Saturday, April 18, 2009

Preserve Green Infrastructure while renewing Grey Infrastructure

The announcement this week on high-speed rail shows infrastructure projects are picking up steam - and are an enor­mous undertaking. Coordinating thousands of projects and protecting our environment at the same time will be challenging, requiring online access to information and services in both the private sector and government. Given these challenges now is the time for our country to build a new information network that combines the best of the past with the best of the future.

This network should combine online mapping with vital environmental data, providing public access using modern information sharing technology, and speeding economic recovery by produc­ing jobs in a competitive and productive environment. Recent and ongoing projects sponsored by agencies such as the USGS and EPA successfully produced open and interoperable technologies and procedures. Based on the work started under these efforts, a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) "2.0" can be built quickly, creating a competitive environment for small high-tech businesses and spurring innovation.

With NSDI 2.0 the government and private sector can move beyond on-premise computing and file transfers to geospatial/environmental access, processing, analysis and collaboration services on an Internet cloud - providing a resource to help preserve our Green Infrastructure while renewing our Grey Infrastructure.

- Jeff


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