April 29, 2013
The Arkansas Geographic Information Office is pleased to announce that Seth LeMaster has joined the agency. Seth is filling the position previously occupied by Tony Davis. He is a member of the Arkansas Army National Guard and just recently finished a year deployment where he was the Geospatial Intelligence Lead for Special Operation Forces in Western Afghanistan. In this position he produced thousands of topographic and imagery products. Afghanistan is physically five times larger than Arkansas and LeMaster managed over 10TB of vector, raster, imagery, and elevation data. He was frequently called upon to brief and train higher officials on the capabilities and intelligence value of GIS. He also worked side-by-side with members of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency as well as other government agencies. LeMaster’s role required him to exploit a variety of topographic and imagery GIS programs to include ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine, SOCET GXP, and Quick Terrain Modeler. Through his experiences, Seth brings a vast amount of knowledge and motivation to expand and build upon the capabilities of AGIO and data access through GeoStor.
“Seth is going to be a real asset in our state. His unique blend of experience already matches much of what AGIO does. We manage a large collection of data, expose it to users and assist decision makers, and he’s been doing the same work in just a different environment. Our constituents will enjoy getting to know him and I’m confident they’ll agree his personality is the right touch as he helps lead the state GIS activities at the AGIO,” said Shelby Johnson, State Geographic Information Officer.
Seth is a native Arkansan from Little Rock. He holds a degree from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and he and his wife currently reside in Little Rock.
April 8, 2013
Last year we shared the exciting news about this project and the team here at AGIO is in full bore quality control mode.
Between the two contractors Smart Data Strategies and Schneider Corporation. we just received 135,326 more parcels in the participating counties. The contractors now will move into the final stage of the project where they pull in and digitize information using the details described in the deeds. This phase is slated for six months and AGIO anticipates it will be the toughest part of the work yet.
When complete the data will be put to heavy use by the County Assessors in their office and it will also be published in GeoStor and accessible to the public.
January 8, 2013
U.S. Census Bureau, Arkansas Geographic Information Office and the Arkansas GIS Users Forum announce boundary training workshop coming to Arkansas
The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) annually to collect legal boundary information, government status, and names for incorporated places, minor civil divisions (MCD), counties, states, and American Indian areas. The Census Bureau uses the boundary information collected in the BAS to tabulate population data for the decennial and economic censuses as well as annual estimates and surveys such as the Population Estimates Program and the American Community Survey.
In preparation for the 2013 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS), the Census Bureau is conducting BAS workshops in select cities including Little Rock. The workshop will provide an overview of the 2013 BAS, an explanation of geographic concepts and boundaries used by the Census Bureau, and demonstrations for creating a digital and paper response for completing the BAS.
WHAT: 2013 BAS Workshops
WHEN & WHERE:
Please refer to the list of BAS workshops at: http://www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/pdfs/bas/2013_BAS_Workshop_Schedule.pdf
LUNCH: Lunch provided onsite jointly sponsored by Arkansas GIS Users Forum and the Arkansas Geographic Information Office.
An agenda and other location specific information will be emailed to registered attendees at least a week prior to the workshop.
You may register for BAS workshop online at: http://www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/bas/bas_workshop_reg.html
The Annual Response notification (http://www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/bas/bas_ar.html) was sent to each BAS contact in December. If you need to access the Annual Response Form please use username = bas; password = basforms.
If you have not already replied to Annual Response, you may request 2013 BAS materials or report no boundary changes at http://www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/bas/bas_ar_form.html. Additional information on the BAS and the upcoming workshops can be found on the BAS homepage at: http://www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/bas.html
If you have any questions about the BAS or the upcoming workshops, please contact the BAS team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 1-800-972-5651.
September 18, 2012
I was recently asked to share some insight on the success of YOUR county road centerline program. One of the first things that came to mind was our constant interaction with the counties who create and share this data with the state.
Here’s a quick look at the travel to counties in September.
A quick look at coordination dates and travel to work with County constituents.
This is not a particularly heavy travel month to counties because at the end of the month three AGIO staffers will attend the County Judges meeting.
The one on one time with counties has been very important to gain cooperation and improve coordination. It leads to an understanding from the counties that we are not trying to sell them something or that we are not trying to take over something. They soon get the idea that we are trying to help and then they help us by sharing back the data.
Our program could be better because there’s always room for improvement, but one thing we do very well is face time. Part of what helps that situation is actually geography. Little Rock is basically in the center of the state. With a two hour drive AGIO can reach just about every county in the state. We’d like to think YOUR program is successful because we are there coordinating with YOU.
