In the early and mid 1990s, a central issue facing New York State was how to organize collaborative effort across all levels of government to harness the analytical power of geographic information systems (GIS). The goal was to use geospatial analysis to improve government services, drive down costs, and stimulate economic development. A statewide policy on GIS issued in 1996 estab- lished the NYS GIS Coordination Program with a broadly representative coordinating body drawn from state and local government, universities, and the private sector. Today, the Program hosts a formal data sharing cooperative that supports easy sharing of spatial data sets among federal, state, and local government agencies, universities, and other nonprofit organizations. The program also offers a variety of educational and support services to encourage state and local development and use of spatial data.
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