GICC Adopts US National Grid Format
The Geographic Information Coordinating Council adopted the US National Grid as a presentation layer for NC OneMap
data. This provides an additional visual option for users of the NC OneMap web viewer. North Carolina, supported by a grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee, developed custom GIS datasets and training materials, held workshops in 2008, and demonstrated the use of the US National Grid in mapping and group navigation. The final report
details the grant activities, shows North Carolina examples, and clarifies the benefits of the US National Grid for finding locations in emergencies when state or federal assistance is needed. The project file, including training materials
, are available as a ZIP file.
The USNG is a presentation format standard developed by the Federal Geographic Data Committee [FGDC-STD-011-2001]
. The coordinate reference system was adopted to provide a nationally and globally consistent language of location optimized for local applications and larger-scale mapping.
The USNG is intended for everyday applications by the general public and public safety providers, and for improved business practices in support of the general economy. Commercial vendors and publishers of street and highway maps in North Carolina are encouraged to adopt the USNG.
The availability of feature locations as USNG values is particularly valuable during times of disaster, such as major hurricanes where the street signs and landmarks have been destroyed. The USNG improves public safety by providing a uniform means to describe an incident location where street addresses may not be specific enough – such as a large campus or industrial complex. This also benefits mutual assistance operations. Furthermore these USNG values can be directly used in low-cost consumer Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to guide a person to the precise point of interest or to locate it on a web-mapping portal.
Using the National Grid vs. State Plane Coordinates
The GIS Technical Advisory Committee clarified that the USNG is an option for visual data presentation only. It does not replace the North Carolina State Plane Coordinate System as specified under state law (ex. Surveying operations, cadastral applications, property descriptions, etc.)
Use of the USNG does not require a change in the digital geospatial data storage format in a Geographic Information System. Data creators and users can continue storing data in latitude/longitude degrees, decimal degrees, or State Plane. Nor does it replace the use of latitude/longitude on aeronautical or nautical charts. The USNG does not replace street addresses, but supplements them as a universal map index to rapidly identify the location of a street, street address, or feature.
To see a quick explanation and mapping sample of the US National Grid, click here
The GIS Technical Advisory Committee Asks for More…
In addition to the adoption of the US National Grid Standard [FGDC-STD-011-2001], the GIS TAC had other recommendations for the GICC.
- The TAC recommended that procurement language for geospatial information services, systems, and products include a USNG functionality requirement as appropriate to the spirit of this policy.
- Encourage data users to learn more about the USNG from the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s web site www.fgdc.gov/usng
- Geospatial professionals should proactively educate their constituents on how to use and read the grid, and ensure that mapping products depict the grid.
- Use the grid on business cards and letterhead, as well as on community web mapping sites, street and feature indexes.
To read the full GIS TAC Report and Recommendations, click here