Course Objectives

This one-hour course provides an introduction to the GII platform, provides instructional context for the GII user/analyst, and demonstrates tools available within the GII platform.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Recognize the capabilities available through the GII platform
  2. Describe the GII platform features
  3. Describe the procedure for accessing the GII platform
  4. Define the data content available in the GII
  5. Explain how to securely connect the GII platform to mission systems via a token-based security model
  6. Describe how to author a web map in the GII platform
  7. Describe how to use the GII geocode service
  8. Describe how to use the GII to share data
  9. Describe how to use the GII platform to create geospatial products in support of your mission

Lesson 1: Introduction to the GII Platform

Lesson Overview

This lesson provides an introduction to the Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII) platform and capabilities, describes how to access the GII, and describes the value the GII brings to Homeland Security missions.

Objectives: At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Recognize the capabilities available through the GII
  2. Describe the GII features
  3. Describe the procedure for accessing the GII
  4. Define the data content available in the GII
  5. Explain how to securely connect the GII to mission systems via a token-based security model

Welcome to the DHS Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII) Training

Purpose of the Course

This course will familiarize the learner with the controls and functions of the GII platform. Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to apply the GII applications to a real-life scenario.

How Long the Course Will Take

The course is comprised of three modules and a short knowledge assessment. The entire course requires no longer than one hour to complete. A Certificate of Completion will be available for printing at the end of the knowledge assessment.

Navigating the Course

Select the module title to open each of the modules; once you have launched a module, use the controls on the lower right portion of the course window to advance or go back through the content. Click on the “play” icon to start the videos.

Questions and Help

You may click the Help tab, which is located at the upper right of the lesson screen, at any time.

Please enjoy the course!

What is the Geospatial Information Infrastructure?

The Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII) is the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) platform for hosting enterprise geospatial data, tools, applications, and services.

Using HSIN credentials, users can log in to the GII to search, use, and share geospatial content. The GII offers users access to numerous geospatial capabilities, including: web-based map viewing, map services for web and desktop use, analytic services, and developer community support.

The GII is available to the entire HSE to meet their mission needs and the broader needs of the Homeland Security community.

Video Transcript

One of the biggest issues with information sharing at the local government level on larger incidents and sharing that information from the locals to the state up to the federal is that we are using all the same information as much as possible. Generally the local government information from a GIS perspective is more detailed, more granular. Going up to the state and federal level it becomes less granular, more generic because it covers a wider area. But as much as possible of we can share the same information data sets across all the levels to create that common operating picture. One of the problems currently is that some of the data sets that may be available at the federal level are not shareable at the local government level. The more we can have people use the same data sets before the incident so that they are familiar with the data, the better the products, and deliverables will be when the incident occurs.

The GII Provides a Geospatial Information Sharing Platform

The GII provides a secure mechanism to publish and share mission information across the Homeland Security enterprise and share mission information across the HSE.

The GII is the backbone for the DHS Common Operating Picture (COP) Application utilized by DHS Components, DHS OPS Centers, and State Fusion Centers. Other agencies that leverage the GII include, but are not limited to:

  • Department of Interior
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • State Operations Centers
  • Local Operations Centers

The GII’s Value to Homeland Security Missions

Producing a meaningful map to track an incident can be challenging because each event brings unique circumstances. To help with this challenge, authoritative data in the GII allows users to select and display geospatial information that is relevant to the management of a specific incident.

The GII provides geospatial users with access to hundreds of different data layers that can be viewed in the built-in map viewer, or by using a desktop GIS application. The GII also allows direct access to its content library so that other applications can leverage the same data.

Transcript

From the emergency perspective our mission is to help alleviate suffering for any people who have been affected by any kind of disaster or emergency. So we can provide and muster the volunteers and resources to meet those immediate emergency needs until other resources become available for individuals and families. So being able to understand what is happened, where the impact is, that is so important and critical to our mission. So if you look at the emergency phase of the response we need to know where people are, how they have been affected and then you switch to the more long term recovery then we need to look at what resources are available. How people can access those resources and geospatial and geospatial analysis is the key to both of those.

With information sharing, find out who has the data and then the format in which you are going to get it. There are challenges around where a particular piece of data resides immediately after a disaster. A lot of the base data we use in geospatial we know where that is and know how to access it. But during the time of the disaster often times you have to hunt down where a particular data or information is so you can use it in your individual agency geospatial technology. So I see information sharing as having a one-stop shop or repository that you know you can always go and get information after a response is something needed nationally so that we know we can go to one place to find data related to response and recovery. Close

GII Provides Secure Data Feeds to Mission Systems

The GII is designed to provide back-end data feeds to mission systems, and is fully compliant and consistent with DHS enterprise architecture. Examples include:

DHS GII Data Services

  • More than 600 federal critical infrastructure layers
  • Ortho-imagery
  • Elevation data
  • Basemaps
  • Integrated federal partner data & alerts

DHS GII Enterprise Tools, Applications, and Services

  • Federated Search Service with GeoPlatform
  • DHS Common Operating Picture (COP) Application
  • Request for Information (RFI)
  • Geocoding Service
  • Geospatial Application Hosting Service
  • Geospatial Developer APIs

A Quick Tour of the GII Interface

The GII interface is easy to navigate. Select each link to learn more:

Home

The GII homepage allows you to access all HSE geospatial tools, applications, and geodata. In addition, you are able to navigate to various geospatial resources. The homepage also provides a user guide, a how-to-video, and shows what is geospatially trending in the GII.

