Towson University Receives Federal Grants to Enhance Geospatial Data Infrastructure

Center for GIS will strengthen Maryland’s statewide geospatial data inventory and assess the potential for hosting the state’s basemap and services in the Cloud
April 12, 2012 -- TOWSON, Md. – The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) has awarded Towson University’s Center for GIS (CGIS) two National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) cooperative agreement grants. The grants are intended to enhance the accessibility and delivery of geospatial data and services in Maryland. CGIS has been helping government, businesses, and non-profits gain cost-effective access to geographic information systems technology, more commonly known as GIS, since the early 1990s.
“The NSDI grants recognize our ability to build partnerships that improve the state’s delivery of geospatial resources to its citizens and reinforces our commitment to enhancing the well-being of our state and our region,” said Dyan Brasington, TU Vice President, Economic and Community Outreach.
Partnering with the Maryland State Geographic Information Committee (MSGIC) and the State Geographic Information Officer, CGIS will work with state and local government to populate the national GIS inventory system known as Ramona with FGDC-compliant metadata for nationally significant geospatial data themes such as transportation and utilities. CGIS will also conduct a formal campaign to encourage more government entities to inventory their unrestricted geospatial data and services.
Additionally, CGIS will work with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR), the agency that maintains the state’s 6-inch imagery, to assess the potential benefits of hosting the state’s basemap in Amazon’s Cloud. The project will compare and measure usability, performance, scalability, and cost between the Cloud and the state’s current MD iMap hosting environment. Performance will be tested by utilizing web stress tools and by enabling real-world use of the system for mobile applications. MD iMap is Maryland’s public-facing enterprise GIS infrastructure for providing mapping applications, products, and services online that assist citizens and government employees with managing and presenting data linked to a location.
“Both projects address the need for jurisdictions to quickly find accurate geographic information for daily operations and for emergency events, and they align with FGDC’s geospatial line of business goals to optimize and consolidate Federal geospatial investments by reducing costs and improving services to citizens,” said Mark Helmken, CGIS director.
Since 1999, CGIS has completed nine FGDC-NSDI funded projects.
FGDC is an interagency committee that promotes geospatial data technology, best practices, and coordination on a national basis. FGDC activities are hosted by the National Geospatial Programs Office of the United States Geological Survey. NSDI is a physical, organizational, and virtual network designed to achieve cost-effective production, ready availability, and greater utilization of geospatial data across many disciplines.
More information about NSDI cooperative agreement activities and grants can be found at or by contacting Brigitta Urban-Mathieux, NSDI CAP Coordinator, at 703-648-5175 or at Email Contact.
More information about MD iMap can be found at
To view the Ramona GIS Inventory system, visit   
To learn more about DECO and CGIS, visit       


Gay Pinder
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