troubleshooting issues.
Our efforts helped DAS see more efficient, cost-effective, high-quality geospatial processes. Also, increases in efficiency relevant to the Active Fire Mapping and other DAS programs. This is particularly important to their activities revolving around natural disasters. Xentity is passionate about earth data. Especially earth data that can help keep others safe from natural disasters.
The Geospatial Technology and Application Center (GTAC) currently supports the administration and maintenance of enterprise geospatial data services. At the time of this project, 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 to comprehensive data governance.
Working with Critigen, Xentity 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 served as the agency Enterprise Map Service Administrator (EMSA).
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. Together, we also 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. Furthermore, we optimized national map services using caching, indexing symbolization, data connections and other service optimization as needed.
Our combined efforts ultimately provided integrated data management services and organized map services so that they are discoverable on open data sites. This has allowed data services (such as interactive maps) to be available for public use. Data ultimately exists to be used, so it is important to us to partake in projects that help in its use. Especially at the government level.
Oftentimes, Xentity has also been called on for development services as well. We see this happen most often in the development of either new data or apps. In particular, apps that are focused on providing and using data to both users and creators. CPW Fishing, the official fishing app for Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a great example of this. It allows users to discover and search 1300 fishing destinations. It also allows users to view a location’s popularity, ease of access, which fish species are present, stream gauges and more. Users can record days on the water, journal their catches, and place catch locations on the map. Much like many other apps, CPW Fishing exists to make certain activities easier through the use of data.
Xentity helped develop the app by implementing an Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) process that is designed to migrate data from the authoritative CPW fishing data into a mobile friendly database. Xentity is also providing a data management platform for new authoritative data and dashboards into new journal entry data. Keeping track of all this data, the CPW can also help understand stocking needs for certain rivers (releasing fish into areas where people are overfishing).
This is a big part of our story too. Undertaking projects that seem odd to some but very important to others. Fishing is huge in places like Colorado. An app like CPW Fishing is a godsend for fishermen. The data provided improves their fishing experience. That is what data can be in our opinion. In a world where new data is being created every second, for us it makes sense to use it to better the lives of others. That is the point behind so many of these projects. Can we help with your data so that data can help others?
Xentity has been proud to work on several projects pertaining to data migration over the past twenty years. For example, the Geospatial Technology and Applications Center (GTAC) required support to coordinate the migration of their data center data, physical assets, applications and services to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA).
Xentity helped migrate the GTAC data center’s applications and hardware. Furthermore, they migrated all geospatial applications to ensure their functionality at the National Information Technology Center. We’ve done similar projects, where we’ve migrated entire websites and their content to new platforms. A great example of this is geoplatform.gov.
Data and data center migrations often become a necessity to better organize assets and use them more efficiently. Xentity is all about efficiency and organization. Rather than focus on technology, we focus on information. It’s in the slogan. So, we are always happy to partake in better organizing information, especially if it’s to migrate it to new platforms
We have, of course, worked on plenty of other projects pertaining to geospatial data over the past twenty years.
Forest Map Cartographic Services – routine cartographic support to produce the USFS’s base map product; FSTopo.
AWS Serverless Geospatial Data Pipeline – rationalize and assess the readiness, complexity, and other gaps in order to move to the new data-driven model.
Geospatial Analysis of Historical Water Use – data analysis to support government new policy considerations.
CARTO Dashboard App Development – the development of a dashboard powered by CARTO for New York City.
Land Records Strategy & Architecture – providing RFP requirements and solutions to develop assessment, requirements and CONOPS for the Bureau of Land Management.
National Park Service Data Management – providing data management services to help in the provision of geospatial and alphanumeric data services and support.
NISC Software Development – providing senior level software application development services for NISC systems.
A Preview For Part 3
The story of Xentity can be summarized through our ventures into geospatial data quite simply. Help in a variety of ways that comes from a passion for earth data and a strong belief in working closely with governments to improve their own data, so that the general populace can benefit as well.
Join us in part 3, where we continue to tell our story. This time, it will be told through our experiences with open data.