Gallery

The Gallery allows you to browse featured maps based on common infrastructure data themes.

Map

Using the map viewer, you can create and save web maps. Web maps enable users to discover, create, and upload user-defined content in a thematic environment. Web maps can be shared with other users or Groups on the GII. They can also be deployed on web browsers, mobile devices, or desktop map viewers sometimes referred to as Mission Defined Operating Pictures (MDOPs) or User Defined Operating Pictures (UDOPS).

Groups

Groups are communities of interest where users can collaborate, discover, share, and create content that is related to a specific organizational structure, geography, or theme. Anyone in your organization can create groups as a way to organize his or her content. As a group owner, you decide who can find the group, if others can request to join, and what roles or level of access you provision to members.

My Content

All items that you create or upload to the GII are accessible through your personal My Content page. You can organize your data in folders, and share all items through the My Content page.

My Organization

The My Organization page is used primarily by the GII portal administrator to manage the portal website and members. This page may not be available to you if you are not an administrator.

Search

The GII is federated with other partner systems such as the Federal Geospatial Platform (GeoPlatform). This federation provides users a way to discover and use content across multiple platforms and portals without having to navigate away from their current GII session.

Accessing the GII Platform

To obtain individual access to the GII platform, you must have an HSIN account.

To request an HSIN account, send an email to [email protected], or call the HSIN help desk at 1-866-430-0162. When requesting an HSIN account, ask for the GIS Community of Interest (COI) to ensure that your request is directed to the correct source.

If you require a secure web data service connection for your geospatial web application (i.e., a Common Operating Picture, GIS Portal, etc.), please see Module 2: GII In-Depth.

If you need help with the GII platform, e-mail the DHS Geospatial Management Office at: [email protected].

The GII Streamlines Decision-Making Efforts

The GII platform facilitates situational awareness and improves decision-making efforts before, during, and in the aftermath of any natural or man-made disaster by allowing users to manage and share critical information for emergency and non-emergency incidents that affect homeland security.

By providing access to more than 600 foundational and infrastructure data layers, the GII allows users to customize their individual views by adding relevant data that supports their unique missions.

The GII platform not only makes geospatial information discoverable, accessible, timely, and relevant, it also allows for tailored applications and tools that enhance analytics and predictive analysis.

Video Transcript

GIS in general has empowered our agency to look at the historic trends and not just on a large scale, the 10,000 foot level, but get down to the granular and say where we exactly having issues now, where are our incidents happening now, where have they been occurring over a long period of time. So we have been collecting coordinates for all of our incident locations, all of our arrests and seizures. We are able now to analysis exactly where that stuff has been occurring and that allows us then take a look at where that could potentially occur in the future. It allows us to take a look at predictive modeling. We can take a look at the entire border and say where all of our assets are, where we have the ability to look. Whether it is camera sites, unattended ground sensors, or imaging sensors, whatever it happens to be we are able to take a look at the full capability and then take a look at where our incidents are occurring. Then take a look at where our gaps are and whether or not we can expect incidents to occur in those gap areas. Quite frankly, it has empowered us to have more efficient operations in the field. I believe that will continue, particularly with our increased ability to interact with other agencies. Moving forward it allows us to leverage their information, similar information, so we can take into consideration or account what resources they have, what incidents they have and see how that can help us make our mission easier. Make the results of our missions more effective. Make the operations more efficient.

The GII Provides Data Flexibility

You can select from various basemaps that reside on the GII. Once you select a basemap and area of interest, you can add your business, operational, or mission information layers.

These layers can include ArcGIS Server services, KML documents, or OGC WMS services located on the GII website, the web, or ArcGIS for Server. Also, you can create features and add features from text files, GPS files, and shape files.

Users and analysts can also upload content or use content within GIS desktop applications.

The GII Contains a Variety of Geospatial Data

GII includes the following types of geospatial data:
  • Imagery/Remote Sensing
  • Feeds from Northcom’s SAGE information sharing platform
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hazards including earthquakes and other types of natural hazards
  • Weather, Oceans, and Riverine data, including NOAA weather watches, warnings and advisories, NOAA near real-time observations, FEMA 100 and 500 year floodplain boundaries, and the USGS stream gauges
  • DHS Facilities and Assets including CBP, USCG, FEMA, TSA, USCIS, and USSS
  • Landscan daytime and nighttime population information for CONUS, Alaska, and Hawaii
  • More than 600 federal critical infrastructure layers

The GII Supports Several Types of Data Files

The GII supports storage of the following data files:

  • Map template (as a .zip)
  • Delimited text file (.csv and .txt)
  • Shapefiles (as a .zip)
  • Excel
  • Word
  • PDFs

The GII supports mapping of the following data files:

  • Delimited text file (.csv and .txt)
  • Shapefiles (using a .zip)
  • GPS file (.gpx)
  • ArcGIS Server Web Service
  • Web Mapping Service (WMS)
  • KML
  • GeoRSS
Natural disasters, man-made disasters, special security events… when these happen, there isn’t any time to search for infrastructure specific geospatial information. We need that information right now to plan a response, to locate survivors, provide shelter, and provide security. In the past, this information was fragmented, out of date, scattered across computer tools, scattered across the agency’s jurisdictions… some in government databases, some in commercial databases.  That’s why the national geospatial-intelligence agency, in partnership with other federal agencies, created the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program, HSIP. HSIP gathers the best available data from federal, state, local, and commercial sources… combines and integrates it and makes it available for homeland and emergency preparedness, response and recovery, and special security events.  “We look at the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program as a key component of the partnership with the GA and the rest of the geospatial intelligence community. These are data layers we going to need for just about any event we go to, that answers question of “What does this mean” versus just giving them more information or more imagery which may or may not help to make a better decision. The Homeland Security Infrastructure Program places the geospatial information into the hands of the end users so that, again, we are able to get the best tools to decision makers so that, with the information at hand, they make the best decision possible. We now get a better understanding of what impacts are occurring; overlooking imagery we’re looking at that analysis.”  The HSIP mission is to support the Homeland Security, homeland defense, and the emergency preparedness response and recovery communities with baseline geospatial data. HSIP consists of three parts: HSIP Gold contains infrastructure data that agencies can use to develop exercise response plans to acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other homeland security events. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, it was used to identify key infrastructure to locate citizens in need, conduct damage assessments, monitor levy stability, issue navigational advisories, and many other actions. Imagery, high-resolution airborne imagery collected over 133 cities and over other locations prior to security events. Elevation data, high-resolution elevation data, primarily light detection and ranging, also collected over 133 cities and over other locations prior to security events.  HSIP is a clearing house so critical information to help decision makers and planners develop a common frame of reference. It pulls together information from a wide array of sources for 18 types of infrastructure and other common geospatial information, builds a geospatial framework for it, and provides it to federal users supporting Homeland Security and homeland defense. HSIP Gold now supports approximately 140,000 across 14 departments that include 96 agencies with 450 vector data layers for infrastructure including water, transportation, healthcare, energy, communications, national monuments, and a host of others. The data represents NGA’s best available for the Homeland Security mission in accuracy, coverage, and attribution. HSIP assists in answering critical questions such as – where are hospitals, where are shelters, what’s the best place to distribute relief supplies, and just as important, HSIP provides common operational data to users in different agencies and different locations, enabling them to work together to build a picture tailored to their mission, and to work more efficiently to solve urgent problems. HSIP Gold also includes access to the best of commercial databases, which can be made available to users during presidentially declared disasters. A recent improvement in HSIP, is a new licensing agreement that allows it to disseminate transportation data to state and local governments. Helping to build HSIP is a voluntary coalition of federal, state, and local agencies called the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation Level D – Highfield. Highfield has four official members, the national geospatial intelligence agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the US Geological Survey, and over 4200 contributing partners. HIGHFIELD assists in coordination of wiring data from across a huge array of federal agencies – from agriculture, energy, defense, commerce, interior, and many others. And, it assists in data acquisition and sharing in keeping HSIP up to date, and in collecting requirements from users for improved data. “HSIP allows us to basically hit the ground running within an hour. I can’t tell you how valuable that has been to us because we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs in a timely manner without HSIP. When you look out at all of it when you combine the 18 critical infrastructure sectors, you get a pretty amazing picture of what could go wrong and how you would need to respond if there was something that occurred. In an emergency, NGA can provide geospatial intelligence using HSIP Gold on site with domestic mobile integrated geospatial intelligence system – DMIGS – as requested by a lead federal agency. DMIGS has the tools to combine with HSIP data with real-time NGA collection, and provide up to the minute intelligence to first responders and decision makers. NGA is applying its expertise in geospatial intelligence to the homeland security mission, and is working with mission partners to acquire the best in federal, state, local, commercial, and publicly available data, and integrate it into a single HSIP database. Many Homeland Security organizations are using HSIP to prepare for, deter, prevent, and respond to domestic terrorist threats, and natural disasters. HSIP Gold emphasizes common geospatial baseline data to support the operations of Homeland Security, homeland defense, the emergency preparedness response and recovery communities. HSIP brings together geospatial data that used to be too scattered to be used. Now a wide array of agencies involved in a disaster or security event can use a single integrated resource. HSIP: putting the power of geospatial intelligence in the user’s hands. If you support a federal agency, you may already have access to HSIP Gold. If not, you can request a copy at www.HIFLDWG.org.

The GII Allows Secure Data Feeds to Mission Systems

The GII is designed to provide back-end data feeds to external mission systems, and is fully compliant and consistent with DHS enterprise architecture.