July 24, 2012
A long time ago we had a big dream. The dream was that someday our state would be able to assemble a statewide parcel map produced by the counties and then published for decision makers.
Today we are a step closer to realizing that dream. The parcel polygon file will be updated on GeoStor today reaches a major milestone, exceeding 1 million parcels. The list below has details.
Total Count: 1,034,008
38 Counties On GeoStor
25 counties updated
13. Hot Spring
16. Little River
24. Van Buren
5 new counties published for the first time:
And for more good news, the parcel mapping partnership between the state and 22 more counties is kicking into high gear and by this time next year we will be even closer to statewide coverage.
Just want to say thanks to each of you for starting this dream and believing it will come true.
April 27, 2012
One million physical address records have been digitally mapped and processed through the official State of Arkansas’ Master Address Program (AMAP). This project was started by the Arkansas Geographic Information Office (AGIO), in 2009, under the direction and authority of the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. Though presently incomplete, the data are distributed at no fee via the State’s GIS platform known as GeoStor. This file contains address points for 37 counties. The remaining 38 are expected to be included in the system by 2014 (final record count should be about 1.4 million).
The AMAP records are being constructed as geographic information system features and, at its core, is the statewide Enhanced 9-1-1 system data. This includes road centerlines and correlated address points positioned over highly accurate aerial photography. The original mapping and maintenance tasks are performed at the county and city level by 9-1-1 coordinators or other local government staff, then passed to the AGIO for scrubbing, standardization, and publication. The project is a collaborative effort between the Arkansas Geographic Information Office, the Connect Arkansas (a non-profit broadband research organization), and local government agencies in all 75 counties. Prior to the online system, geographically referenced roads and addresses existed in only a few metropolitan areas. With the new AMAP database, anyone doing business with the state of Arkansas can take advantage of either the mapped points or download a table of addresses for any given area of the state. The system will eventually allow state agencies to access accurate address records directly, as part of their normal business processes; thereby, enhancing their ability to deliver services, while eliminating waste and redundant tasks.
One example of the many ways the AMAP is benefiting state and local governments is by insuring accurate point-of-sale tax collection and distribution. Officially known as the Streamline Sales Tax Database, this program is run by the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) and heavily leverages the accuracy of the information within AMAP. “By comparing our point-of-sale transactions (locations) against AMAP, we have been able to greatly improve the accuracy of our reimbursements to local taxing authorities and are experiencing major reductions in incorrect tax rate charges (due to its geographic accuracy),” said Beau Crawford, GIS Analyst for DFA.
The national next generation of E9-1-1 also known as NextGen 9-1-1 will be driven by internet protocols instead of traditional telephone systems. The NextGen 9-1-1 system has to be built to accommodate the explosive growth of smart mobile devices that can send text, photos, videos and location coordinates. The underlying architecture relies on the system’s ability to execute location functions that aid dispatchers in finding emergencies. The building block to enabling this new system in Arkansas counties will be the availability of the coordinate location of existing address data. Having the address coordinates already mapped will mean the system can locate calls quickly and more accurately than ever before. This address coordinate database will help save lives.
AMAP is the framework dataset that will allow open access to a single, standardized, and highly accurate physical address listing. We all have and use physical addresses: from getting a fireman to our door in an emergency – to getting an on-line order delivered to our home or business. This is one of the ways AGIO continues to “Put Arkansas on the Map”.
April 11, 2012
For the first time in history, County Justice of Peace (JP) Districts were originated digitally using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Arkansas. The statewide map of JP districts (large format file link) is the result of nearly two years of planning by state and local officials.
Coordination delivers first of its kind all digital JP map.
In a 2010 news article the Arkansas Geographic Information Office (AGIO) announced a local redistricting contract specification was available to assist counties in the JP redistricting process. The US Census released the 2010 population and block data to state and local officials in February, 2011. That data was released in a GIS format and allowed the real redistricting work to begin.
In this day and age, using paper maps was simply an outdated method for redistricting. The goal was that counties undertake an all digital redistricting process. Everyone involved wanted every district in every county born digital.
