North Carolina continues to be a national leader in leveraging the power of geographic information systems (GIS) to enhance government services and support private and public partners through geospatial data.
The N.C. Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (CGIA), within the N.C. Department of Information Technology, maintains the publicly available NC OneMap as part of its support for the N.C. Geographic Information Coordinating Council (GICC). This open platform serves as the geospatial backbone supporting North Carolina data users from local, state and federal government agencies, the private sector, academia and the general public.
The CGIA and GICC recently partnered with NCDIT’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity to map areas of the state that are lacking high-speed internet access. The groups used NC OneMap and AddressNC, the statewide GIS dataset of nearly 6 million address locations, and compared data with NC State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to analyze broadband availability. NCDIT also supplied a promotional toolkit to government agencies and broadband and digital equity partners to help them identify additional locations in need of internet access and urged the state’s internet service providers to update their service location data.
This comprehensive mapping effort produced a much more precise view of unserved and underserved locations across the state and surfaced an additional 115,000 North Carolina homes and businesses without access to high-speed internet. These locations were added to the Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Map, helping increase the state’s funding allocation through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program to more than $1.5 billion.
This collaboration among North Carolina’s GIS and broadband partners received a Geospatial Excellence Innovator Award from the National States Geographic Information Council on Sept. 27. It honored all their broadband mapping efforts, including grant mapping and community outreach using the statewide GIS datasets.
“This award recognizes the tremendous difference innovative mapping can make for people, businesses and communities,” said Tim Johnson, North Carolina geographic information officer and director of the CGIA. “Local government GIS data integrated at the statewide level is key to North Carolina’s analysis, and this is a great example of state and local government working together to serve our state.”