Because of the licensed and restricted use of this data, applications and system owners must adhere to the Data Use Agreement and Terms and Conditions as if they were an individual user.

To streamline this effort, the DHS Geospatial Management Office (GMO) has implemented a management control for application and system owners to connect to the GII map services through a token-based security module.

Video Transcript

The standardization of information in particular geospatial has been improved over the last few years. I think some of the technologies within the geospatial world have allowed for a more standardized sharing of information. But we are getting to a point now with things like REST, SOAP, and WMS that they are great to put in your flex viewers so they can be put in other types of web applications. The challenge is that we want to get to actual raw data to bring into our GIS so that we can do analysis on it. So the pendulum has swung from getting and passing shape files back and forth via email or FTP to now services and providing the data in some of service you can use in your web application. So now I think one of the challenges is where is the middle? So you can use the data to use within an agency’s GIS application but also have those services you can quickly stand up in your web application.

Secure Data Feeds: Requesting a Token

To provide secure data feeds to external mission systems, GII users must request an authentication token from the GMO. The token will be issued to the system owner and used to consume GII web services within your system or GIS desktop applications.

Unique tokens are generated per system owner and tracked through GII administration controls to maintain the integrity of the token use.

Token authentication expires annually, requiring the system owner to renew Data Use Agreements and Terms and Conditions.

Click here to download GII Token Instructions

Secure Data Feeds: Token Change Request

If the information provided in your original token request changes, then you can send a change request to the GMO, [email protected], with the token given to you and the information that needs to be changed.

You will receive a confirmation email once the change has been completed.

Lesson Summary

This lesson presented the following topics:
  • The GII is a web-based geospatial information environment for the homeland security community, sponsored by the Geospatial Management Office (GMO).
  • The GII offers access to numerous geospatial capabilities including: web-based map viewing, map services for web and desktop use, analytic services, and developer community support.
  • The GII is designed to provide back-end data feeds to mission systems, and is fully compliant and consistent with DHS enterprise architecture.
  • How to access and navigate the GII.
The GII capabilities allow users and analysts to create, manage, and share geospatial information and products in support of all DHS missions.

The next lesson will explore the GII in greater detail.

Lesson Overview

This lesson provides a detailed explanation of the data contained within the Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII) platform, explains how to connect the GII to mission systems, and demonstrates how to publish data for secure sharing.

Objectives: At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe how to author a web map in the GII platform
  • Describe how to use the GII geocode service
  • Describe how to use the GII to share data

Getting Started: Author a Web Map in the GII

You can create and share a web map in four basic steps:
  1. Select or upload a basemap and zoom to an area or search by its name or address
  2. Decide what data layers to show
  3. Add map notes to draw features on the map
  4. Save and share your map
You can build your web map in the GII by starting from a new map or working with an existing one. With either approach, you can select a basemap, add data layers, add notes and features on the map, save the map as a content item, and share it with others.

Accessing Common Basemaps in GII

A basemap provides a background of geographical context for the content that you want to display on a map. When you create a new map, you can choose which basemap you want to use. You can change the basemap of the current map at any time by using the basemap gallery, or by uploading your own layer as the basemap.

Using the Map feature in the GII, you can select from 12 common basemaps: Bing Maps Aerial, Bing Maps Hybrid, Bing Maps Road (default), Imagery, Imagery with Labels, Light Gray Canvas, National Geographic, Oceans Basemap, Open Street Map, Streets, Terrain with Labels, and Topographic.

Simply select the basemap you wish to use and it will appear in the map area.

Adding Data Layers to a Map: Searching for Layers in the GII

There are four ways you can add layers to your map:

  • Search for layers in the GII
  • Add layers from the web
  • Add layers from a file
  • Add map notes

By default, you will see the GII’s built-in layer options in the “Search for Layers” window.

Video Transcript

To search for an existing layer to add to your map, follow these steps. First, open the map viewer and zoom in to the area of concern. Select the “Add” tab and then select “Search for Layers.” By default, the built-in layers within the GII display in the results list, but you can also search for layers from the web, a GIS server, or from your My Content page.

For this demonstration, we will search for layers in the GII. You may either scroll through the list, or type key words into the “Find” field, separating key words with a comma. Check the “Within map area” check box, and then select the “Go” button.

Select a layer title to see a pop-up summary of the layer. If you want to use this layer as a basemap, you can select the “Use as Basemap” option. To add the layer to the map, you can either select “Add to map” on the pop up window, or Select “Add” to the right of the title in the results list. Select the “Done Adding Layers” button to close the Search for Layers window.

