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US state launches geospatial portal

US: The Washington State Department of Information Services in the US launched the Washington State Geospatial Portal — a source for maps, interactive mapping applications and geographic data hosted on government websites. The information for Google and Bing maps often comes from government map data — and with this launch, the state is making the process easier for everyone to find the data.

Whereas people used to have to search through multiple state government agency websites to find map data, the information is now in a single place. Through the Geospatial Portal, users can download data to view in other map programs, like Google Earth or Bing Maps. They can access interactive mapping applications, featuring the ability to select and zoom areas, choose layers and print. Interactive maps included on the site show information such as broadband speeds, sales tax rates and comparisons of legislative districts.

Users can also view or download maps showing a variety of information, including county population densities, tsunami and flood hazard areas, or soils and farming data.

The site’s creators also plan to include links to maps and data held by cities and counties in Washington. Local governments can help expand the site by sending a link to their online maps and data files to state GIS Coordinator Joy Paulus at [email protected]

Meanwhile, it is pertinent to mention here that many of the US Government’s open government initiatives are set to be turned off by May 31, 2011.

Source: The Issaquah Press