U.S. National Grid plus OGC - Best of Both Worlds
A recent article on the U.S. National Grid has generated some interest in the blogosphere - even a little controversy. The article, titled "U.S. National Grid Simplifies Mapping", provides some great background on grid reference systems -
"In this era of GPS, homeland security and geospatial support to disaster relief operations, the civilian sector is beginning to realize what the military has known since World War I: for land navigation, the geographic coordinate system using latitude and longitude is not well-suited for referencing locations. The geospatial community, including NGA, has established and is working to implement a simple rectangular X, Y coordinate system for domestic location referencing, the U.S. National Grid (USNG)."
It goes on to point out how this simple system is sorely needed - especially during incident response situations. Good stuff!
However, one point isn't mentioned - that emphasis needs to be placed on promoting an online infrastructure of standards-based location content that can support incident response.
In particular, civilian government agencies can increase the pace of development of these online infrastructures by coordinating with Homeland Security and critical infrastructure protection functions. For example, there's no reason why a low-cost program cannot provide grant incentives to hundreds of localities across the nation to make their own framework data available via OGC Web Map and Features Servers (WMS and WFS) so these sources can be used for situational awareness in times of need, or used to guide tourists to key destinations on most other days.
This type of National Map 2.0 infrastructure investment is a “win-win” for the Nation.