Geospatial Data Collaboration (GDC) is a new initiative for geospatial data-sharing sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The initiative encourages transportation agencies to use geospatial tools to share data, increase collaboration, and improve the quality and speed of transportation decision-making. GDC is one element of FHWA's Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative, which is aimed at producing innovations, resources, and partnerships to shorten project delivery, enhance safety, and protect the environment. EDC and GDC also leverage other ongoing FHWA efforts such as Planning and Environment Linkages (PEL) and Eco-Logical. Taken together, all of these efforts are helping transportation stakeholders work together and with others to result in smarter, faster decision-making and better transportation projects.
Three Focus Areas
Geospatial Data Collaboration is concerned with three specific areas that are the essence of the initiative. Each of the areas is interrelated, and there is no order to their implementation. More information about these areas are in the links below:
Benefits of Geospatial Tools
Use of geospatial tools to support collaboration and decision-making can lead to several benefits:
- Sharing data and consistency. Geospatial tools can deliver a common data view to agencies, process partners and stakeholders. This supports cross-referencing data from different sources, which facilitates communications, decision-making, and scheduling.
- Fostering collaboration. Geospatial tools can demonstrate the value of data-sharing to potential partners, helping to build collaborative relationships.
- Focusing the use of resources and potential savings. Geospatial tools can shift staff workflows to promote more efficient use of resources. Staff can focus more on content and accessibility rather than on internally developing and supporting Web applications. This can lead to potential savings from spending less on Information Technology (IT) resources and infrastructure and refocusing those resources elsewhere.
- Providing data accessibility. Geospatial tools can make data accessible on demand from a variety of platforms, improving user accessibility to information.
Many State DOTs and other transportation agencies have recognized the potential of geospatial tools and have the necessary systems and resources in place to deploy these tools.