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July 01, 2009

Due to a suspension of funding from the State, the Georgia Spatial Data Infrastructure (GaSDI) and the Georgia GIS Clearinghouse will be operating at a minimal level. The site will continue to be hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia as a courtesy, but there are no funds for site support at either school. Staff have been reassigned to other duties. We will attempt to answers questions and provide assistance during the last working day of every month and as time permits, so please be patient. It is our hope and desire that as the economy improves, funding will be returned to this statewide asset so that it can continue to serve the needs of the state.

Our nation relies on sound data to make sound decisions (e.g., In an emergency, where are all the roads, homes, businesses, shelters, gas stations, food sources, etc.? What are the evacuation routes?) . Data validity is significant, but the usefulness of data comes through its spatial component, to answers such questions about data as: “where?,” “what?,” “how many?,” “what patterns?,” etc.

The best data reside at a local level (e.g., the county Fire Departments know more about station locations, fleet availability, equipment, etc. than the US Government). Therefore, our national repository of spatial data, the NSDI, is built on a “feed” from the local level to the state level to the national level.

Most states have a State Spatial Data Infrastructure (SSDI) to supply the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) with local, regional and state datasets. Logically, Georgia’s SSDI is called the Georgia Spatial Data Infrastructure (GaSDI) and is represented via this online presence: http://www.georgiaspatial.org.

There are several components to The GaSDI (i.e., the GaSDI is an “umbrella” for): the coordination component, the data component and the information component. The coordination  component takes the form of the Georgia GIS Coordinating Committee. The data component is an online repository of over 30,000 geographic datasets via the Georgia GIS Clearinghouse (http://data.georgiaspatial.org). The information explaining the GaSDI history, activities, geospatial technologies and resources, etc. is this website: http://www.georgiaspatial.org.

The NSDI was established by President Clinton’s Executive Order 12906, signed in April 1994. The NSDI is defined as the “technology, policies, and people necessary to promote GeoSpatial data sharing throughout all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, and academia.” The term “infrastructure” is key to the understanding of GaSDI. Infrastructure is defined as the “underlying base or the basic facilities, equipment, services, and installations needed for the growth and functioning of a community or organization.” In the same manner that roads are vitally important to the State’s infrastructure, the data, systems, people, and institutional arrangements that comprise the GaSDI provide public and private organizations with the foundation for progress.

The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) is not only fed by the State Spatial Data Infrastructures, it is supported by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) via the Fifty States Initiative.

The GISCC was created in 1996 to lead and encourage continued development and use of the Georgia Spatial Data Infrastructure (GaSDI).

The Georgia GISCC’s vision is that all levels of government become highly effective and efficient through the coordination and use of geospatially-related data, standards and technologies. The GISCC’s mission is to be a valued advisor on sustainable geospatial governance, investments, policies and data-driven decisions influencing Georgia.

The Clearinghouse serves as the implementation arm of the GISCC and Georgia’s data/metadata feed to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI): http://gis.state.ga.us. The Clearinghouse serves over 30,000 geospatial assets through its web interface. The Clearinghouse has over 28,000 registered users at an average of approximately 400 new users per month (2009 stats).

The Clearinghouse disseminates the aforementioned basemap datasets and over 30,000 other geofiles through its online interface. Although the GISCC is a volunteer group, the Clearinghouse has been funded by the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) since 1999, managed through a contract with the Georgia Board of Regents. In the past, funding has been sufficient to support basic operations and 2.5 full-time employees; however, funding has dwindled over time to half this fiscal year with no promises of funding for FY10.

 “Nearly 28,000 active users
are registered
with the Clearinghouse.”

Each month, the Clearinghouse welcomes about 350 new users and 49,000 visitors. March 2008 yielded 272,284 hits. For reference, the top 5 datasets downloaded are as follows:


7.5 min Topographic Map (Digital Raster Graphics)


7.5 min National Wetlands Inventory (shapefile)


National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP)


Roads & Highways – Base Map

Infrared Aerial Photography

3.75 minute CIRM-SID