Adding Data Layers to a Map: Adding Layers from the Web

You can add a data layer to your map by referencing the URL to a specific service layer. The GII allows you to access the following layer types through a URL:

Format Description

ArcGIS Server Web Service

A map, image, or feature resource that is located on the ArcGIS Server

Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) – Web Mapping Service (WMS)

A map that follows the OGC Web Map Service specification

OGC Web Mapping Tile Service

A set of cached image tiles that follows the OGC Web Map Tile Service specification

Tile Layer

A set of web-accessible tiles that reside on a server. The tiles are accessed by a direct URL request from the web browser. The URL contains values which are used by the map viewer to dynamically request the tiles that correspond with the extent and scale of the web map as you pan and zoom

KML

An XML notation for expressing geographic annotation and visualization within Internet-based, two-dimensional maps and three-dimensional Earth browsers

GeoRSS

A Real Simple Syndicated (RSS) aggregator feed that includes geographic features and locations

CSV

A web-based, comma-separated values text file of features that includes location information

Bing Maps Base Maps

Add Bing Maps Road, Aerial, or Hybrid map as a base layer

Adding Data Layers to a Map: Adding Layers from the Web

Once you know the URL you need to reference to find your map layer, you can add it to your map as a layer or as a basemap. Layers that are added from URLs are stored on the referenced URL, not in the GII itself.

Video Transcript

To add a data layer from the web, start by opening the map viewer. Select the Add tab and choose “Add Layer from Web.”

Next, select what type of data you are referencing. For this example, select “An ArcGIS Server Web Service” from the drop down menu. Enter the layer’s web address in the URL field. If you want to use the layer as a basemap, check the box next to “Use as Basemap.” Select the “Add Layer” button. To display the file, you must select “Show All Content” when the message box appears on the bottom of the screen. A known error message will appear stating, “This portal is configured to require that only URLs accessed over HTTPS can be added” will appear. Click “OK” and the data will load on the left panel of the window. To place the layer on your map, check the box next to the web service layer. Notice the layer is added to the map.

Adding Data Layers to a Map: Adding Layers from Files

You can add tabular data to your map provided the file contains location attributes (i.e., latitude/ longitude, address, city/state) and are in either CSV or TXT delimited text. GPS files can be added in GPX format. The map viewer adds the location information, draws features on the map for each item in the file, and stores the information in the web map as a layer.

Once you’ve added your feature file to the map, you can edit the properties of the layer that is created. For example, you can configure pop-up windows, change symbols, set the visibility range, enable editing, and remove pop-up windows.

Video Transcript

To add a layer from a file, open the map viewer and select the “Add” tab. Choose “Add Layer from File.” Browse to the file on your computer. Select the “Import Layer” button. The layer will appear in the Content list to the left of your map. Select the check box next to the layer and the layer will display on the map. Once you’ve added your file to the map, you can edit the properties of the layer that is created. For example, you can configure or remove pop-up windows, change symbols, set the visibility range, and enable editing.

Adding Data Layers to a Map: Adding Map Notes

You can add your data directly to a map by adding a map notes layer. These layers are useful for adding a small number of features to a map, for example, potential road blocks.

When you add a map notes layer, it is stored in the map; it cannot be saved separately, downloaded, or used independently. Only you, the map author, can edit the layer.

Video Transcript

To add a map notes layer, follow these steps. First, open the map viewer and Select the Add tab. Choose Add Map Notes from the drop down menu. Enter a name for the layer. Choose a layer template. Each template includes a set of related shapes and symbols. For example, the Park Planning template includes symbols for picnic areas and bicycle trails, and the Oil & Gas Infrastructure template has symbols for oil refineries and treatment facilities. Select Create. A template appears in the left side of the map. Select a shape or symbol, and then select the map where you’d like to add the feature. A pop-up window appears where you can add information at title, description and URL links related to the feature.

If you want to create your own symbol, select the Change Symbol button at the bottom of the pop-up window. Select the Close button. The information you add to your pop-up window is automatically saved.

Using the GII Geocode Service

The GII provides a geocode service that translates street address information into lat/long data that can be viewed on any mapping application.

1. Create

1. Create a street address spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel*. The minimum fields to be included in the spreadsheet are: Identification Number, Address, City, State, Zip Code. The ID field must be populated with a numeric value. * Supported Excel versions include versions 97 – 2003 (.xls) or Microsoft Excel versions 2007 – 2010 (.xlsx)

Click here to open a spreadsheet template

2. Enter

2. Enter a title for the geocode request in the text box labeled “Name of Job.”
Image of geocode upload section including: Name of Job and Upload File fields, and a “Submit Job” button

3. Upload

3. Upload a file by selecting “Browse.” A Windows Explorer window will open. Browse to the file that will be uploaded and select “Open.” Then select “Submit Job.”
Image of geocode upload section including: Name of Job and Upload File fields, and a “Submit Job” button

4. Wait

4. After the file has been uploaded to the geocode server, you can leave the site or continue to browse through other services. The geocode process will take a few minutes to complete. The file status will change from yellow to green when the geocode request has completed processing.
Image of geocode file status section including: Status, Job Title, File Name, and Date Created fields

5. Download

5. Once the file has been geocoded, it can be downloaded as a KML or Excel file, or be viewed in the pop-up map window. Note: Only the first 100 results can currently be viewed in the pop-up map window. Geocoded files can be downloaded up to 14 days after being uploaded.
Image of the geocode interface showing the “Download Excel” and “Download KML” buttons

Geocoding Addresses of Suspicious Activity

The next demonstration uses a spreadsheet that has been pre-populated with a list of addresses where suspicious activity has occurred in Washington, D.C.

