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PA State Geospatial Coordinating Board

2017 Annual Report


Through the work of the GeoBoard and its partners, geospatial activities throughout the commonwealth will be enhanced through open communication, collaborative efforts, unified planning, and coordinated implementation, resulting in effective and efficient use of Pennsylvania’s geospatial resources.


The GeoBoard shall provide advice and recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the public on geospatial issues, uniform data standards, coordination and efficiency in geospatial policy, and technology across different sectors.

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Chair's Message


The PA GeoBoard was formed with the passage of 2014 Act 178, which amended the Administrative Code of 1929, adding Section 432.1 and which was signed into law on October 22, 2014. The Board was established to provide advice and recommendations to the Governor and the citizens of the Commonwealth on geospatial issues and provide uniform data standards, coordination of efficiency in geospatial policy and technology issues among Federal, State and local government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The section of 2014 Act 178 will expire on June 30, 2020.

2014 Act 178 2014 Act 178

Act of Oct. 22, 2014, P.L. 2881, No. 178 Cl. 71
Session of 2014
No. 2014-178

Who We Are

In March 2016, the GeoBoard created three task forces – Data Program, Service Delivery, and Governance - to concentrate subject matter expertise, analyze situations and trends in the GIS community, and recommend positions or actions to the GeoBoard. Task force members are volunteers from the GIS Community consisting of GeoBoard and non-GeoBoard sitting/voting members, local, county, and state government agencies, academia, and the private sector.

The Governor’s Office of Administration provides administrative assistance to the GeoBoard.

2014 Act 178 Membership Graphis

Voting and Non-voting Ex Officio
GeoBoard Members

Task Forces

As identified in Act 178, under official duties and responsibilities, the GeoBoard may develop task forces as needed to formulate recommendations and perform actions. At the Board’s initial meeting in March 2016, the GeoBoard created three task forces in accordance with the authority set out in the enabling legislation. The GeoBoard formally adopted charters that guide the task force activities. Task force meetings occur as needed, with certain task forces meeting as frequently as twice a month in 2017. Task forces can choose to form one or more working groups to focus on key goals and objectives. Click on each Task Force to see an overview of what the task force mission is, what are the current challenges, accomplishments, and future plan.

Mission Recommend initiatives and approaches for full GeoBoard consideration that remove barriers to sharing geospatial data across the commonwealth and promote cost-effective approaches to data sharing driving operational efficiencies and value-add solutions.

Key Focus Areas
  • Base map for authoritative data themes
  • Data sharing agreements
  • Ensuring that existing GIS clearinghouses, such as PASDA, and services promote sharing

Mission Evaluate how geospatial services are delivered to various levels of government in the commonwealth by internal and external providers, evaluate how other states and counties deliver geospatial services and identify recommendations for full GeoBoard consideration on how geospatial services should be delivered in the commonwealth to maximize investments.

Key Focus Areas
  • Identify existing challenges and formulate recommendations to improve the current environment
  • Access existing center of excellence models to improve geospatial service delivery as cost effectively as possible
  • Establish an approach and recommendation to improve geospatial service delivery in the commonwealth

Mission Document the geospatial governance process in the Commonwealth. For full GeoBoard consideration, establish a list of major priorities or initiatives to address the needs of the broader geospatial community, evaluate approaches to accomplishing initiatives within existing budget contraints, identify opportunities for collaboration to meet common objectives, and make recommendations as to the coordination of activities across other geospatial governing bodies.

Key Focus Areas
  • Assessment of key funding opportunities and a means to disseminate this information
  • Evaluation of the current state of GIS in PA
  • GIS strategic plan for PA that is concise, accessible, and updateable on a regular/recurring basis



Geospatial technologies touch every citizen of the Commonwealth. The GeoBoard’s main mission is delivering GIS data, services and other interests to Geospatial technology at the Commonwealth level so all disciplines, and all entities have access to the same data and technologies.

Following are some of the very important ways that GIS is being used throughout the Commonwealth. In many of these instances, folks sit on the GeoBoard or on one of the Task Forces, subcommittees or workgroups, in support of these efforts.

View the Lancaster County Accidental Drug Overdose Map

Below, hear Deputy Secretary, Cheryl Cook, discuss the importance of geospatial technologies in the PA Department of Agriculture.

View the PA Invasive Quarantine Map

View the PA Turnpike App

View the Lycoming County Plan the Impossible App

View the Susquehanna River Story

View the Chester County Emergency Services Locations

View the Potter County Parcel Viewer

View the Pennsylvania Wind Map Explorer



The GeoBoard is made up of volunteers including members from local, county and state government agencies, academia, and the private sector. The GeoBoard is always looking for new faces to participate in the following areas:


As outlined above, there are three main task forces. Within each of those task forces, several subcommittees and workgroups exist as outlined below and new groups are being formed all the time in an effort to craft the best recommendation moving forward.

If you are interested in participating in any of the task forces, or the current subcommittees listed below each task force lead, please contact the following:

Data Program Task Force Workgroups Service Delivery Task Force Workgroups Governance Task Force Workgroups
Sean Crager
Laura Simonetti
Kevin Eaton
  • Parcel Workgroup
  • Elevation Workgroup
  • Data Sharing Workgroup
  • Civic Boundary Workgroup
  • NextGen 911 working group
  • Water Data Initiative
  • PASDA focus groups
  • Legislative Review Subcommittee
  • Strategic Plan


All GeoBoard meetings are free and open to the public. They take place quarterly at:
333 Market Street, Honors Suite D - 1st Floor from 1:30 to 3:00pm.
For a current list of meeting dates, current agenda and past meeting minutes, visit the GeoBoard Website.


