Geospatial Data Collaboration (GDC) Collaborative Data Libraries

What is it?

Many transportation agencies are finding tremendous value in creating data libraries (also called data warehouses or data clearinghouses). They make it easier for transportation professionals to find the data they need to understand where their agency's assets are, their condition, and their performance. When datasets from environmental resource and other partner agencies are included in these libraries, these data libraries can facilitate better collaboration and sharing between these agencies and support GIS screening tools that can identify viable transportation projects. Operating agreements can help determine where and how these data libraries will be created and maintained, in addition to defining the roles of the users and contributors of the data.


Some examples include the following:

  • California Department of Transportation Office of GIS Library
    The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) GIS Data library provides users with downloadable transportation, environmental, political/administrative, cultural, and infrastructure data, documentation, and maps. The library offers web-based previews of coverages and also indicates when the data were last updated and reviewed. The Library also describes data sharing restrictions, such as whether data are public domain and available for download by CalTrans staff or whether data are proprietary and require special licensing agreements.
  • Colorado DOT's (CDOT) Online Transportation Information System (OTIS)
    OTIS is a portal that provides both internal and external stakeholders access to geospatial information for transportation planning and project development. OTIS is a “one-stop shop” that allows users to view highway, environmental, project, and traffic data, while offering access to statewide maps, reports, highway imagery, and a spatial and tabular data inventory. CDOT has been expanding OTIS' functionality in response to CDOT user requests. For example, OTIS' Windshield application, which provides a videolog of highway images, is now integrated with Google Street View to provide more comprehensive imagery. OTIS has made it easier and more efficient to assess potential roadway improvements, leading to faster project planning.
  • Connecticut DOT's (CTDOT) Road Network Inventory
    Historically, CTDOT collected roadway inventory data through the use of a GIS road network based on Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing Line Systems (TIGER/Lines) that CTDOT had used to map the majority of the State-owned roadways in Connecticut (this work was done in-house). However, the DOT did not have a map of the State's 27,000 miles of locally owned roadways. CTDOT is now using Exor asset management software to expand their GIS road network inventory to include not only State-owned roads, but also local roads. CTDOT has also made use of desktop ESRI tools and orthophoto imagery. CTDOT expects that the new comprehensive road network will allow the agency to better manage its resources, make more informed decisions, and identify cost-savings in many business areas, including asset management and project reviews.
  • Delaware's Multi-Agency ArcGIS Online (AGOL) site
    Delaware DOT (DelDOT) and other state and local agencies in Delaware are developing a joint ArcGIS Online site. The site will support agency staff to more easily consolidate, share, and visualize a range of data, including transportation and environmental information. The agencies are currently working to create and implement an enterprise GIS structure and to formalize data maintenance processes for the site. DelDOT expects the ArcGIS Online site will: (1) reduce data collection redundancies; (2) improve data quality through its standardized dataset framework; and (3) increase efficiency by allowing users to visualize information in new ways.
  • Maryland State Highway Administration's (MDSHA) Enterprise GIS (eGIS)
    eGIS is an ArcGIS Application Programming Interface (API) for Flex web mapping application that provides users quick and easy access to an array of geospatial data and thematic content. It contains tools to view, edit, analyze, and report on geospatial data that support common business unit processes and workflows. The portal functions as an aggregator, allowing users to query and visualize information from one source without needing to access multiple databases. Although the full version of eGIS is only accessible to MDSHA staff, the agency has made some datasets available to the public through JavaScript-based applications. For example, MDSHA developed an application for pedestrians and cyclists to provide information on bike lane locations and recreational trails.
  • Mississippi Geospatial Clearinghouse
    The Mississippi Geospatial Clearinghouse (MGC) provides access to a comprehensive spatial information warehouse of GIS resources of Mississippi for use by government, academia, and the private sector. The goal of the MGC is to make the application of spatial information technologies within the State of Mississippi more efficient by reducing the duplication of spatial data production and enhancing distribution through effective cooperation, standardization, communication, and coordination.
  • Montana DOT's (MDT) ArcGIS Online Site
    MDT's ArcGIS Online site provides a common access point for both internal and external users to access, visualize, and share MDT's geospatial data. The site contains a variety of mapping applications and aggregates data on environmental features, transportation infrastructure, corridor studies, and other transportation-related elements. Use of the site is streamlining project development and improving efficiency. For example, staff with limited GIS expertise can use the ArcGIS Online site to develop accurate, customized maps on the site within a few minutes, allowing decision-making to progress in hours rather than days. MDT has developed a best-practices manual and provides training to “power users” within each of the agency's business units who can serve as experts to help other staff use the site.
  • Nebraska Department of Roads' (NDOR) Nebraska Enterprise Centerline Transportation Attribute Resource (NECTAR)
    NECTAR is centralized GIS-based tool that provides NDOR staff with a convenient way to access and visualize a range of transportation-related information, including maintenance activities, construction projects, fatal crashes, guardrail locations, and bridge locations, as well as other information related to roads, bridges, railroads, and average daily traffic. NECTAR does not store data, instead it allows users to query information from multiple databases across the agency and to visualize these data using NECTAR's mapping templates and viewer. NDOR is currently developing an Internet version of the tool to allow for expanded access to NECTAR's data.
