The Government shutdown is in it’s….well – what are we close to two weeks in…. The clients of NRGS are typically organizations struggling with data or organizations that need an answer. So I utilize a lot of NAIP, census data, and whatever is freely available. I was employed by the federal government during the first shutdown and I never ended up at home and work pretty much proceeded at a normal pace. This shutdown I’m a consultant working and I’m finding a constant theme for the last bit
Due to the lapse in government funding, (fill inÂ theÂ blank) sites, services, and all (fill in the blank requests) requests will be unavailable until further notice.
Call me crazy – but when I worked for the feds doing mapping work I considered it quite the job. I’m employed by the government in the ultimate truth telling adventure. You might even take that further into the “authoritative” tone of USGS/Census/Gov’t data. Data compiled by the Government is good – it should set the standard. Whether or not it actually does is another story – but I always end up on a Government site downloading freely available data to help clients.
A former boss of mine always believed in the National Map. A central spot to get all your Gov’t available data with appropriate metadata. Organizations have stepped up (ESRI – and thank you) but here’s my rant. Call the online data bullet proof and disaster proof because it’s backed up and replicated and housed in a secure bunker with 500 generators and the best of the best computers….Except Money… The National Map is non essential by definition now (Only web sites necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained.) …..it’s gone until funding comes back.
So to that end if it’s non essential put the data in the hands of a trust…a non profit that is funded and not a commercial company. A non profit not at the whim of the law makers. Open Source it all. Make it freely available. Because until it happens – GIS and all the associated data will be “unnecessary”. It’s necessary. I spent 16 years at the feds proving it was. I now can’t get data I need. I still think it’s vital to protect lives and property and I feel certain that in the event of a disaster it would “become available” because the people ultimately in charge would do the right thing…I hope.
I shouldn’t have to hope though. Neither should all the GIS people out here.
So is the National Map nonessential? No. It’s vital. It’s very essential.