What Open Data means for the Forest Service

Open Data in the U.S. Forest Service – What is it?

The term “open data” represents the idea that data should be available to everyone, while Esri’s ArcGIS Open Data is a software platform that supports and enables open data capabilities for the agency. The Forest Service has a number of ongoing efforts to support open data initiatives and the implementation of Esri’s ArcGIS Open Data platform compliments and builds upon these existing efforts.

Open Data in the U.S. Forest Service – Why?

The goal of Forest Service open data initiatives is to make authoritative agency data highly available and discoverable both within the agency and externally to our partners and the public. Existing agency efforts supporting open data initiatives include:

All of the above data distribution sites point to the same authoritative agency data from EDW and the implementation of Esri’s ArcGIS Open Data will help us integrate and streamline the capabilities provided by these existing efforts.

Graphic: A black background with dozens of multicolored words in different sizes. Words like transparency and data and open and government

What are the benefits of Open Data?

  • Allows the USFS to easily share our authoritative Enterprise Data Warehouse geospatial & non-geospatial assets with our partners & the public
  • Open data increases civic engagement by enabling government agencies, citizens, businesses, and other community organizations to share data
  • Open Data assets are seamlessly integrated with the USFS Geospatial Platform & Data.gov
  • Thematic content organization facilitates more intuitive content search and discovery
  • Mission efficiency – leveraging technology to make agency data easily discoverable, consumable and useable drives operational efficiency (e.g., Self Service data calls)
  • Eliminates the duplication of data and data sharing processes

Explore for yourself!

Image: a screen capture of the Geospatial Data Discovery webpage