The EPA Wants its Workforce to Think with Maps

By Scott Ball
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), responsible for protecting human health and the environment, has enabled 15,000+ staff members access to mapping tools. With this technology, EPA workers can create maps right from the data they have stored in Microsoft Excel. These maps serve as powerful tools for communication that can be shared with colleagues and embedded Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
“Imagine if you could take a spreadsheet that contains a list of Brownfield sites and their street addresses and with the click of a button, turn it into an interactive map that could be used in reports, presentations and websites. ArcGIS Maps for Office enables users to take geographical data from an Excel spreadsheet and create a map to more easily communicate the message behind data.”  Ann Dunkin, Chief Information Officer
Maps have long been lauded as a great way to tell a story, share insights, and support the decision making process. In fact, the EPA has used mapping technology for more than three decades to support agency initiatives across the country. The deployment of easy to use mapping tools enables individuals without traditional GIS training the ability to discover, use, make and share maps.
“We are the first Federal agency to make this powerful tool available to all employees. ArcGIS Maps for Office is not just for geospatial professionals. Users with basic skills in Excel and PowerPoint can work with Maps for Office.” – Ann Dunkin, Chief Information Officer
The culture of any organization is the fabric of success, GIS as a whole is only as successful as the community that supports it. Deploying tools such as ArcGIS Maps for Office helps EPA continue to foster an internal community of location-aware staff, working together to protect human health and the environment across the nation.

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