GeoTel page banner

The United States Federal Government and GIS

The United States Federal Government and GIS

Many of our past blog postings have dealt with GIS vendors in the private sector. A common theme has been that most of these companies we have profiled come from the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even the Pacific Rim regions. Believe it or not, however, here in America, even the federal government plays a big role in the GIS sector.

The federal government not only awards contracts to private sector companies, but they even award grants, scholarships, funding, and endowments to the GIS sector. In its latest move, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it’s Geospatial Management Office (also known as the GMO) is making important infrastructure data readily accessible and in highly usable open data formats to the public safety community.

In addition to this, the GMO is making these data sets open for feedback from the local and state public safety agencies on the quality of the GIS data sets which are being made available now. For example, according to Eric Fisher, a leader at the Fairfax (VA) County Fire and Rescue, “Using these important data sets, anytime, augments my local authoritative data with regional and other data that may not currently be available. And even better, I can access and download that data in real time, so that it truly is a useful part of our agency’s planning and preparedness efforts.” (SOURCE:

Although there is some fear and apprehension in making these data sets publicly available, the bottom line is that it is believed it will ensure safety at all levels. “Open access to authoritative infrastructure data sets is an enormous step forward that will enable public safety officials at the federal, state, and local levels to more effectively plan for and respond to natural and man-made disasters.” (SOURCE:

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.


Valerie Stephen