Data Consortium Newsletter     

Jan. 15, 2015 

In this Issue
DRDC 2014 Survey Results
OpenColorado Data Partners Survey Results
Share Your Open Data Story - Take this Survey
Denver Regional Equity Atlas User Stories
DRAPP 2014 & Planimetrics 2015- Project Updates
LIDAR & Contour Data Available
DRCOG 2015 Call for Data
New in the Regional Data Catalog
Articles and Videos
Contact Us
The Data Consortium consists of DRCOG members and regional partners with an interest in geospatial data and collaboration. The Data Consortium Newsletter is designed to improve communication among local GIS professionals and features updates from all levels of government as they relate to data and geospatial initiatives in our region. This newsletter is published quarterly.
DRDC 2014 Survey Results

In the last newsletter, we asked you to respond to a survey about the Data Consortium.

The Data Consortium Survey was meant to inform DRCOG about the needs of the GIS professionals from local government in our region. Currently, DRCOG facilitates 2-3 consortium meetings per year and coordinates this quarterly newsletter. The purpose is to help us share information on our work, learn from one another, collaborate on joint projects, network, and brainstorm about innovative ways to use GIS in local and regional government.

We had 17 respondents to the survey (30% of our member governments and 9% of the recipients of this newsletter). The majority (41%) said that the primary reason they participate in the Data Consortium is to collaborate and network.  






The respondents indicated that they would like to see the following topics addressed through the Data Consortium:  

  • Better data sharing options
  • Built environment
  • Historical data
  • Data standards, accuracy, and completeness
  • Framework layers
  • Methods of aggregation used by counties
  • Data sharing
  • Collaborative efforts

We asked the respondents to indicate the importance of several regional layers The following is a ranking of those layers:

  1. Building Points/Addresses

  2. Parcels

  3. Jurisdictional Boundaries

  4. Land Use

  5. Bike Paths/Trails

  6. Zoning

  7. Building Footprints

  8. Open Space

  9. UGBA


In terms of data development and distribution, we asked what DRCOG's role should be. In summary, the respondents felt that DRCOG should be a coordinator, facilitator and project manager. DRCOG should continue to determine which data layers are of value to local governments and pursue their development and/or acquisition. DRCOG should serve as a central repository for data as well as serving as the hub for networking and connecting GIS professionals from different agencies. DRCOG should also merge local data into regional datasets as well as creating regional datasets from state and federal sources that local governments could use.

In addition to those roles listed above, respondents asked us to focus on long-term strategies related to large data acquisitions (imagery, planimetrics, LIDAR), to provide technical support to small communities,  to continue work on coordinated data requests/automated data links between agencies, and to influence regional open data policy. 


When asked what one thing we could change to make the DRDC better, the best response was "food at meetings." We hear you loud and clear. We wish we had food at meetings too.


Thanks to all who responded! Your feedback is essential to guide our efforts with the Data Consortium. We look forward to a productive 2015 with you all! 

OpenColorado Data Partners Survey Results

Article provided by Scott Primeau, President, OpenColorado.  Scott can be reached at [email protected].

OpenColorado's data catalog grew approximately 50% in 2014, to 1,200 data sets. Fifteen cities, counties, and other organizations are now sharing data through This growth shows Colorado local governments' continued and expanding commitment to supporting their communities through open data. In 2014, OpenColorado asked its data partners to share their experience with publishing data. 

  • The survey found:
  • Most of the respondents provide their own data catalog;
  • The frequency of data updates varies by jurisdiction;
  • Most jurisdictions update data monthly or less often;
  • Names and personal contact information were the most common data elements that had to be removed before publishing data; and
  • "Priorities of other projects" was the most commonly cited challenge to publishing data.


The following are the survey results.



Most of the OpenColorado data partners are sharing data through their own data catalog in addition to publishing to OpenColorado. This creates the dual benefit of providing data where citizens may expect to find it and building a central open data catalog.



As reported in a recent Government Technology article, updating data is one of the keys to realizing the full benefits of open data. The reasons for not updating data, could include technical challenges, the ease of use of the data platform, and other priorities.