The GII platform enables you to geocode these addresses, save and prepare the file for mapping, and upload the file to use for mapping analysis.

Video Transcript

To use the geocoding service on the GII, start by selecting “Geocoding” on the GII homepage.

Enter a title for the geocode request in the text box labeled “Name of Job.” Upload a file by selecting “Browse.” A Windows Explorer window will open. Browse to the file that you want to upload and Select “Open.” Select “Submit Job.”

After the file has been uploaded to the geocode server, you can leave the site or continue to browse through other services. The geocode process will take a few minutes to complete. The file status will change from yellow to green when the geocode request has completed processing.

Once the file has been geocoded, it can be downloaded as a KML or Excel file, or be viewed in the pop-up map window. Note that geocoded files can be downloaded up to 14 days after being uploaded.

Preparing the Geocoded File to be Loaded into the Map Viewer

The newly geocoded file can be saved and loaded into the map viewer. However, the Excel file must be saved as a CSV (Comma-Separated Value) file before it can be uploaded.

Video Transcript

To prepare the geocoded file to be loaded into the map viewer, follow these steps. Select the geocoded file in the View/Download Results table. Select the “Download Excel” button. Save the Excel file to a drive. Open the file in Excel. Notice the five fields which were given to the original file and the newly created fields that were created from the geocoding process.

To prepare the geocoded file to be loaded into the map viewer, follow these steps. Select the geocoded file in the View/Download Results table. Select the “Download Excel” button. Save the Excel file to a drive. Open the file in Excel. Notice the five fields which were given to the original file and the newly created fields that were created from the geocoding process.

Publishing Data to the GII for Secure Sharing

If you’ve added an item or created and saved a map in the GII, you can share it with others. By default, the files in “My Content” are private, which means they do not appear in search results and they are not part of any group. You have several options for sharing your items:

Everyone — Sharing with everyone makes your item public; anyone who has access to the portal website can find and use it, and group owners can include it in their group content.

Groups — If you are a member of a group, you can share your item with that group. Sharing with specific groups restricts access to a smaller, more focused set of people.

Groups and everyone — You can share an item with a larger audience (everyone on your portal) then also share it with a specific group. This allows you to categorize your item as especially relevant to a particular group while still making it available to others in your organization.

GII Groups: Join and Share a Group

The Groups link provides an efficient way to share and leverage content within or outside of your immediate organization.

Groups are communities of interest where users can collaborate, discover, share, and create content that is related to a specific organizational structure, geography, or theme. You can create groups as a way to organize your content. As a group owner, you decide who can find the group, if others can request to join, and what roles or level of access you provision to members.

Video Transcript

The first step in working with groups is to join a group. Select the Groups tab at the top of the window. To find a group to join, select “List all public groups.” Select a link to explore the group contents. If you wish to join the group, simply select the “Join This Group” option and then click the Submit Request button. Your request for membership will be sent to the group administrator for review. You can share any group that you find on the GII by selecting the Share link. A Share window appears that allows you to e-mail a link or embed the group in a website. No programming is required.

Lesson Summary

In this module, you have learned how to author a web map by:
  • Adding data layers from the GII
  • Adding files from your computer
  • Adding data layers from the web
  • Adding map notes
You have also learned how to use the GII Geocode service, publish data to the GII for secure sharing, and how to share information using the Groups feature.

These GII capabilities allow you to manage and share critical information during all phases of natural and man-made disasters that affect Homeland Security.

The next lesson will explore the GII in greater detail.

Lesson 3: GII In Use

Lesson Overview

This lesson provides detailed demonstrations of the Geospatial Information Infrastructure’s (GII) map visualization capabilities. The lesson revolves around a scenario where sources have reported suspicious activity in several Washington, DC neighborhoods. The lessons demonstrate how to create an operational picture to analyze the possible threat.

Objectives: At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe how to use the GII platform to create an operational picture to analyze a threat

Putting It All Together: A GII Scenario

Sources have reported recent suspicious activity in several Washington, D.C. neighborhoods. You need to create an operational picture to analyze the possible threat, support critical infrastructure, protect the public, and expedite response in case the suspicious activity becomes an actual incident.

The following scenario demonstrates how to:

  • Select a basemap
  • Add local data to the basemap
  • Add federal critical infrastructure data
  • Add a web service
  • Add map notes
  • Save the map
  • Share the map

Getting Started: Selecting a Basemap

Steps:
  1. On the GII homepage, select “Create a Map”.
  2. Zoom in to the area of interest (Washington, D.C.).
  3. Select the “Basemap” tab.
  4. Select a basemap from the 12 options.
Remember, you can switch to a different basemap at any time.

