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BTS Launches Wall Map of US Transportation Assets

Front features reference map of select U.S. transportation infrastructure and connections. Reverse highlights different dimensions of transportation.

Transportation analysis is geospatial by definition; DOT’s goals naturally point to GIS as a valuable tool.

GIS allows users to display, analyze and manipulate spatial data. Geospatial data analysis can be used to support decisions, to pinpoint hot spots to allocate resources, and to advance other projects that support our mission.

Many Operating Administrations and Program Offices, One DOT GIS site

This site is a response to a significant opportunity here at DOT.

Because no centralized architecture exists, Operating Administrations and Program Offices are finding their own solutions to storing and processing geospatial data. Most are using physical servers, and some are also using virtual machines (cloud-based servers). If physical servers are being used or if the virtual machines are not set up for scalability, performance degradation or interruption can occur when there are spikes in traffic or with large processing operations.

Likewise, because no DOT-wide standards exist for GIS web applications, there is no unified look and feel to DOT’s applications. Offices have used ESRI and/or OpenGIS to build their web mapping applications. The ability to build new applications (either web or mobile) or update existing ones depends upon the specific program budgets and resources. In addition, many DOT mapping applications are using outdated software or dated interfaces.

Yet, despite these constraints, DOT’s GIS Managers, Specialists, and Analysts have produced a number of sophisticated and innovative geospatial products and applications. Using GIS, DOT staff have helped meet mission goals and revealed what cannot be discerned with tabular data, providing “aha” moments to management and stakeholders.

To eliminate these constraints, DOT must: 

  • Educate our workforce on what GIS is and how to use it;
  • Increase staffing and budgetary resources to allow programs to maintain uniformly mature GIS programs;
  • Create a centralized GIS directory and geospatial datamart; and
  • Maintain data and visualization standards across all modes.

Once we empower our workforce to think spatially, GIS At DOT will become a hub of analysis and visualization for a data-driven Department.