Free, Fast, and Accurate: NC's Open Data Lets You Have All Three


North Carolina's geospatial community and state as a whole has greatly benefitted from having a culture of free and simple access to a large amount of local and state data, thanks to a lot of hard work and collaboration on a number of initiatives.

The cohesion for all of these initiatives comes from NC OneMap and the North Carolina Geographic Information Coordinating Council (NCGICC) and its subcommittees. The public face of NC OneMap is an online portal to download or stream a wide array of state and local data from many partners. We will present the impetus for NC OneMap and its role in serving public and private data consumers.

Additionally, in 2007, an NCGICC stakeholder committee produced a report titled, "Ten Recommendations for Geospatial Data Sharing" that outlined common sense open data practices. Our presentation will discuss these recommendations, and how they have been broadly adopted and have helped to reduce data access barriers.

In 2010, the NC 911 Board funded acquisition of statewide digital orthoimagery, primarily to serve emergency communications, but also to benefit many other base mapping needs. As a result, the entire state was flown in 2010; and, in each year since 2012, 25% of the state's counties have been subsequently acquired. This effort features easy data access through NC OneMap in formats including Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS).

Finally, one of our most impressive accomplishments reached full implementation last year: a statewide standardized dataset of property boundaries, also called "NC Parcels” or “Seamless Parcels." Led by the Working Group for Seamless Parcels, managed by CGIA, and initially funded by an Exchange Network grant by the US EPA, the collaborative effort resulted in standard parcel records in geospatial format from source data supplied by all 100 counties. The Carbon Project, Inc. hosts the online Parcel Transformer and produces a Web Feature Service (WFS) for the Exchange Network compliant with OGC specifications. In addition, NC OneMap provides free public access to downloadable files and services, including OGC compliant WMS and WFS formats.

Meanwhile, a growing number of county and municipal governments are providing free download access to GIS data. A list of web map and download links from the NC State Libraries' website is one of the Libraries' most hit pages, and provides a quick gateway for data consumers to access local services.

By every measure, North Carolina offers a strong example of the advantages, cost savings, and increased productivity achieved by providing free and open GIS data and services.

Jeff Brown, Coordination Program Manager, NC Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
Jeff Essic, Data Services Librarian, North Carolina State University, D.H. Hill Library, Research & Information Services

Schedule info
Session Time Slot(s):
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 17:00 to 17:15