National Capital Region Geospatial Data Exchange

Washington Metro Area, DC

NCR GDX_Logo_COLORWorking with multiple jurisdictions located in and around our nation’s capital, KCI led efforts to develop and implement a geospatial data exchange, a tool that streamlines data sharing across the region and allows planners and emergency managers access to the information they need to make real-time and possibly life-saving decisions.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s (MWCOG) CIO Committee’s Subcommittee for GIS received a grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security for the establishment of a National Capital Region Geospatial Data Exchange (NCR GDX). Regional chief information officers, geographic information system managers, and emergency first responders identified a need to produce, maintain and share a set of common operating data across the Maryland / Virginia / DC region. The purpose of this project was to build a system and procedures that facilitate the secure, flexible and standardized sharing of critical mapped information by all National Capital Region partner jurisdictions and agencies. The stakeholder base consisted of federal, state, regional, and local government entities as well as other special district entities.

The KCI team was contracted to design, develop and implement the NCR GDX, which was based on the Virtual USA (vUSA) platform. Specific tasks included the following:

  • Facilitation of stakeholder coordination meetings with more than 150 participants across 50 organizations / jurisdictions
  • System requirements development
  • Database, system, and application interface designDevelopment of a customized vUSA web portal based on NCR requirements
  • Development of a customized ArcGIS desktop toolbar
  • Conducted a data inventory across all NCR jurisdictions
  • Guided establishment of a software / hardware infrastructure for testing and staging at a co-location facility
  • User, administrator, and manager training and documentation

In addition, the KCI team facilitated the incorporation of the NCRnet, a dedicated fiber backbone that interconnects all NCR jurisdictions. This fiber backbone provides an independent backbone to the NCR GDX in case commercial Internet services fail in some manner. The NCRnet also provides safe and secure access to more sensitive data feeds (law enforcement and health sensitive data) that cannot be published on the public Internet. Our team worked closely with the NCRnet technical team to plan a co-location facility system architecture that provided security and reliability, while also providing access to both the Internet and NCRnet. KCI also provides all maintenance support and activities for the co-location facility virtual environment and the NCR GDX application framework.

The final NCR GDX system includes a primary web portal for discovery, publication and consumption of data feeds along with a Flex library widget and a suite of ArcGIS desktop tools for consumption of shared data feeds from other NCR GDX partners. Our team developed a toolbar that allows users to login to the NCR GDX, publish data in their map document to the NCR GDX and browse data feeds that can then be added to their map document. A Flex widget has been customized and can be embedded into any stakeholder flex viewer and will enable them, from their native viewer, to browse and consume data feeds being published by the NCR GDX.

If there is an emergency situation across multiple jurisdictions, GDX facilitates communicating the best data in real time so the response time would be reduced.

Douglas V. GoldsmithVice President, Regional Practice Leader

Douglas V. Goldsmith

A robust training program was implemented including creation of general user and administrator training materials, user guides and hands on classroom exercises. Hands-on training allowed participants to use the tools and learn enough to be immediately productive when returning to their place of business. More than 200 users have been trained over the course of the project.

KCI staff provides coordination and representation on a multitude of committees or at presentations to represent the NCR GDX. In addition, KCI conducts monthly status meetings with the MWCOG project steering committee as well as providing a monthly briefing to the MWCOG GIS Sub-committee.

KCI has continued to provide operational and maintenance support since 2011 and is currently working on initiatives that focus on deployment of Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) regional data, feasibility of moving to the ArcGIS Online platform, standardization of data and aggregation of key datasets into regional data feeds. Our team continues to also manage the application at the co-location facility, perform monthly maintenance activities, issue tracking, help desk, outreach support, and training tasks.