goPLAY and the Data that Makes it Happen

The last post (Where are the bike paths? Where are the Parks?) briefly touched on the unprecedented opportunity that www.goplaykansas.com represents and one of the general challenges that exists. Today we will jump right into the details, simply because time is of the essence and there are many exciting things occurring right now. These are things that you can be involved in today.

 

One of the greatest challenges to develop a recreation information clearinghouse is collecting information from all the recreation providers about their resources. Fortunately, one thing was easy to sort out, it needed to be geographic based. That way we could map it, because as we all know – a picture is worth 1,000 words. We knew that the information needed to be geographically rooted.

 

One of the easiest ways to collect geographic information is digitally, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). With GIS you can create electronic maps, layer them, and perform all kinds of in depth analysis. It also has a huge plus as a standard communication format, because many government agencies already use it.

 

Wait, why are we concentrating on government agencies? They came to the top of the list because they provide so many resources and are reasonably similar. Many of them in South Central Kansas are also tied into the Visioneeting Wichita initiative, so they’re easier to contact.

 

So we know that we are targeting government agencies first (we will approach the private recreation providers soon afterwards), and that are going to use GIS as a standard for communicating the information. However, we still need to nail down how we are going to organize the GIS information, essentially the question became what language and dialect will we use to make sure it can be aggregated.

 

Fortunately, we are following in the footsteps of one awesome State-wide initiative and we are moving parallel to a national initiative that did and are working out a GIS standard for sharing recreational resources information. The State initiative is the Kansas RecFinder and can be found at the following website http://maps.kansasgis.org/recfinder/public/?CFID=641497&CFTOKEN=35756512. The national initiative is a GIS attributes standards committee that is being facilitated by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The two initiatives have provided us with a wealth of information and hopefully we’ve been able to provide them with the same. I will discuss both of these initiatives in depth in future blog posts. However, we need to jump into the NRPA stuff today because of the ability for you to get involved.

 

I’ve been working with the NRPA GIS attributes technical committee on and off for at least six months. It’s been an interesting project involving folks from all over the country. The group has developed draft standards for GIS information that they hope can be used by organizations throughout the country. The standards help identify what specific names to assign to resources and what general categories they belong in.

 

The awesome thing about the NRPA attributes is that the NRPA allow opportunities for the general public to participate by submitting comments. You can find the draft attributes and comment forms on the following website. http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=8201

 

For more background information about the NRPA initiative check out the website below.

http://www.nrpa.org/gis

 

I would encourage everyone to take a quick look at them, and to complete a comment form. Even if you think they don’t need any edits, I know that it would really help to hear your thoughts. I also need to give a quick shout out to Meredith, who has had a time of keeping us all organized. She’s done a great job of herding cats and hopefully will get a long vacation after this project is completed ha.

 

Next time we’ll discuss the Kansas RecFinder and the maestro Professor Sid Stevens. 

 

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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2011 at 3:54 pm and is filed under City of Wichita, Recreation Alliance, Technology, Visioneering Wichita. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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