The Arkansas GIS Office — in partnership with our friends at Connect-Arkansas and numerous counties — are pleased to announce the publication of the Address Point File for Ouachita County. This data set is the final in a series of publications comprised of counties engaged in creating address point data to support Connect-Arkansas’ mission: to analyze and promote adoption and use of broadband in Arkansas. The project was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The project began in 2011 and included address point data development in twenty-eight counties. At the close of 2013 officials from Connect-Arkansas had the vision to reallocate unspent funds from other facets of the project to include address point development in eight additional counties bringing the overall total to thirty-six counties!
The file is used to support address geocoding of broadband consumers and to aid in identifying locations of reported internet speed and service providers. The data supports decision making on broadband policy now and into the future. Beyond the broadband application the data is used by public safety officials, E9-1-1 officials and many others. The data also serves as the primary index for a statewide geocoding locator service that is published for users to access. The ways in which the geocoding service are now used are too long to list.
With this publication only eleven counties in the state remain incomplete. The whole effort builds on basic principles set out by the State GIS Board: to support economic development by reducing duplication of effort, coordinating the development of framework GIS data and publishing it for others to use. Shelby Johnson, State Geographic Information Officer states, “It’s a remarkable thing, here at the Holidays. This data was built for the broadband program mostly by 9-1-1 staff in the counties. They’ve shared it with the State and then we share it with the public and commercial organizations. Now with so many businesses in the retail and service economy using smart phones and online mapping it’s going to play a major role in making sure that package gets there on time. It’s a perfect example of two things we say a lot: the best data is local data because it is created at the source and we should create it once and share it a bunch.”
GIS staff have reviewed the project’s total funding and estimate the Connect-Arkansas investment per record value at around $2.79 per address point. That figure does not account for personnel time by county and state employees coordinating on the project together. While the file stores over 1.3 million records at this time, there is still work to be done. The state must continue to press forward to secure 100% address point coverage for the state and to assure the maintenance for the previously published counties. Nevertheless, this is a momentous occasion for the State of Arkansas and a wonderful Christmas present to all statewide stake holders; Merry Christmas!