Service Performance
The New York State GIS Coordination Program was designed to overcome barriers to GIS information sharing and provide a wide array of benefits to participants. As of 2001, the following has been achieved:

  • Catalog of existing data sets: it is becoming increasingly easy for government agencies, citizens and commercial entities to determine what GIS data sets are available and who is the primary custodian by visiting the Metadata Repository on the GIS Clearinghouse. The GIS Clearinghouse allows easy searching for data sets of interest, thereby minimizing missed opportunities to use existing data sets.

  • Clarity about data ownership: each data set has a designated Primary Custodian, the agency which originated the data and remains responsible for its quality.

  • Improved data quality: as use of Cooperative members' data sets increases, users are passing updates, corrections, and revisions back to the Primary Custodians. The result is increasing data quality. All Data Sharing Cooperative members, as well as other public and private sector users of the data, benefit from these improvements in data quality.

  • Standards and consistent practices: the use of a standardized data sharing agreement makes the rules for sharing within the Cooperative consistent. All members of the Cooperative agree to comply over time with standards for metadata, data exchange formats, and other characteristics.

  • Savings: Data Sharing Cooperative members have access to all other members'data sets at no cost. Therefore, duplication of effort and investment in creating data sets already available from other agencies are minimized.

  • Community building: the Coordination Program and the Clearinghouse encourage members of the GIS community to share information about their projects, education programs, conferences, and experiences. The Work Groups and Advisory Committees provide a venue for long-lasting professional relationships built around common interests and mutual goals.

  • National presence: the emergence of the NYS GIS Coordination Program has made it possible for New York to participate actively in national efforts to create and promote a national spatial data infrastructure. It has allowed New York to apply for and receive federal funds to enhance the program and created opportunities to work with and learn from other states on issues of mutual concern.

Project Performance
By most measures, the NYS GIS Data Coordination Program is a success. Its focus, philosophy, and practical results reflect widespread participation by local governments, state agencies, and the private sector in policy discussions, educational programs, and advocacy for a state-level GIS program.

The publicly available GIS Clearinghouse contains 1600 Web pages and 31,000 links. The New York State GIS Clearinghouse has received awards and recognition from the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC).

The Data Sharing Cooperative currently comprises more than 350 members who in 2000 exchanged more than 300,000 data sets representing a fair market value of over $12 million.

New York State's program in GIS Data Sharing Program has been widely recognized as successful and innovative. Some of its methods, such as the formal Data Sharing Agreement, are copied by other states. The Program also received a grant from FGDC to assist in the development of metadata for the Clearinghouse.

However, challenges still lie ahead. The GIS Clearinghouse does not yet represent all the data available in the State of New York. State agencies need to update their data inventories and more local participation has to be reached. However, without the FOIL amendments they desire, local participation in broad data sharing or in the formal Data Sharing Cooperative is unlikely to grow substantially. Perhaps most important, the program must complete its transition from a mostly voluntary community of practice, to a formal program in which a professional state-level center takes on a larger operational and leadership role.

© 2003 Center for Technology in Government