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Kentucky Offers GIS As a Utility

Kentucky Provides Access to GIS Raster and Vector Data Throughout the State

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The Commonwealth Office of Technology's Division of Geographic Information (DGI) has created two new geographic information system (GIS) utilities supporting enterprise GIS across the state.  The new utilities, KYRaster and KYVector have become the supporting infrastructure to DGI's Kentucky Geography Network, or KYGEONET, which is a repository for Kentucky GIS data resources.  KYGEONET may be accessed by all state agencies, regional entities and local governments within Kentucky. 

The two new utilities are based on software products from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI).  ESRI’s ArcSDE product is used to manage more than 12 raster data layers within KYRaster and nearly 125 layers of vector data in KYVector for users throughout the state.  GIS data is segmented into layers that overlay a master map of Kentucky.  Each layer represents specific geographic information, such as roads, forests, water resources, city and county boundaries and hunting and fishing sites.  Says  Kent Anness, GIS Manager of DGI, “This true enterprise implementation will allow agencies that are just getting into GIS to enter this exciting field without having to buy a server to store base data.  Being able to serve this data to entities across the state is reducing the cost and resources required for departmental use of GIS.”

KYRaster and KYVector are housed in Kentucky's state-of-the-art Commonwealth Data Center in Frankfort under the direction of Gov. Fletcher, Sec. Rudolph, Commissioner Mike Inman and DGI Director Gary Harp.  These resources reside in two mirrored ArcSDE instances in order to separate data traffic and reduce contention between users for the GIS data resources. 

One instance supports more than 40 thematic ArcIMS sites, Kentucky’s connection to the USGS National Map, the Geospatial One Stop and the newly created Kentucky Event Mapping & Analysis Portal (KEMAP).  The secure KEMAP service was created for Kentucky Homeland Security, the National Guard, Kentucky State Police, Emergency Management and other entities that have a true need for access to such information. 

The second ArcSDE instance is dedicated to providing all users on the commonwealth’s wide area network (WAN) with direct access to all geospatial data resources that are available through KYGEONET.  Through the WAN, data stewards, or KYGEONET data publishers, can securely connect to their workspace and provide updates as new data is generated.  These updates are then rolled into the master ArcSDE instance so all users have immediate access to the most current information.  Nearly 9,000 unique visitors accessed these resources in May 2005. 

Kentucky's enterprise approach to GIS is driving down the cost of entry for new GIS users.  In the past, it was very common for most GIS workstations in state government to have a second hard disk drive that held all file-based orthoimagery and topographic maps.  Users are now indicating that their direct access to KyRaster provides them with desktop imagery at speeds as fast as previously experienced when imagery was stored on their local hard drives.

The new services were formally announced to GIS users during the April meeting of the ESRI Kentucky GIS User’s Group.  At the meeting, approximately 100 attendees were given an overview of the services along with a demonstration of how the services could be accessed.  The response and feedback are overwhelmingly positive. There are plans for expansion of the services with more layers and provision of these services to local and regional units of government and, subsequently, the private sector. All of this will be carried out via the network and will be bolstered by Gov. Fletcher's ConnectKentucky initiative to saturate the commonwealth with broadband connectivity by the year 2007.

For more information, contact Adam Kent Anness, GIS manager, Division of Geographic Information (tel.: 502-573-1450, ext. 235; e-mail:

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Last Updated 7/6/2005