In contrast to a 2014 Center for Digital Government survey that said "Open Government /Transparency/Open Data" is the number one priority for city CIOs, OpenColorado's data partners are indicating that the priorities of other projects are still a challenge for publishing and maintaining open data.


Overall, the results of OpenColorado's survey and the growth of the OpenColorado data catalog show that cities and counties are successfully working through the obstacles to open data and continuing to make more data available


Share Your Open Data Story - Take this Survey!

One of the issues that we've consistently struggled with is trying to openly share GIS data amongst government agencies and from government to the public. DRCOG has heard time and time again through our DRDC meetings and surveys that our member governments feel that DRCOG is uniquely positioned to help the region pursue an open data policy.


DRCOG has been researching open data policies across the nation - how they've come about and why they are important. One excellent resource is MetroGIS, a consortium in Minnesota that is similar to the DRDC and that successfully influenced the seven counties in their region to adopt open data sharing policies. One of the critical actions that MetroGIS took to convince their elected officials was to create a body of research that supported an informed decision on policy adoption. It contained sections on: 

  • Making Public GIS Data Free & Open: Benefits and Challenges;
  • Existing Practice Interviews;
  • Public Data Case Law Summaries;
  • Statute Language Relevant to Data Availability; and
  • Disclaimer Language Samples.


DRCOG would like to follow in their footsteps and use the framework that made them successful. To get started, we are asking for your help to gather information on existing practices regarding data sharing.

This is your chance to influence regional policy. Take the survey! 

Denver Regional Equity Atlas User Stories

Article provided by Ashley Summers, Information Systems Manager, DRCOG.  Ashley can be reached at 303-480-6746 or [email protected].

Since the Denver Regional Equity Atlas (REA) launched in February 2014, we have seen it put to good use in a variety of ways. From grant applications to focus groups to blogs about light rail ridership, the REA has proved useful for making a case about access to opportunity in the Denver Metro area.

The site was created through a partnership between DRCOG, Mile High Connects and the Piton Foundation and was funded through the Sustainable Communities Grant. The goal was to take an existing printed atlas and make it into a dynamic, interactive, online map. The new version of the atlas allows users to make custom maps with a variety of data from five major topic areas including demographics, housing, employment, health, and education. Additionally, the users can drill-down from the regional perspective to a local focus, share and save their maps, and view summary statistics that dynamically update based on the user's areas of interest. The site is publicly accessible and usable without creating an account, however users may register if they wish to save their custom maps for future use.

Since the launch of the REA, we've seen the following activity:

  • Over 3,000 users (277 registered)
  • Over 17,000 page views
  • 120 custom maps that have a geography selected in the charts region
  • Over 200 custom maps created by logged in users
  • #1 Viewed Map: Concentration of Low Income Households in the Denver Region (313 views)
  • #2 Viewed Map: Distribution of Denver Residents who are 55 and Older (155 views)

DRCOG recently surveyed the registered users to find out who is engaging with the site and what they are working on. We found that the majority of registered users work in the public sector, but that the site is also being utilized in the non-profit, academic, and private sectors. Of the respondents to the survey, 44% have been able to use the REA in their work.



Applications of the Regional Equity Atlas include: 

  • To help construct a 5-Year Consolidated Plan for the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development for the City of Aurora;
  • To make a case in Sun Valley about how planning can intentionally integrate shared spaces as a way to bring in needed amenities and services;
  • To prepare for a focus group with national AARP policy committee for background on areas with high concentrations of 55+ population compared with areas with rent-burdened housing;
  • To look at housing density around light rail stations along the West Line compared to the Denver Central Business District. Read the article here.

Start using the Regional Equity Atlas today! 

DRAPP 2014 & Planimetrics 2015- Project Updates
Article provided by Ashley Summers, Information Systems Manager, DRCOG.  Ashley can be reached at 303-480-6746 or [email protected].

