GIS at the Adirondack Park Agency
The Adirondack Park Agency has over 40 years of experience using Geographic Information Systems and the development and analysis of spatial data.
Cooperative efforts with diverse groups concerned with the Adirondacks have been essential to the rich data resources now available. Consistent commitment to basic cartographic standards, maintaining a high level of staff skill, and investment in cutting-edge technology, are the hallmarks of the Agency’s GIS development efforts.
The Agency cooperates in the New York State GIS Clearinghouse and is a member of the Data Cooperative sponsored by the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coodination.
In State Geographic Information Activities Compendium, 1992, Lisa Warnecke writes:
"The Adirondack Park Agency (APA), created in 1971, was the first state natural resource agency to make a commitment to GIS. Beginning in 1980, with one of the first sites of ERDAS software [third installation, first out-of-state commercial], APA initiated the system to monitor vegetative change and create a one-acre scale baseline of geographic information for the park. Data in the system included park zoning, land cover from Landsat imagery, and soils data from aerial photos. This data was used to create a master plan. Work conducted through the 1980s included efforts with the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh's remote sensing laboratory. Two important projects conducted during this time included an Essex County Forest Productivity Study conducted with SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, and the Lake George Basin study conducted to monitor and evaluate erosion control using high resolution raster data. In 1987, APA began working with E&A [NYS Department of Equalization and Assessment, now Office of Real Property Services] to plot the characteristics of county tax roles onto the existing raster data. E&A had been using Arc/Info software since 1983, and with a consultant's recommendations, APA decided to purchase the same software in addition to its image processing capabilities. Implementation began in 1989, and APA'S old microcomputer system was given to SUNY Plattsburgh where it has been used for wetlands data development and analysis in the park."
Today, the APA GIS provides mapped jurisdictional information required daily by 40 staff in a customized "lookup system".
Data development initiatives have focused on creating 1:24,000 scale base layers including roads, surface water, and municipal boundaries. Agency jurisdictional layers such as zoning, regulatory wetlands, designated rivers, the park boundary, and various administrative data have been developed for staff as well.
The Agency has also been involved in major projects such as the US Forest Service Northern Forest Lands Resource Inventory; the Lake Champlain Basin Program; and the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at SUNY Albany.
During the past decade, several US EPA funded grants have been awarded to the APA to study wetlands and watersheds in the Adirondack Park. These projects are adding significantly to the catalog of geographic data and analysis of information by many interested parties in and around the Adirondack Park.
Cornell University Geospatial Information Repository (CUGIR)
Center for Technology in Government report: Using Technology to Change Work: Technical Results from the APA Prototype October 1995 Abstract and link to full report.