Bowl Games and Big (12) Data

By Casey J. McLaughlin

Our region struck out during bowl season this year but we can still look at some great sources for GIS data!  We started by sharing some of the great sources available from Nebraska; today I turn to our host state of Kansas (for those keeping track, Kansas State lost to Oregon).

I should probably remind readers that I am an alumnus of the University of Kansas (I’m glad for college basketball season — ROCK CHALK) which is also home to several state level geo-related entities.  The primary repository for Kansas’ GeoData is the Kansas Data Access Support Center (DASC).  If you’re looking for Kansas data, , is the place to go with everything from LiDAR to Cell Towers to Aerial Imagery to Geology to Water to Wells.  Most state offices who create GIS data, like the Office of Water, warehouse their data and metadata with DASC.

Aeromagnetic map of Kansas by Yarger, H.L., 1989: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 226, sheet 2.

Not far from DASC (mostly just down the hall) is the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS).  KGS is the primary creator of oil and gas data, water wells, and aeromagnetic data.  Downloadable via, KGS itself connects users with data beyond just locations.  It houses some very relevant and useful data as well as hosts some interesting web maps:

ASTER image (07/06/07) of Coffeyville, KS from KansasView

Next up is KansasView, “a consortium of universities and federal, state and local government working cooperatively to advance the use of remote sensing and GIS technologies in the State of Kansas for education and research and to assist government agencies apply these technologies.” KansasView provides data and information about the Kansas landscape using remote sensed data.

The Kansas Biological Survey (KBS), one building south of DASC and KGS, focuses on holistic environmental analysis.  KBS hosts maps and webservices.  I would highlight the reservoirs datasets that KBS has compiled; each reservoir is listed and most have readily available data and maps of bathymetry – that way you can find the best fishing spots or know the answer when someone asks, “How deep do you think this is?” The GreenReport map depicts “greenness” over the entire county (REST service available).   I’ve heard several stories in the last week about winter wheat conditions in Kansas (specifically) and about potential flooding or drought activities in the spring and summer and this will be one way of monitoring conditions.

The Agency relies on state collected data and Kansas collects, maintains, and distributes a lot of great data.  I know there is much more available; what is on your wish list of Kansas data?

Casey McLaughlin is a first generation Geospatial Enthusiast who has worked with EPA since 2003 as a contractor and now as the Regional GIS Lead. He currently holds the rank of #1 GISer in EPA Region 7′s Environmental Services Division

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