The DRAPP 2014 Project is coming to a close. Deliveries of the final tiled imagery has started and will continue until the end of January. The final data is also being loaded into a WMS for partners to use.  For entities that did not participate in this project, the final tiles and WMS will be available for purchase from MapMart in February 2015. Please contact Chris Sheil at [email protected] for a quote.
After the completion of the DRAPP 2014 project, the imagery acquisition vendor, Kucera International, Inc. will begin work on Planimetric Feature Project. They will be using our 2014 imagery to collect building roofprints, edge of pavement, parking, sidewalks, driveways, and hydro features, as shown in the extent below. 


The data will delivered progressively as it is finished, starting in April 2015 and continuing through the end of the year. All data will be public domain.

This project is being funded by 24 regional partners and DRCOG. There is still time to participate and contribute funds! Please call Ashley Summers at 303-480-6746 for more information. 


LIDAR & Contour Data Available

Article provided by Ashley Summers, Information Systems Manager, DRCOG.  Ashley can be reached at 303-480-6746 or [email protected].

As mentioned in our October newsletter, the FEMA/USGS LIDAR project that was initiated in the fall of 2013 is finally finished! The data, which includes classified points clouds, a Digital Evaluation Model (DEM), and contours, is available for download.

For point clouds, DEMs, and contours (all in UTM)- check the Office of Information Technology's (OIT's) new site, the Colorado GeoData Cache.

For contours (in State Plane) - check out our Regional Data Catalog [insert link]. The data is so large that we've split it up into smaller chunks that are easier to download. Some sections are split by elevation.  If you simply merge the "high" and "low" datasets back together after downloading, you will have a full section.  Please contact Josh Pendleton at 303-480-6784 or [email protected] if you need assistance. 



DRCOG 2015 Call for Data

Article contributed by Ashley Summers, Information Systems Manager at DRCOG. Ashley can be reached at 303-480-6746 or [email protected].


DRCOG is about to issue its annual call for data. The request will go out next week and will ask local governments to submit the following datasets to DRCOG via our new Data Portal. 

  1. Open Space
  2. Zoning
  3. Employment/Business Data
  4. Building Permits
  5. Bikes/Trails
  6. County and Muni Boundaries
  7. Parcels
  8. Buildings/Addresses
  9. Special Districts


How does DRCOG use local government data?
DRCOG uses data collected from its members to create regional datasets for planning, forecasting, and modeling regional transportation and development. For example, local data feeds UrbanSim (a land use model) and FOCUS (a transportation model) to create more accurate predictions for the future. We also use local data during Metro Vision scenario planning, DRAPP planning and TIP evaluations. A few illustrations of these processes can be found here.

Whenever possible, DRCOG compiles local data into publicly shareable regional datasets and makes them available on the DRCOG Regional Data Catalog. Currently, we provide Regional Open Space, County and Municipal Boundaries and Regional Bike Inventory as a free download.

How should local governments submit their data?
DRCOG recently built a new, online application called the Data Portal for data exchange with local governments. The Data Portal requires a login. If you have not had the opportunity to attend a workshop or webinar and do not yet have a login, please contact Jenny Todd at [email protected]


New in the Regional Data Catalog


School Districts



Water Bodies




Articles and Videos

"Successful community building requires many elements-a clear understanding of needs and opportunities, engagement of residents, support from all levels of government, collaboration among people and across programs. It also requires knowledge of what is happening in real time, whether strategies are working and how they can be improved. Building on the message of integrated, collaborative community development in Investing in What Works for America's Communities, the current volume, What Counts: Harnessing Data for America's Communities helps us understand how to efficiently turn the volumes of data now available into the information needed to achieve the results communities want."- Melody Barnes, CEO, Melody Barnes Solutions, and former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council

Contact Us
For more information on any of the topics mentioned in this newsletter or if you have an idea for an article, please contact DRCOG GIS Manager Ashley Summers at 303-480-6746 or [email protected]
Disclaimer: The information provided in this newsletter is compiled from multiple sources and is intended for informational purposes only.  DRCOG assumes no responsibility or legal liability for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information in this newsletter.