Interior Launches New Crowdsourcing Map Portal

The Interior Department launched a new Web tool Thursday that pulls together a slew of interactive, government-produced maps that users can mash together and lay their own data on top of.

The "geospatial platform," which Interior said is a prototype, also includes some maps from state, local and tribal governments.

Once it's fully realized, the platform will be a "one-stop shop" for trustworthy "place-based data...and the tools to display that data," Assistant Interior Secretary Anne Castle said in a statement.

The ability to map diverse data sets together can be a key tool for everything from environmental researchers looking to reduce pollution in a particular stretch of river to nutrition advocates trying to get more fresh produce into so-called "food deserts."

Castle said the mapping tool would also reduce duplication and inefficiency because maps created in the system by federal agencies, state governments or private sector and non-profit groups will stay stored in the system for the next user.

Interior built the site along with mapping divisions at numerous other agencies.

Maps already posted to the site include nationwide maps of metro and train systems and of Environmental Protection Agency cleanup sites.