ESRI Federal User Conference

February 18, 2009

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GIS at the State Level

Two years ago, when we were given the keys to Maryland’s state government, once again we inherited challenges and adversity; some similar, some new and unique, many of them very, very big challenges.

From these challenges emerged our mission statement, not unlike the goals we articulated in Baltimore – strengthening and growing the ranks of an upwardly mobile middle class; improving public safety and public education; and expanding opportunity – not only to learn, to earn, and to enjoy the health of the people we love, but also to enjoy the beauty of Maryland’s natural environment; the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay.  Sustainability.  Show me my House. 

Governor speakingJust as mapping was central to our ability to set goals, track performance and engage in relentless follow-up in Baltimore, it is a major part of everything we are doing at the State level.  And together with ESRI we are reaching for new heights of GIS-driven mapping and performance measurement.  

Some 400 years after Captain John Smith created his first map of the Chesapeake Bay, we’ve recently launched what we call “iMap” – a first-in-the-nation basemap of every parcel and plot of land in our State. Through iMap we are timely, accurately, and transparently sharing information across our State government, and with municipal, county, and federal partners.  We’re also making portions available through the web to our most important partners of all: the citizens of Maryland.  Show me my house.

If we can get the next slide I thought I’d show you some of the things we are mapping through StateStat, our statewide incarnation of CitiStat.  (I should note that we are still in the process of migrating our data over to iMap which is brand new so some of these maps are pre-iMap editions):

SLIDES 18-19: We are mapping violent offenders whom statistics tell us pose the highest risk for recidivism.
SLIDE 20: We’re working with our partners across the border in DC to track offenders who committed crimes in Maryland but live in DC –and vice versa.
SLIDE 21: We are mapping homicides,…
SLIDE 22: And we are comparing the location of homicides with the locations of violent offenders.
SLIDE 23: We’re mapping the locations of more than 200 juvenile offenders who we monitoring with GPS technology.
SLIDE 24: We are mapping the locations of individuals under protective orders so we can keep firearms away from them. 
SLIDE 25: We are mapping traffic fatalities to see where the greatest concentrations are.
SLIDE 26-27: And we are mapping foreclosure so we can be effective in attacking this severe crisis.

GIS and Statewide Efforts on Sustainability

I want to spend our remaining time together showing some examples of how GIS guides our progress on one of the defining issues of our times – sustainability.

We know that if we fail in our own here and now to protect our land, our water, and our air there will be no second chances.  In Maryland, while we are blessed to have one of America’s greatest natural treasures -- the Chesapeake Bay – we are also burdened by the damage done to her by generations of pollution and neglect. 

I want to take you through very quickly our use of geography and performance measurement to attack this big environmental challenge of the health of the Chesapeake Bay much in the same manner that we attacked the big challenge of public safety in Baltimore.

SLIDE 28: Here is our BayStat website,…
SLIDE 29: This is the current health of the Chesapeake Bay as best our science can tell us, … here’s the mid-water channel.
SLIDE 30: As you can see, parts of the Bay, like the upper western Shore, are in better shape than other parts of the Bay. How do we determine this? We determine this through a few main indicators – mainly, the dissolved oxygen standards…
SLIDE 31: So what are the causes of pollution?  It depends on where you are on the map. This page shows you that the main causes are the force feeding of the Bay from human activity of the pollutants of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment.  On the chart you can see the goal of where we are headed. 
SLIDE 32: Then, click on phosphorous – you’ll see the degree to which each of these things contribute to phosphorous.SLIDE 33: If you click on sediment, you can see the degree to which each of these contribute to sediment. This page from the BayStat slide shows you the relative size, or rather, the degree to which farms in the yellow, wastewater treatment plants in the red, stormwater runoff in the blue, septic systems in the black, contribute to that nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment overall. 
SLIDE 34: Obviously geography matters in terms of figuring out what the biggest scopes are in any one of these 10 different primary estuaries in the Chesapeake Bay – or primary tributaries in the Chesapeake Bay. And the Patapsco Back River – a leading contributor of course is big arc here in red – wastewater treatment plants.
SLIDE 35: Click on the other side of the Bay to the Choptank Tributary. You can see the major contributor here is the farm runoff.
SLIDE 36: I’m going to run through now a few graphs.  If you click on farms, you can see we’re moving in the right direction.
SLIDE 37: When it comes to wastewater treatment plants, again, we’re moving the graph in the right direction.
SLIDE 38: When it comes to storm runoff, unfortunately, events are moving our graph in the wrong direction.
SLIDE 39: Septic systems also are moving in the wrong direction.
SLIDE 40: When you look at the lower Western Shore, septic systems are actually a bigger percentage of the problem than the wastewater and the farms combined.
SLIDE 41: Now let’s run through some of the solutions. When we click onto the solutions, we realize that just as our problems are manmade, so too are the solutions.  Here are some of the 21 solutions that we’re working hard to accelerate in order to reach that point – that tipping point where the Bay becomes healthier every year rather than more polluted. In bang for buck – cover crops are some of the best dollars we spend. This shows you a graph once again moving in the right direction – the speedometer up here tells you where we are.
SLIDE 42: Here’s a graph on State wastewater treatment plants.
SLIDE 43: Here’s the graph on stormwater runoff management.
SLIDE 44: Nutrient management plant when it comes to best farming practices.  A few of the things we’re driving with nutrient management plants.
SLIDE 45: Poultry waste structures are especially important…
SLIDE 46-47: Stream protection with fencing…
SLIDE 48: Manure transport on the lower eastern shore…
SLIDE 49: Streamside forest buffers throughout Maryland…
SLIDE 50: Wetlands restoration throughout Maryland…
SLIDE 51: Tree planting again throughout Maryland – we’re at 86 percent of our goal...
SLIDE 52-53: Tree planting on the Upper Potomac… the Middle Potomac…
SLIDE 54: Rural Legacy and the preservation of Open Space…