Video Transcript

To begin building your map, start by selecting a basemap. On the GII homepage, select “Create a Map”. Zoom into the area of interest. Select the “Basemap” tab. There are 12 basemaps available. For this scenario, the “Bing Maps Hybrid” works best, as it provides satellite imagery with street and place names. Remember that you can switch to a different basemap at any time.

Adding Content from Your Computer Video

Steps:
  1. On the My Map page, select the “Add” drop-down menu.
  2. Select “Add Layer from File”.
  3. Browse to the geocoded file.
  4. Select “Import Layer”.
  5. Select “Change Symbols” from the drop-down menu to the right of the layer name.
  6. Select the “Change Symbol” button and choose from a variety of symbols.
  7. Select “Done Changing Symbols”.

Video Transcript

Next, you need to add the locations of the suspicious activities to your map. You already have a geocoded file on your computer that you created earlier containing five locations of suspicious activity in Washington, DC. From the My Map page, Select the “Add” dropdown menu and then select “Add Layer from File.” Search for and select the geocoded CSV file that was previously created. Select “Import Layer.” The new file is added in the “Contents” section. Select the dropdown menu to the right of the layer and select “Zoom to.” The dropdown menu also provides options such as changing symbols and changing the layer name.

Select the dropdown menu to the right of the layer and select “Change Symbols.” Select “Change Symbol.” In the dropdown menu, you can select from a number of different symbol templates. You can change the size of the symbol by using the scroll bar, or by selecting a pixel size. When you have the symbol you like, select “Done.” Select “Done Changing Symbols” on the bottom of the contents area and notice the symbol change on your map.

Adding Existing GII Content Video

Steps:
  1. On the My Map page, select the “Add” drop-down menu.
  2. Select “Search for Layers”.
  3. Select “Add” next to any layers you wish to add to your map.
  4. Select “Done Adding Layers”.

Video Transcript

The GII platform is loaded with HSIP data. To determine the risks and potential support needed around the suspicious activity, you will add HSIP data that applies to the scenario. Select the “Add” button. Select “Search for Layers.” HSIP data within the GII will load below. The “Find” box may also be used to search for specific data. For this scenario, you may want to add DHS IAL and Law Enforcement datasets. Select “Add” next to any desired layers. Select “Done Adding Layers.” Notice the additional data layers that appear on the map.

Adding Web Services

Steps:
  1. On the My Map page, select the “Add” drop-down menu.
  2. Select “Add Layer from Web”.
  3. Copy/paste the web service URL.
  4. Check the box next to the new layer and the layer will appear on the map.

Video Transcript

The GII Platform allows for web services to be added to maps in order to provide additional functionality. Select the “Add” button. Select “Add Layer from Web”. For this scenario, you may want to include DC’s emergency transfer locations in case there are evacuations. Copy and paste the web service address into the URL box.

To place the layer on your map, check the box next to the web service layer. Notice the new points that are added to the map.

Adding Map Notes

Steps:
  1. On the My Map page, select the “Add” drop-down menu.
  2. Select “Add Map Notes”.
  3. Name the Map Notes “Road Block”.
  4. Select the “Map Notes” Template.
  5. Select the “Road Block Areas Triangle”.
  6. Select an intersection on the map to add the triangle.
  7. Change the title to “Road Block”.
  8. Add a description.
  9. Select “Close”.
Map Notes allow users to add and store data directly to the map.  In this scenario, you may want to add map notes at strategic intersections where road blocks should be created. Select the “Add” button. Select “Add Map Notes.” Name the Map Notes “Road Block.” Templates provide a variety of symbols to use for map notes.

Select the Map Notes template.  Select the “Road Block Areas Triangle.” Select an intersection on the map to add it. Change the title to “Road Block.” Add a description stating “Road block for security purposes.”  Select “Close.” Notice that the map note is now added to the map.

Saving the Map

Steps:
  1. Select “Save” at the top of the map window.
  2. Give the map a title.
  3. Add tags for easy searching.
  4. Add a summary.
  5. Select “Save Map”.
  6. The newly created map appears in the “My Content” section.

Video Transcript

You have added a basemap, local data, HSIP data, a web service, and map notes to the map. Now it is ready to save and share. Select “Save” at the top of the map window. Give the map a title such as “Suspicious Activity in Washington D.C.”

Now, add tag information. Tags are descriptive words for the map that will allow for easy searching…. For this map, you can add “Washington D.C. … Suspicious Activity … and, Road Blocks” selecting the Enter key on your keyboard after each tag.

Finally, provide a summary of the map in the “Summary” text box. Use the dropdown menu to select where you want to save the map. Select “Save Map.” In the “My Content” section, you will see the newly created map.

Sharing the Map

Steps:
  1. Select “My Content” from the “Home” drop-down menu.
  2. Select “View Item Details” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select “Share”.
  4. Check the box next to the groups to which you want to make your map available.
  5. Select “OK”.

Video Transcript

After the map has been saved, it can be shared with the groups and organizations to which you belong so others can see your map.

In “My Content,” find the map that was created. Select “View Item Details” from the dropdown menu next to the map title. Select “Share.” Then select the groups to which you want to make the map available and then select “OK.” Now users who have permissions to those groups will be able to view your map.

