Geographic Information Systems (GIS) represent a valuable asset that can be useful to many people and organizational entities. Producing, analyzing and assessing computerized maps showing the location of highways, utilities, natural resources, and the distribution of specific populations are among the many uses of GIS. To maximize the benefits that can be realized through GIS, it is important that all geographic information adhere to standards that ensure data interoperability and that provide adequate documentation for data consumers to make judgments as to its utility. It is also important that the information be made available to interested parties as a sharable asset. To accomplish these objectives, a statewide committee consisting of GIS professionals as well as other interested persons representing local, state, academic, regional, and federal organizations was created.
A BRIEF BACKGROUND
Missouri has utilized geographic information and related technology (GI/GIT) for over 20 years, with a coordinated statewide approach to these technologies since 1995. GIS usage and application continues to grow across the state. The majority of state agencies as well as larger counties and municipalities are now using GIS with the remainder at least aware of the technology. Collaboration and partnering are a key element in many ongoing initiatives to further expand the digital data holdings of the state. Direction for GI/GIT leadership and coordination is provided by the Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) of the Office of Administration, which has been very supportive of the growth in GIT. The Missouri GIS Advisory Committee was established under the ITSD and is the leading coordination body for GIT in Missouri. Support for this group is provided by the Missouri Spatial Data Information Service (MSDIS), a state-funded center located within the Department of Geography at the University of Missouri with the purpose of providing archival and distribution services for digital GIS data to users in Missouri.
While not established by Gubernatorial or Legislative actions, the MGISAC was established as a standing committee under Missouri’s Chief Information Officer. Its purposes are: to foster cooperation among state agencies, local governments, private industry, academia, federal government and others in the field of GIT; to advise and assist ITSD in the coordination and advancement of GIT in Missouri State Government; to develop and recommend GIT management procedures and goals for state government as outlined in the Missouri GIS Strategic Management Plan; to assure the highest quality of information and reduce unnecessary duplication in the application of GIS technology; to provide a forum for interaction among state government agencies and other stakeholders with regard to policies and standards on the development and uses of GIS; and to enhance the recognition of GIS at the local, state and federal levels through the sharing of GIS products and research findings.
MGISAC has several objectives, including providing direction and oversight to the MSDIS, developing and publishing standards, representing the state at national meetings and events, hosting an annual statewide GIS conference, coordinating database development, and providing a forum for the states GIS community. MGISAC by-laws, strategic plan, and work plan documents are posted on the MGISAC Web site. The work plan addresses the following four activity areas and goals:
- Maintain and expand the spatial data archive.
- Set database and related standards for the GIS user community.
- Expand the use of GIS technology in Missouri Government.
- Plan MSDIS activities and report regularly on progress.
For more information call the Missouri Geographic Information Officer at (573) 526-7746.