This brings me to our GreenPrint –  an ecological ranking of every parcel of land in the State of Maryland -- in order that we might do a better job of protecting the minimal amount of green lungs, green kidneys and green liver that are the ecologic body of Maryland. It needs to maintain for all times in the future in order that we might have a healthy – have a healthy ecological body that functions in a healthy way.

SLIDE 55: This is Maryland’s GreenPrint – the green is the most essential ecological parcels in our State. The dark green represents what we’ve protected so far. The light green represents what we need to protect.
SLIDE 56: Let’s click on Charles County: you see the percentage that’s been protected in Charles County and you also see the percentage of Program Open Space dollars that have been spent on purchases within the GreenPrint, which ones are outside of it…
SLIDE 57: Here we’re zooming in.  The red stars represent properties within targeted ecological areas.
SLIDE 58: Here we’re zooming in further,…
SLIDE 59: And further,…
SLIDE 60: We have the option of viewing aerial photography as we zoom in.
SLIDE 61: If we click on the parcel we can get detailed information on things like proximately to forestland or a watershed, the date our State purchased the land, and how much we acquired it for.
SLIDE 62: And he’s a cleaner view of the area photography.



So this is how we are using GIS in Maryland to guide our shared pursuit of progress.  I would argue that these strategies will work for any government entity at any level.  

As I leave you today, I want to return to one of the questions I asked as I opened my remarks,… During my years as Mayor, we would often invite neighborhood leaders to City Hall and I would have the opportunity to show my citizens and neighbors – my bosses -- their new performance measurement tool of the CitiStat room with its charts, graphs, timely accurate information, aerial photography and maps.  Without exception, and regardless of whether the group was from a black or white neighborhood, a rich or poor neighborhood, my presentation was always interrupted within ten minutes by the hand in the back and that question – “Can you show me my house?”

Governor speakingSo, why is that? 

Is it to know that I matter to my government? Is it to know that I matter and have value to my neighbors? Is it to know that my government works and therefore matters to me?  Is it to understand what is around me? Or maybe is it because of a deep innate human instinct to better understand my relationship to the forces and people around me and their relationship to me. “Show me my house.” 

During my days as the minority mayor of majority African American City, I can proudly and credibly claim to have attended more Baptist and A.M.E. services than any Catholic public servant on the planet,... At the great Bethel AME church, Pastor Reid sometimes spikes a robust call and response from the pulpit when he proclaims – “if it’s not about the relationship,…?” and the congregation responds in unison, “it’s not about anything.”

The Relationship – the relationship between ourselves and others, ourselves and time, ourselves and place, ourselves and this space we share with others, the relationship between ourselves and God. Why do teenagers and young people today flock to Facebook or MySpace?  It’s not for solitude but for relationship; not for distance but for proximity; not for division but for connection. 

Thomas Aquinas wrote that “any seeker of a higher truth, or of God, must eventually and inevitably return to the idea of community.”  In the words of Dr. King, the idea that “we are bound together in a web of mutuality,…” The idea that we progress, not on the weakness, but on the strength of our neighbors. The idea that one person can make a difference and each of us must try.

If politics is the geography of ideas, then perhaps, through our deeds and relationships as individuals, we must become the dynamic coordinates of a new geography – a newer deeper understanding of our actions in time, in space, in place, in community, and in relationship to one another in the march of progress we have the freedom to choose and to share,…  

There is a beautiful Native American proverb, which says that, “How we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the earth.”  How we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the earth.  Just maybe the greatest output of geography and GIS are that, but revolutionizing the way we are able to treat the earth we can usher in a new era of how we treat one another.  And God wants every partial victory. 

Show me my house. Thank you.


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