BTS Challenges GIS Community

BTS Challenges GIS Community

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Bureau of Transportation Statistics Director, Ashish Sen, has challenged the Geographic Information System (GIS) community to expedite the application of their technology to transportation by putting aside barriers and working together.

“We need to identify where different modes and different levels of government have common issues. Then, we need to identify possible solutions and opportunities for coordination and cooperation. Finally, we must have a means to implement these plans,” Director Sen said. “If we are going to reach compatibility, we must communicate, cooperate, and coordinate.”

Director Sen offered the challenge in two speeches to conferences on Multimodal Transportation Requirements for Spatial Information Infrastructure. The sessions, sponsored by BTS and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), brought transportation leaders from around the country together. They were held in Chicago in May and in Seattle in June.

The Director noted that GIS has tremendous potential. “By linking GIS with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and satellite imagery, we can track traffic flows over transportation networks in real-time. That link can lead to breakthroughs in traffic management and infrastructure planning,” he said.

“By organizing vast amounts of information into coherent pictures, geospatial data and GIS give us the power to discover emerging problems and devise solutions far more readily than with traditional analytical methods,” he added.

BTS is the lead agency within the Department of Transportation for GIS. BTS also has the lead role in meeting the Office of Management and Budget’s mandate to complete standards for the transportation layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure by the end of the year. The Geospatial One-Stop is one of 24 e-government initiatives selected by the President’s Management Council for special focus and accelerated development.

Through the Geospatial One-Stop, BTS will provide access to Federal transportation geospatial data through a single access point and make state and local transportation geospatial data more accessible.

Geospatial data available through the web portal will support all spatial data customers. Core standards will provide a common, consistent format for geospatial data — core attributes will be the same no matter what geographic area the data represent. Sharing the data will save money for all parties by providing an easier means for partnership opportunities.