Lesson Summary

The GII allows users to combine basemaps, federal critical infrastructure layers, web services, and CSV files to create, save, and share maps. This scenario demonstrated how these data and services can be used to analyze suspicious activity in Washington, D.C. by:
  • Adding a basemap
  • Adding local data to the map
  • Adding federal critical infrastructure data
  • Adding a web service
  • Adding map notes
  • Saving the map
  • Sharing the map

Lesson 4: GII Tradecraft

Lesson Overview

The DHS GII platform offers robust capabilities that streamline your ability to create and share geospatial information. This module will present the benefits of the DHS GII, including the advantages of using web applications (web apps) within the DHS GII, and posting to the GII from your desktop application.

Objectives: At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the core functionality of the DHS Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII) platform.
  • Explain how to create web apps with the DHS GII platform.
  • Explain the process of sharing geospatial products and information from ArcMap to the DHS GII.

What Makes the DHS GII Unique?

The DHS GII platform provides Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) users across all levels of government a trusted and secure platform for sharing geospatial information.

The DHS GII platform provides:

  • A Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU)-level trusted environment for sharing and viewing geospatial data, creating products, and collaborating with trusted partners.
  • A federated search feature with other federal data catalogs.
  • Foundational and operational geospatial data.
  • Analytic and visualization tools.
  • A process for migrating Homeland Security users from “C drive” to the secure cloud.

Core Capabilities of the DHS GII

The core capabilities of the DHS GII allow you to:
  • Securely search, discover and access: DHS Operational Data; Homeland Security Infrastructure-Level Data (HIFLD);
  • Access partner data feeds that include DHS components, federal operation centers, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) (including Remote Sensing Data)
  • Access integrated search capabilities with a community of interest’s platform (i.e., GeoPlatform, NGA, etc.)
  • Create and share web maps and other derived products
  • Share and collaborate with other users
  • Access common applications and tools (i.e., geocoding and visualization tools)

Benefits of Creating a Web App in the DHS GII

The DHS GII platform provides templates for creating web apps from existing web maps. The templates eliminate the need for custom programming. Various templates are included in the DHS GII, providing different functionality.

Web app template functionality allows you to:

  • View changes in data over time
  • Highlight areas of impact and summarize data related to a location
  • Access integrated search capabilities with a community of interest’s platform (i.e., GeoPlatform, NGA, etc.)
  • Swipe before and after imagery to observe changes between imaging dates

How to Create a Web App in the DHS GII

  1. To create a web app in the DHS GII, you must first save a web map by clicking the “Save Map” button.
  2. Click the “Share” button.
  3. Click “Make a Web Application” on the bottom of the window.
  4. Choose the application template you want to use from the various options. 
  5. Click “Publish” below the selected template.
  6. Provide tags and a summary and click “Save and Publish” below.
Find out more by going to:   https://gii.dhs.gov/gii/home/group.html?owner=ADMIN&title=GII%20Story%20Maps[gii.dhs.gov]

*GII login permissions required.

Benefits of Publishing to the DHS GII from a Desktop Application

You can publish to the GII platform from your desktop application. This offers several benefits, including:
  • Rigorous secure cloud backup, so you won’t lose your data
  • Access controlled geospatial environment dedicated to serving the HSE
  • Direct access to current, authoritative and widely used data sources
  • Ability to share and archive data and map products in a controlled repository 
  • Ability to collaborate with other geospatial practitioners in real time
  • Leveraging of community architecture and capabilities at no cost to your organization
 

How to Publish to the DHS GII from a Desktop Application

The GII allows users to publish data from ArcMap as a feature layer in a web map.
  1. ArcGIS Desktop must be connected to the GII. Connecting is done through the ArcGIS Administrator.
  2. Once connected, data and maps can be published from an ArcMap to the DHS GII.
  3. Data uploaded to your “My Content” area can be shared with individuals or groups through permission settings.
  4. Depending on the sharing options, the feature layer will be searchable in the DHS GII.
For more information, go to:   https://gii.dhs.gov/gii/home/group.html?owner=ADMIN&title=GII%20Story%20Maps[gii.dhs.gov]

*GII login permissions required.

Getting More Information

Additional courses for creating web apps, publishing from ArcMap to DHS GII, and other related topics are available on the DHS GII home page at https://gii.dhs.gov/gii.

Esri training on publishing hosted features is located here: http://server.arcgis.com/en/portal/latest/use/publish-features.htm#ESRI_SECTION1_94021BE7D875474681DAD20D05A90AF6

Esri training on creating web apps is located here: http://server.arcgis.com/en/portal/latest/use/ welcome.htm

DHS GII Tradecraft: Summary

The DHS GII platform offers several new benefits to the geospatial community, such as creating web apps, and posting to the DHS GII from your desktop application. These new capabilities provide a more efficient way to create and share geospatial information.

This lesson provided an explanation of the DHS GII’s core capabilities, the steps for creating web apps, and the process of sharing geospatial products and information from ArcMap to the DHS GII.