Administrative Services are needed at each Task Force Meeting, Joint Task Force Meeting, the Board Meetings and many of the subcommittee meetings. This can be in the form of taking notes, transcribing an audio or video recording, assisting in printing or assembling presentations, etc. If you wish to volunteer your administrative services at any of the GeoBoard meetings or events, please contact one of the task force heads, listed above.

What We Accomplished in 2017

Members of the Governance Task Force led the development of a comprehensive Geospatial Strategic Plan for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the GeoBoard which will serve as a guide for the future progress of geospatial activities within the commonwealth. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has never had a relevant, comprehensive, and inclusive GIS strategic plan before. By creating this Strategic Plan, the GeoBoard, and the commonwealth’s GIS community, intend to develop a collaborative, purposeful, and effective approach toward GIS that will benefit GIS stakeholders and all citizens of the commonwealth.

The Strategic Plan lays the foundation for the future of Pennsylvania’s GIS environment through the creation of goals and objectives developed during the 2017 planning process. That process included research and review of existing GIS strategic plans from other states, as well as a public input process to supplement input from the GeoBoard members. The Plan details the current status of GIS including past accomplishments, current challenges, and opportunities that the GIS community can collectively address.

  1. Create a Sustainable Business Model
  2. Facilitate the Development of Statewide Authoritative Datasets
  3. Ensure and Promote Public Access to Geospatial Data and Services
  4. Enhance Collaboration, Cooperation, and Coordination
The Data Program Task Force led a workshop at the Annual Fall County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) conference that included a discussion on the benefits of openly sharing data and ways to enhance a culture of data sharing between local and state government.

In addition, members of the GeoBoard, including the Task Force chairs, kicked off the 2017 PA GIS Conference with a roundtable discussion at the opening general session. This GeoBoard presentation included a discussion of current initiatives. The presenters also noted that the GeoBoard is interested in working with others to support coordination and partnership building in order to strengthen GIS in Pennsylvania.

In October, the Service Delivery Task Force joined with Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) for a User Feedback Session. PASDA has been identified as a Center of Excellence and a vital service for sharing geospatial data in the commonwealth. During the half-day session included attendees from state, local, and federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations, business and industry, and academia. The attendees discuss current and future needs and interests related to data, services and applications, as well as the overarching vision and future direction for the PASDA clearinghouse. This effort will be followed up by additional feedback opportunities for stakeholder groups including an online survey and meetings with focus groups.

The GeoBoard also established a link from the Governor’s OpenDataPA website to the PASDA clearinghouse to help foster increased access to data and to make geospatial data more available to all users across the commonwealth.

The Data Program Task Force has continued to build out the core base map themes that were approved by GeoBoard members in December 2016. Following the adoption of the recommended core base map for Pennsylvania, the Data Program Task Force concentrated on identifying the authoritative sources of the base map data and has completed the Stage 1 analysis. Stage 1 consists of the identification and assimilation of various data sources of the base map layers in their current state. Eight of the twelve data layers were identified as being complete and aggregated for Stage 1 and ready to be included in the base map. The four remaining layers have been identified to exist in a non-aggregated state or currently do not exist. Workgroups have been created to begin the development of a sustainable process to gather data for these incomplete layers so that they can be included in the Stage 1 release.

In parallel to the development of the Stage 1 base map, efforts have been put forth towards developing the Stage 2 base map. Stage 2 will represent the desired state of each layer and will identify the authoritative owner in addition to determining the most applicable attributes for each layer. Workgroups have already been established around elevation and hydrography to identify an approach for developing the Stage 2 data sets.

The Data Program Task Force has also worked on the development of an inclusive data sharing agreement for the GeoBoard to recommend be used to facilitate the sharing of data between governmental entities, as well as other data owners including academia, business, and non-profits. A workgroup including legal experts has been created and a draft based on previously issued data sharing agreements used in other initiatives is being modified to meet this objective. The need for a uniform data sharing agreement was part of the Data Program Task Force presentation at the Annual Fall County Commissioners of Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) conference, as noted above.

The Governance Task Force created a Legislative Review Subcommittee to review legislation which may impact PA's geospatial community, and to provide recommendations to the GeoBoard for action. The Legislative Review Subcommittee is an 'as needed' group. Two pieces of proposed legislation were reviewed in 2017:

  1. PA House Bill 1106 which proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law
    The Legislative Review Subcommittee conducted a thorough review of PA House Bill 1106. The subcommittee has prepared a recommendation for the full GeoBoard to consider at their first meeting in 2018.

  2. US Senate Bill 1253 titled the Geospatial Data Act of 2017
    The Legislative Review Subcommittee continues to track proposed changes to the US Senate Bill 1253.
One of the highlights for the GeoBoard in 2017, was creating a basic structure and environment in which the GIS community in Pennsylvania believes that the collective action of the GeoBoard will produce successful results to the geospatial community.

What's Next for 2018

Complete and adopt the 2018 Geospatial Strategic Plan for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Begin implementation efforts focused on the goals of the Geospatial Strategic Plan for Pennsylvania.
Continue work on the Stage 1 authoritative core base map themes and their stewardship.
Determine the Stage 2 data model and the stewardship for each of the twelve core base map themes.
Finish and adopt the single data sharing agreement and promote its use throughout PA.
Support the development of applications to serve the base map.
Gather additional feedback on enhancing PASDA and develop a plan to implement new services.
Promote the services available for the PA geospatial community to access the core base map themes.
Develop recommendations for resolving local municipal boundary discrepancies.
Develop recommendations for coordinated funding of statewide GIS programs.
Continue outreach and education at stakeholder events.

Additional Resources

Please see these other GeoBoard materials on the GeoBoard web site.