ESRI wins Geospatial One-Stop revamp

ESRI won a five-year, $2.4 million to redesign the Geospatial One-Stop portal that it created.

Interior Department and ESRI officials announced the e-government deal yesterday at the 7th annual federal geographic information system conference in Washington sponsored by the Redlands, Calif., company.

Scott J. Cameron, deputy assistant Interior secretary for performance and management, said ESRI, which built the original geospatial portal, will revamp it with new data exchange standards, online metadata entry, distributed data sets, and a multiagency marketplace to share needs and capabilities with vendors.

"The portal that went live in June 2003 already has 80,000 publications," Cameron said. "There was a very intense competition" for the follow-on work, which will have "an order of magnitude better discovery and access for all citizens and will use OGC standards" set by the Open Geospatial Consortium Inc. of Wayland, Mass.

ESRI's winning proposal specified use of IBM WebSphere portal software with single user sign-on; compatibility with database management systems from IBM, Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp.; open application programming interfaces; and a spatially enabled search appliance from Google Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. The addition of these tools will result in a departure from the portal's present hierarchical data access arrangement.

John Calkins, an ESRI technical marketing consultant, said Google searches are "the accepted methodology in today's world." He said users will be able to personalize data searches on the second-generation Geospatial One-Stop portal through portlets for often-used data sets and bookmarks.

"Agency data publishers will get publishing tools similar to the existing ones," he said, "and they can create their metadata online." Users will be able to export and collect, or harvest, particular types of data with Extensible Markup Language metadata, as well as see who is downloading their reports.

The WebSphere portal will also host communities of interest, forums and online calendars. The marketplace area of the portal "will reduce the cost of data gathering" because jurisdictions interested in particular areas can see who else is trying to gather data, he said.

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