How does a venerable institution like the Library of Congress develop standards for archiving and preserving digital mapping data? By asking those professionals who work with it on a daily basis.
“Kentucky officials invited two local agencies—NKAPC’s LinkGIS and Louisville Metro’s LOJIC—to assist them in their recommendations to the feds,” said Trisha Brush, GISP, NKAPC’s deputy director for GIS administration. “State archivists and GIS professionals from North Carolina and Utah are also participating in this national program.”
Brush says that her staff’s effort to archive these data over the past several years is part of the reason they were asked to participate in the effort.
“The state was aware that we had taken it upon ourselves to archive our data,” she said. “This critical information is at risk of being overwritten when updates or changes are made. Once it’s gone, these data are unavailable for future use and analysis.”
So far, Kentucky’s collaborative effort is working to set geospatial standards for the rest of the state. Among other things, they will decide what local governments and their constituents want archived and what conditions should be applied to the specific layers. The project is titled Geo-MAPP (Geospatial Multistate Archive and Preservation Partnership).
“The Library of Congress is pursuing this project for several reasons,” said Brush. “Public records need to be preserved for legal, fiscal, analytical, and historical value. The Library’s staff has come to recognize that these GIS data are important and need to be archived and preserved.
“GIS data represent a model of our world at specific points in time. We lose a lot when these files are overwritten or deleted.”
Brush says she and her team are excited to assist with this important process.
“We aren’t just doing this for our own benefit, but for all those who hopefully will benefit from it in the future,” she concluded.