27 January 2017

Federal GIS Data in Jeopardy

Posted by John Freeland

How safe is Federal GIS data? Thursday, I ran across this article on a Reddit GIS forum and felt troubled by it. What is the motivation behind this legislation, House Bill HR482 and Senate Bill S103?

From Section 3 of each bill:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.”

What other Federal data are in line to be hidden or eliminated? For now we have the National Wetland Inventory that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been building for some forty years. Will that disappear?

Or will we see a “National Wetland Alternative Inventory?”

It appears the scientific community needs to keep a close watch on Federal data sources and be prepared to protect them.