Metadata is important. Metadata is useful. Metadata is a pain in the butt. Metadata presents a special challenge to highly productive, publicly accountable, decision-driven organizations such as state and local governments. The fiscal restrictions and high demand placed on these data shops require maximum efficiency and effectiveness. As such, the operational focus is on the production, validation, and distribution of data with little time available to document data in a standardized and robust manner.
Groups within government enterprises face many obstacles in accessing and sharing data and services between teams and workgroups, including proprietary APIs, silo’d sources, lack of support for bringing external data stores in-house, cross-dataset search, and configurable alerting.
Furthermore, in 2016, a solution to these problems should be deployable by engineers within the team (as opposed to requiring enterprise-level rollouts), available via a simple and direct API for developers on the team, and native to the cloud for scalable performance and size.
NPMap builds tools and services to help national parks create beautiful digital maps. We use the OpenStreetMap model to create a dynamic cartographic database used to power custom National Park Service basemaps.
Our current technology backend is a PostGIS database in the OpenStreetMap schema. We use commercially supported FOSS tools from CartoDB and Mapbox to publish map products that combine official NPS data inside parks and OSM data outside of parks.