History of The MAP Center
The MAP Center was founded in January 1996 with a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Center’s task was to investigate and demonstrate using geographic information systems (GIS) to provide decision support tools for community leaders and planners. The Center collected and organized geospatial data sets that were available to the public and combined them with demographic, economic and business data from public and private sources.
In December 1996, the Center started this Web site and has continued to develop methods to present geographic and economic data in a way that is easy to navigate and understand. The Center began a site for the Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna Watershed, an American Heritage Rivers Initiative, in May 1999 and another for the Pennsylvania GIS Consortium in January 2000. The tools we have to work with have improved greatly in the four years we have devoted to Web-based GIS presentations. Still, there are areas that need more work, especially in the task of supplying “live” maps to the public.
One area of interest for the Center was an investigation into combining three dimensional, engineering models with planar GIS data. The result was the realization that the concept was sound but the technology of the time was not adequate to the tasks we needed to perform. More than five years later, there is some hope that the concept will find a place in the rapid development of online data distribution.
Toward the end of 1998, the Center joined in a cooperative effort to implement a vision of locally independent, regionally coordinated, multiple-purpose GIS for the Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna Watershed. The program was sponsored by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Community Demonstration Projects whose goal was to demonstrate the best practices of GIS consistent the policies of the Federal Geographic Data Committee in the U.S. Department of Interior.
In the Fall of 2000 the Center joined with King’s College to serve as a resource for integrating GIS into the curriculum. The goal of this effort is to make the College a leader in applying GIS to the liberal arts education of it’s students. In addition to this work, the Center has established a program of GIS analysis and presentation for institutional research and admissions activities at King’s.
June 2004 marked the end of MAP Center operations. This was the result of painful but necessary budget cuts the College had to make. The College continues to operate and maintain this Web site as a public service to the many who continue to use the material it contains.