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Special Achievement in GIS Award

2017 SAG Award Winners

USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service - NGCE

Project Goal

NRCS published the USDA Service Center Geographic Information Strategy (GIS) in August 1998 to integrate GIS technology into service center business operations. Major limitations to the success of the program were data availability of critical datasets and automation of data management workflows. The NRCS Geospatial Report published in 2008 established the framework for building a Center of Excellence by establishing 3 pillars of enterprise geospatial science needed for success: Governance, Planning and Investment, and Products and Services. The National Geospatial Center of Excellence (GeoCOE) was established in 2012 to design a robust enterprise to support premium data, technology, products and services, and geospatial science within USDA. Building on and enhancing existing NRCS GIS core expertise and services allowed NRCS to stand up a more efficient, cost effective, and scalable USDA GeoCOE.

Business Problem Solved

NRCS to serve as a USDA Geospatial Center of Excellence (GeoCOE) for geospatial data management and dissemination. As a USDA GeoCOE, the goal is to provide USDA agencies, offices, and the public a “one-stop shop” for:

• Storing, managing, and disseminating geospatial assets using standardized applications and services

• Ensuring the availability, accountability, and authority of the geospatial assets to produce accurate, consistent, timely, and useful geospatial information to meet NRCS and USDA program needs

NGCE implemented geospatial science at the foundational component level of the agency. NRCS is tied closely to the land, and through the implementation of geospatial science at the enterprise level, it has developed a platform that leverages cloud technology, service-oriented architecture, map and data services to integrate agricultural business, conservation planning and design and analytics at the farm field level, helping people help the land.

Technology Implemented

NRCS GeoCOE have developed and deployed existing technology/services that can be scaled and provided to support a USDA GeoCOE and the Geospatial Platform.

NRCS GeoCOE services will help to shape and define the direction of geospatial services, technology, and data to support USDA missions. Technologies and services include

1. Geospatial Data Warehouse (GDW)
The storage and archival of original and authoritative reference and agency data.
2. Geospatial Data Gateway (GDG)
The GDG is the one-stop shop for geospatial data delivery.
3. GeoPortal on-premises
The GeoPortal provides an entry point to access the catalog of remote sensing, geospatial static and in-situ data, information tools and services.
4. Geospatial Map and Data Web Services
5. ArcGIS Online for NRCS
6. NRCS Mapping Application Print on Demand
7. Geospatial Training
NGCE has developed and implemented an advanced geospatial science training program to develop Knowledge, skills & the Abilities of the NRCS GIS community.

Development Team Biography

The NGCE Management Team is a multidiscipline team with skills in the mapping sciences and natural resources with backgrounds in engineering, Information Technology, Cartography, Soil Science, and Conservation. NGCE leadership has extensive experience with integrating geospatial science into agency business and to support the Conservation Delivery Streamlining Initiative (CDSI) and for making GIS main stream throughout the agency. NGCE creates geodatabases that integrate business and geospatial science content into an integrated business model to support conservation workflows and analysis. At the end of the day, NGCE has geospatial science solutions for NRCS.

Darren Hickman, Director NGCE
Paul Fukuhara, IT Innovation Leader
Steve Nechero, Geospatial Data Management Branch Chief
Jennifer Sweet, Geospatial Technology Branch Chief
Javier Ruiz, Governance Branch Chief

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