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Summer 2003
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Innovations Key to Geospatial One-Stop Portal Design

To properly support the business of the government and decision making, the Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) portal needs to be both flexible and innovative. Here are a few examples of innovative applications.

Channels—Users who want an easy way to find data about the environment and agriculture can click on the agriculture channel, then switch to the environment channel. Channels are a way to organize data, applications, best practices, projects, and users by theme or topic. This strategy not only results in shortcuts to organized data and Web services but, in essence, also creates an online meeting place for those interested in agriculture, emergency management, land records, or a number of other topics. As the Geospatial One-Stop portal matures, more channels will be added. The channels' structure enables topical experts to "own" the channel and keep its content current. This strategy also encourages the inclusion of the best available data whether it originates from federal, state, or local agencies or nonprofit organizations. Channels are a practical vehicle for engaging a broad user community to collectively build an effective one-stop portal.

Map Viewer—The portal's custom map viewer allows users to easily overlay new data layers by simply changing channels. As the user searches for and adds new data to the view, the geographic area of interest is remembered. No need to zoom in all over again.

Basemap Selection—No matter what topical data users are exploring, a basemap helps to put features in context. As another time-saving feature, the GOS portal offers The National Map from USGS as a standard basemap for the entire country. This allows users of the portal to quickly orient themselves and provides a base upon which they can overlay other information of their choice. The National Map includes thematic layers such as roads, hydrography, land cover, elevation, administrative boundaries, and place names.

Metadata Harvesting—A new generation metadata repository and search tool has been employed. The portal has tested the concept of harvesting metadata from distributed clearinghouse nodes to a structured repository allowing for fast and reliable results, a welcome improvement over traditional methods. Only the metadata is harvested; the actual data and Web services remain at the original host site.

Leveraging E-Government Initiatives—The GOS portal was designed with a mandate for efficiency and cost savings. To meet this mandate the GOS portal was designed to support other federal e-government initiatives. For example, Recreation One-Stop leverages the mapping functionality of the GOS portal to meet its business needs. Disaster Help.gov can also use the standard basemaps served up through the portal as a foundation for mapping emergency incidents. The cost savings realized through this leveraging (build once; use many times) is exactly the vision of the Office of Management and Budget's e-government initiatives.

For more information, contact Pat Cummens, Esri (tel.: 651-454-0600, ext. 8317; e-mail: pcummens@esri.com).

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