Public:Private Partnerships Improve the Application of Geographic Information in Decision-Making

Authors: Charles Hobart Perry*, USDA Forest Service, Christopher Oswalt, USDA Forest Service, James Garner, USDA Forest Service, David Bell, USDA Forest Service, Charles Werstak, USDA Forest Service, Ty Wilson, USDA Forest Service
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Natural Resources, Planning Geography
Keywords: Environmental GIScience, Sustainability, Natural Resources Policy, Environmental Health, Human Impacts on the Environment,
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


The USDA Forest Service has been keeping the pulse of the nation’s forests for 90 years through its Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program. FIA is enhancing science-based management, sustainable economic development, and public engagement through novel public-private partnerships including the Forest Service CIO (Geospatial Services Branch) and Esri. The resulting Big Data Mapping and Analytics Platform (BIGMAP) enables the conversion of complex, point-level observations into authoritative national maps that are distributed through internal, commercial, and open data portals. BIGMAP aligns with Federal Cloud-First policy, integrating secure cloud computing into FIA workflows. This transforms how FIA stores, analyzes, and shares information and knowledge about the status and trends of the Nation’s forest resources. Prototype applications have broadened the agency's impact demonstrably. Highlighted examples include: (1) Forests in Focus is a tool being developed collaboratively by the Forest Service, the American Forest Foundation, GreenBlue, and Esri. It supports decision-making, investments, and sustainable economic development across the forests managed by the Nation’s small private landowners. (2) State Forest Action Plans are required from each of the States, and the application of FIA data ensures greater accuracy and consistency across all states, districts, commonwealths, territories and free associates of the United States. (3) The National Forest System is collaborating with FIA to obtain maps, data, and web applications facilitating an adaptive land management planning process that is efficient, collaborative, and science-based as envisioned by the 2012 Planning Rule. BIGMAP supports contextual analyses comparing lands managed by the agency with those of its neighbors.

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