Resource Ramblings 2004-04
This issue of Resource Ramblings is entirely dedicated to an overview of our GIS program, in particular the structure of our data and how it can be accessed.
This is a brief review of our present situation with GIS at Wind Cave and the direction we're heading. It is common for the use of GIS to begin with a single project or department and gradually expand to the rest of the 'business'. Managing and maintaining the GIS database in a single department is relatively straightforward because there is one owner of the data. There is an inherent control in this situation over both access to and maintenance of the database.
However, most organizations eventually move toward an "enterprise GIS", making GIS data available to users in all departments, or to everyone "throughout the enterprise". This is the current situation here at Wind Cave.
It is fair to say that our data has a bit of history. Relations between agencies or even between countries, are usually the product of particular historical circumstances, which may define current relations even though the circumstances have long since passed. The result of this can be abnormal relations or even dysfunctional relations. History and circumstance often have the same effect on data—on how it is collected, organized, and reported. And data, too, can become abnormal and dysfunctional.
A process has been underway since early in 2003 of analyzing our digital data and determining the best structure to implement an enterprise GIS. This analysis process has incorporated draft NPS standards, existing filing structures and historical data. The result is a filing structure allowing easy access to GIS related data for Wind Cave as well as neighboring parks. Knowing why and how the data gets broken apart and segregated is essential to understanding the data structure, and this structure is essential to building an application that will support the business of the park for a long time, without requiring extraordinary support (you won't need to find the 'gis guy'). The goal here is to help the 'business' run more successfully.
"Give employees control over their information, and intuitive, straightforward access to it, and they will respond gratefully and be able to improve productivity. Remove the control to a remote group, cloud the information in codes and user-hostile interfaces, and they will be unhappy and less productive."
Following this philosophy our data structure is outlined on the attached page, the system should be fairly intuitive, allowing you to ability to find the data that you're looking for.
To connect to the data, map the J: drive to Library on INPWICA20089239 (W-gis) over the network:
Comments and feedback about Resource Ramblings are encouraged and can be made to Dan Foster, in person, or via email.
Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.