Friday, May 5, 2017

DEP: New GIS Open Data Site Puts PA Environmental Information At Public’s Fingertips

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has put a trove of environmental data at the public’s fingertips with a geographic information system (GIS) open data map site.
“DEP has a lot of location-based information that citizens can find useful,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “In line with Gov. Wolf’s calls for improved state government transparency, efficiency, and customer service, we’ve put a wealth of data in one online place so that people can more easily find information about the air, land, and water where they live.”
Focused primarily on geographic information, the GIS open data site aggregates and simplifies DEP’s public data on abandoned mine lands, air quality, coal mining, hazardous waste, industrial mining, land recycling, oil and gas, public water supply, radiation, streams and lakes, waste management, water pollution control, and water resources.   
Visitors can browse these categories or drill down into the details, for example, searching for natural gas wells or impaired streams near a street address, zip code, or town. They can view the data as a map, a table, or charts and download data into spreadsheets or embed it into their own applications or websites.
Most data are updated daily. Currently there are 300 data sets, and DEP will be adding more. Users who’d like to suggest data for inclusion can email the DEP Geospatial Data Center at:  
Because it’s map-based, the GIS site doesn’t replace all DEP data tools. For example, users can search for permitted oil and gas wells by location, but not simply by year.  
Available to anyone, the DEP GIS tool may be especially useful to environmental professionals, businesses, industry, government agencies, journalists, and others seeking raw data they can download easily for analysis, visualization, and sharing.
The site is accessible across platforms and devices.  Click Here to view the website.
The DEP GIS data are also available on OpenDataPA, a central repository for all open data sets published by state agencies. 
Gov. Wolf signed an executive order in 2016 to establish to create the state’s open data program and open data site to support transparency, learning and research and civic engagement.
(Photo: Red lines-- streams with impaired water quality around Harrisburg.)

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