Standards for Transportation Related GIS Data

The use of geographical information systems (GIS) has grown dramatically in the last five years. This is primarily due to the great capabilities GIS offers for the storage, display, and analysis of information, and the rapidly decreasing cost for the necessary computer hardware and software. Improvements in user friendly access systems to GIS information and the introduction of inexpensive desktop systems operating on personal computers, have extended the types of users from computer technology specialists to planners, administrators, researchers, and the general public. The growing number of GIS users and the demands for data have contributed to the availability of large amounts of digital information. In most States in the 1980s, there were only a few groups such as environmental and transportation agencies, or university departments managing GIS facilities. Now, as in Delaware, there are numerous groups and individuals using several types of GIS in a range of applications. With so many people involved in GIS and generating data, there is increased concern with how members of the community can communicate with each other. In any one locale there is several millions of dollars being spent on GIS technology. GIS users in a community often have overlapping information needs, and governments realize a growing need for coordination and are looking for ways to protect and optimize the benefits of their investments in the technology. The major costs incurred by GIS projects are directly related to data acquisition or conversion. If information can be shared and a high degree of quality can be maintained, everyone in the community could benefit.