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ArcWatch: Your e-Magazine for GIS News, Views, and Insights

April 2009

Governor Martin O'Malley Unveils the New MD iMap: One Maryland, One Map

GIS Helps Maryland Improve Transparency and Accountability in Government

By Emily Vines, Esri Writer

President Barack Obama recently hailed the performance management systems in government put in place by Governors Tim Kaine of Virginia and Martin O'Malley of Maryland.

  photo of Governor O'Malley
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is the driving force behind MD iMap.

"Instead of passing the buck on accountability and efficiency, governors like Martin O'Malley and Governor Kaine have revolutionized performance management systems, showing the American people precisely how their governments are working for them," Obama said in remarks at the National Governors Association gathering at the White House in February.

In Maryland, O'Malley is using GIS technology to accomplish these goals.

Since taking office in 2007, the innovative O'Malley has initiated powerful GIS-based performance measurement applications to improve operations and communication with the public. The latest: MD iMap, which embodies O'Malley's vision of one Maryland, one map. It is the portal to the state's enterprise GIS and provides seamless, geocoded, statewide centerlines and six-inch imagery. The vision for the project, as stated on its Web site (www.mdimap.com/imap), says it uses the best available data and tools for government and the public to assess state, local, and municipal government performance.

Similar GIS-based performance measurement applications O'Malley introduced as governor include StateStat, BayStat, and GreenPrint. MD iMap provides an authoritative online basemap of Maryland and supports the other programs.

Data-Based Decision Making

As Baltimore's mayor from 1999 to 2007, O'Malley launched the successful GIS-based performance accountability program CitiStat. With the clear picture of city government performance that CitiStat provides, leaders could more strategically plan budgets and manage projects. This data-driven system led to a 40 percent reduction in violent crime by the time O'Malley left office.

Other CitiStat successes included the following:

StateStat (www.statestat.maryland.gov) is built on the same principle of examining accurate and timely data to assess and improve government performance. State agency representatives meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly with the governor's senior staff to discuss the agency's performance. Often, the governor attends these meetings.

"The overall benefit for staff and the public is that StateStat makes government work and holds people accountable," says Beth Blauer, director of StateStat. "A strong awareness of evolving business practices happens in the process, so we are well versed in the business of a given agency. Since we know where its deficits and strengths are, we can quickly and adeptly reallocate resources, redefine missions, and adjust strategies and tactics to make the government work as efficiently as possible."

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Via the MD iMap Viewer, visitors can access State Highway Administration fuel consumption data. Here, the pie charts show statewide fuel consumption and fuel expenditures for November 2008.

The 14 agencies that participate in StateStat include the Maryland State Police and the Departments of Agriculture; Business and Economic Development; Environment; General Services; Health and Mental Hygiene; Housing and Community Development; Human Resources; Juvenile Services; Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; Natural Resources (DNR); Planning; Public Safety and Correctional Services; and Transportation (DOT).

Before the meetings, agencies must update their data and deliver it to the governor's office. At the meeting, the governor's staff addresses particular aspects of the data based on their concerns or questions. The data and maps support conversations that range from operational expenses, such as overtime and fleet costs, to agency-specific questions. In the public safety sector, questions might include the following: What is the average length of juvenile stays in a detention center? How many facilities are serving youths in a community? How quickly are we turning around arrest warrants? and, How are we supporting public safety initiatives? Labor-related questions might be, How are we addressing unemployment? How well are we connecting people with jobs? and, Are we connecting enough people with apprenticeships?

"The data drives the entire discussion, and the discussion is framed by the maps, charts, and graphs, which get projected throughout the meeting," Blauer said. The data—along with some of the maps, charts, and graphs—is then posted on the StateStat Web site for the public.

A recovery section has recently been added to the site with an ArcGIS Server software-based map to show how money from the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be spent. The data is accessible from the StateStat site and uses the MD iMap basemap (www.statestat.maryland.gov/). Currently, highway infrastructure, mass transit, public safety, health care, housing, workforce, and education data is available. Soon, the StateStat home page will feature an interactive map that will allow visitors to access more StateStat data and statistics.

BayStat and GreenPrint

After implementing StateStat, the governor's staff saw a need for BayStat (www.baystat.maryland.gov). BayStat is an accountability program that allows stakeholders and the public to assess information about Chesapeake Bay restoration projects. Representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources, and Planning attend the meetings along with University of Maryland scientists.

Topics discussed at BayStat meetings include targeting property that can be purchased to support Program Open Space, and deploying oyster cages in the bay to improve water filtration. Program Open Space is a long-running DNR initiative aimed at planning for, acquiring, and/or developing recreational land or open spaces in Maryland. This land-based effort improves the bay's health by mitigating factors such as runoff.

Launching GreenPrint (www.greenprint.maryland.gov) was a natural next step in measuring performance related to land conservation and sustainable growth. GreenPrint grew out of the BayStat initiative. It is a planning tool designed to help government staff, conservation organizations, and citizens make good decisions about these issues. The goal: Protect targeted ecological areas, which are lands and watersheds considered of great ecological value that DNR has identified as conservation priorities.

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In StateStat's Maryland Recovery & Reinvestment Stimulus Tracking Map, visitors can find information about the state's investments in highway infrastructure, mass transit, public safety, health care, housing, the workforce, and education. Here, education statistics for St. Mary's County show fiscal year 2010 information and Recovery Enabled Enhancement Details.

GreenPrint is the first of the state's performance accountability applications to be available through MD iMap. Via MD iMap, visitors can see county- and statewide statistics such as those for land conservation inside and outside targeted ecological areas. GreenPrint was developed with Esri's ArcGIS Server and provides layers of information such as protected and unprotected targeted ecological areas and agricultural land preservation foundation acquisitions. Eventually, all the state's performance accountability applications will be accessible on MD iMap.

One Maryland, One Map

On the MD iMap home page, visitors can access statistics via the map on parcels, priority conservation areas, Program Open Space, protected and unprotected targeted ecological areas, protected lands outside targeted ecological areas, the Rural Legacy Program, and highway beautification.

Visitors can also launch the viewer from the MD iMap home page to access more data. The MD iMap viewer houses information such as fuel consumption of all the State Highway Administration's fleets and equipment—pie charts break down biodiesel, petrodiesel, E10 gas (or gasohol, a mix of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline), and unleaded gas consumption. Another link in the viewer's toolbox brings up storm water management data, by county or statewide. The StateStat team has begun using MD iMap during the group's meetings to spur discussions. Eventually, it will be used during all StateStat and BayStat/GreenPrint meetings as the framework for addressing issues and concerns with each agency.

"StateStat meetings encourage us to continuously improve our work," says Gregory Slater, director of planning for DOT's State Highway Administration. "Using GIS as the foundation not only enhances accountability but also allows us to share our successes with the public and helps us realize the direction we need to take to move forward."

To further support state and local government staff in Maryland, a secure agency login on the MD iMap home page connects them to Maryland GIS Online, which is built with ArcGIS Online. On that site, staff can download data and Web services from other government entities in the state. This functionality will significantly enhance data sharing and coordination among state agencies and local governments.

As MD iMap grows and local governments upload more data and services to the portal, it will become an indispensable tool for the state's government staff and citizens. MD iMap will become an essential place for agencies and governments to collaborate and coordinate projects and programs. The portal will also support transparency and accountability and enhance citizens' knowledge of how well the government is operating and serving them.

For more information, contact Beth Blauer, director of StateStat, at bblauer@gov.state.md.us.

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