The District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has announced the launch of the DC Atlas, the District’s first and only standardized resource for mapping and location-based information. The DC Atlas is a Web-based suite of tools that works by pooling data from agencies across the District, acting as a central, easy-to-use source to find detailed, useful data for sophisticated planning and analysis. The DC Atlas is available for use by all District employees with Web access over the intranet.
Roughly 90 percent of the District’s data is geographically based; however, until the DC Atlas was created, each agency lacked a central repository of standardized GIS (Geographic Information System) data. The DC Atlas allows District employees to visualize the way data relates to a specific location, enabling them to more quickly and thoroughly perform needed analysis. The DC Atlas contains data and more than 100 detailed mapping layers categorized by themes such as administrative, education and recreation, planning and economic development, public safety, environmental, real property, socio-economic and demographic, and transportation.
Adam Rubinson, OCTO’s senior director of special projects, explained how the DC Atlas would benefit District citizens both directly and indirectly. “By placing better information at the fingertips of every District employee,” said Rubinson, “the District will be able to plan and deploy resources more efficiently, and thus offer better services to citizens.” Using the DC Atlas, virtually every District agency will find applications to assist them in their work, including crime analysis, urban planning, to the instant production of something as basic as quickly producing mailing labels to notify citizens of street work.
“The DC Atlas is a tool that will ultimately save District resources and benefit citizens in limitless ways, from improving services to District residents to enhancing homeland security efforts. By pointing, clicking and dragging, a great number of District employees will be able to perform sophisticated analysis in a fraction of the time it took just a few months ago,” Rubinson said. “The DC Atlas really puts the Mayor’s technology initiatives on the map.”