  • North Carolina DOT's (NCDOT) Go!NC
    Go!NC is an ArcGIS Online-based data portal that consolidates, aggregates, and shares geospatial information for both internal and external users. The site provides an intuitive interface through which users—even those without advanced GIS expertise—can manipulate geospatial information and develop maps on demand. NCDOT's GIS unit sets quality and metadata standards for Go!NC, but empowers business units to develop and manage their own maps and data on the site. Go!NC is used by a wide range of NCDOT's partner agencies, including the State Wildlife Resources Commission and Department of Health and Human Services, helping to establish a foundation for improved inter-agency coordination.
  • North Dakota DOT's (NDDOT) ArcGIS Online Site
    NDDOT has recently implemented an ArcGIS Online-based data portal that serves as a publicly accessible and centralized “aggregator” of NDDOT's geospatial data and mapping applications. The site does not store any data but rather helps aggregate existing data that may be “housed” in disparate servers across the agency. NDDOT's Information Technology Unit (ITU) anticipates that the data being shared through ArcGIS Online will support more effective transportation planning, project development, and asset management. ITU also expects the site to assist the traveling public. For example, through a travel information map that is currently available on NDDOT's website, the public can identify real-time traffic conditions and make better decisions about when and how to travel.
  • Ohio DOT's (ODOT) Transportation Information Mapping System (TIMS)
    TIMS is a web-based portal for transportation-related geospatial information that serves as a resource for ODOT staff, Federal, State and local agencies in Ohio, and the public to more easily locate, visualize, and share transportation data. While ODOT's Office of Technical Services administers TIMS and publishes data to the site, individual ODOT business units and partner agencies share their own data, set any necessary restrictions on their information, and maintain data quality. Through TIMS, users can visualize data, extract datasets into Microsoft Excel, upload their own data, and print or email customized maps.
  • Pennsylvania DOT's (PennDOT) PennShare
    PennShare (currently in a pilot testing phase) uses an ArcGIS Online platform to provide a centralized portal for a broad range of internal and external users to access, share, and visualize PennDOT's geospatial data, particularly project and environmental information. PennShare provides an easy-to-use mechanism for disseminating geospatial information to executive decision-makers and other users through a cloud-based application. A centralized group within PennDOT's Bureau of Planning and Research will administer PennShare and will be responsible for reviewing all of the geospatial information that individual data owners submit to PennShare and ensuring that it meets quality standards.
  • Rhode Island's State Enterprise Database
    Rhode Island DOT (RIDOT) is collaborating with several State agencies to develop a State enterprise GIS database that will provide a centralized digital infrastructure for State organizations to share geospatial information. The development of the database was prompted by a series of flooding and weather events in 2010 that led the State Emergency Management Agency to consider how to better coordinate its data-sharing activities with other State agencies. RIDOT also anticipates by providing a single repository for statewide data, the DOT will be able to more easily meet the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) reporting requirements specified under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).
  • South Carolina DOT (SCDOT) Local Agency Data Collection (LADC)
    LADC is a GeoMedia and SharePoint-based application developed to promote data sharing between local agencies in South Carolina and SCDOT. The application will allow the State's 46 counties to upload and share local roadway data with SCDOT, which will then integrate this information into a standardized format within its Roadway Inventory Management System. By allowing SCDOT to more easily identify local road mileage and attributes, LADC will support SCDOT to more accurately allocate funding for local roadways and conduct effective transportation analyses, such as identifying transportation asset locations and analyzing accident locations.
  • Washington State DOT's (WSDOT) Online Map Center
    WSDOT's Online Map Center is an interactive web mapping platform that uses ArcGIS Online to allow internal staff, State and local agencies, and the public to share and visualize data. The Online Map Center aggregates a variety of WSDOT's data layers and mapping applications. For example, the Community Planning Portal, an ArcGIS Online mapping application, helps State, regional, and local transportation planners and decision-makers better understand the transportation system in their areas by offering a “one-stop” access point for more than 27 geospatial data layers from WSDOT and other State agencies. WSDOT meets on a regular basis with other State agencies to develop authoritative standards for data shared using Arc GIS Online.
  • West Virginia DOT's (WVDOT) Centralized Linear Referencing System (LRS)
    WVDOT personnel are using ESRI's Roads and Highways to build a centralized LRS that will provide a framework for making coordinated updates to the DOT's roadway network data and enable any user across the agency to access information on roadway assets or events (e.g., pavement conditions). This will be helpful for planners, designers, or engineers who need access to current network data to make decisions about where or how a transportation facility should be built.

GDC 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.

The map above shows where states are with Geospatial Data Collaboration (GDC) Collaborative Data Libraries and their interest in participating in the Every Day Counts Initiative.

Clicking on the word “Legend” above will identify the colors on the map.

Pre-Demonstration: Learning more about the innovation, actively gathering best practices, building support with partners and stakeholders.

Demonstration: Testing/piloting the innovation.

Post-Demonstration: Making adjustments to prepare for full deployment, adopting the innovation as a tool in the toolbox, process in place to include innovation as standard practice.

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000