The CLEAR and CT DEEP team responsible for the development and operation of the Connecticut Conditions Online, or CT ECO, website has won the 2012 Public Service Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association. CT ECO is a highly advanced internet mapping site that provides access to the state’s natural resource data.
Why a planning award for a geospatial website? Planners at the state, regional and local levels need the best available information upon which to base their plans. CT ECO houses the state’s most comprehensive and authoritative collection of natural resource (and related) data. This includes all the natural resource data layers maintained by CT DEEP, as well as soils data from USDA/NRCS and high resolution imagery from the state, CLEAR and others like the Capitol Region Council of Governments.
Access to the data is as important as the data itself. Prior to the development of CT ECO, those looking for digital natural resource data had to acquire CDs from the CT DEEP which were, by nature, constantly out of date and did not contain data from other agencies and sources. CT ECO draws all this data together, and makes it available 24/7. CT ECO stresses access: the fusion of internet and GIS technologies has accelerated in recent years, enabling the creation of web tools that provide access to geospatial information for the general public, regardless of their technical proficiency. This involves providing the data in many forms, from simple PDF maps to interactive web mapping to actual data download. CT ECO is a prime example of the “democratization” of information, and one of the leading examples, nationwide, of a state-sponsored web tool related to natural resources.
Congratulations to Beth Doran of CT DEEP and Cary Chadwick and Emily Wilson of UConn CLEAR’s Geospatial Training Program for this well-deserved award. Congrats as well to original team members Howie Sternberg (formerly of DEEP and the real motive force behind ECO) and Sandy Prisloe (formerly of CLEAR).