The collective effort included many contributors. County Clerks, Election Commissioners, and Election Coordinators at the local level all pitched in to help. On the State level, the Secretary of State office did a lot of heavy lifting. Some counties chose to the complete the work in-house using county GIS staff under the direction of the Election Commission. Others chose to contract the work to GIS consultants. A good number of counties chose to work with the redistricting staff in the Secretary of State office. Together they used the AutoBound GIS software that was used by the State Board of Apportionment. Once each county completed their JP redistricting plans they were required to file the adopted plans with the Secretary of State. Staff from the Secretary of State office received the legal filing of the districts and then coordinated with each county to collect the digital map. When the entire state was collected the data was sent to the AGIO where staff began assembling them into a seamless statewide map. The entire process from start to finish took just over a year.
The completed map represents 789 unique JP districts in the 75 counties. The odd figure stems from the state law governing the number of districts in each county. Arkansas Code 14-14-402 sets the number of districts by the county’s total population. Less populated counties have nine districts while the most populated has fifteen. The new districts take effect the next election cycle and the maps show incumbents or prospective candidates where the district lies and how it relates to the rest of the county. Once elected the map will show them the layout of their peer districts just across the county line.
The next steps will involve making the statewide JP districts available to the Census Bureau to be incorporated into the 2020 edition of Census block file. Although most counties are not ready to look ahead, the digital record will aid them in 2021 when they undertake the redistricting process again following the 2020 Census.
GIS users wishing to access the JP District data can locate it here on GeoStor.
March 14, 2012
Everyone in this day and age should understand the need for broadband communications. Maps are now playing a big role toward helping policy makers solve the access challenge. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced plans to provide support for eligible carriers using something called the Mobility Fund. They produced a nationwide map of eligible areas linked here. The overall goal is to improve 3G or better mobile coverage using an FCC auction process. Auction 901 will offer up to $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund Phase I support to carriers that commit to provide 3G or better mobile voice and broadband services in areas where such services are unavailable. A winning bidder will be required either to deploy services meeting the Commission’s requirements for 3G service within two years or 4G service within three years after the date on which it is authorized to receive support, and will be subject to other obligations, including coverage and voice and data roaming requirements.
Here at the AGIO we have the occasional moment to conduct a little analysis here or there and so we downloaded the Mobility Fund areas from the FCC to see what the data revealed in Arkansas. As luck would have it there are several areas in the state that are eligible. We wanted to know what areas might be the most profitable based on a population density. Since these areas in Arkansas are predominantly rural we chose the Address Point file as an overlay and then ran a density analysis. The results show the strongest eligible density in southeast Madison County.
Darkest areas may be the best potential.
You should be saying this map looks wrong. And, you’d be right. The map is wrong, or at least incomplete. The density analytic was based only on address points. You can see large eligibility areas in Polk County with zero density. You could look at this problem using Census Blocks and population data but a telecommunication business may need more detail from the numbers when deciding where and how to locate their equipment. They might also like to examine this using tax parcel data.
What’s the point of this article? Decision makers like stock car racers will run with what they’ve got. In the case of business decision making about broadband they might choose to bid on southeast Madison County. Based on the data available it shows that area might have the best potential for more customers. Arkansas has a solid reputation for making its data public. The counties not shaded in the eligibility analysis have not finished creating their address point data yet. We’ll get it publish when they do. Let’s all work together to continue our state’s competitive position by making our GIS data accessible. Let’s not learn the hard lesson some other places have learned who kept their GIS data behind a locked door.
NOTE: You REALLY should not use this map to make a business decision. But maybe you should?
Full disclosure: Our Director is from Madison County, he’s biased. We thought you should know.
February 28, 2012
Our last update on parcel mapping program listed the counties, their match rates and the cost to get them included in the project. The post was written to encourage GIS stakeholders in Arkansas to support and advocate for this project. Well…. good on you!
As of this date we are now awaiting matching funds from Calhoun County. Their Quorum Court approved the item at their meeting last night and they have communicated the “proverbial check is in the mail.”
Out of the entire list of program participants there are five counties that elected to not participate. Their choices are reasonable. Howard, Jackson and Sebastian continued their mapping work in-house even after they applied for the program. For that time in between the program application and now they’ve nearly finished parcel mapping in their county and decided they would rather finish in-house on their own. Pulaski County’s application was intended to update existing parcel spatial alignment but their multi-feature data model would require alignment on all the complex features they maintain. We conferred with them and they determined it would be wise to defer to a subsequent application.
That leaves Newton County on the list of applicants who regretfully wrote in their response letter; they lacked the funding to participate at this time.
So what’s the big news? This map here is about to get a lot more blue.
Parcel Map Data Published on GeoStor
AGIO is now moving forward with executing the purchase orders on the counties that have raised their match. This parcel mapping project is now almost at GO!