USFWS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project

Quick Facts

Purpose: The goal of the SharedGeo Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project is to serve and share current and historical spatial data that are related to the Great Lakes area, surrounding watersheds and wildlife habitats. The project uses open-source tools to serve, catalog, map and distribute spatial data.

Funders: US EPA GLRI and US FWS Habitat projects
Demo site: GLRI Beta Test Site (note: site is not maintained)
Technical Overview: Download Technical Presentation
Project Overview: Download GLRI Presentation
SWS Presentation: Download SWS Presentation


The goal of the SharedGeo Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project is to serve and share current and historical spatial data that are related to the Great Lakes area, surrounding watersheds and wildlife habitats. The project uses open-source tools to serve, catalog, map and distribute spatial data.

The SharedGeo project is funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The project has main 3 parts: 1) spatial data web services & data download; 2) a spatial data catalog; and 3) a web map integration tool.

1. Spatial Data Web Services & Data Download

SharedGeo has created a hardware and software system that has initial capacity to store and serve up to 50 Terabytes of data. SharedGeo’s focus for this system is to serve large imagery and remotely-sensed datasets for the entire Great Lakes basin in fast and reliable services. The datasets include current and historical oblique photography, aerial imagery and remotely sensed data such as LiDAR and RADAR (see table below).

The datasets are loaded, indexed, tiled and then served in the most appropriate way for each data type. Many datasets are served as OGC-compliant Web Map Service (WMS) and/or Web Feature Service (WFS) services. The scalable software and hardware configuration ensures that the services are delivered with maximum speed and reliability. The services can be used by GIS and mapping desktop and web applications and so can be easily integrated into an organization’s work flow.

In addition to the data services, imagery and remotely sensed data are downloadable. Data may be clipped to a user-defined area of interest and downloaded for use on a local computer. This might be useful for project-specific needs or for field work where web connections are unavailable.

By delivering these spatial data web services and downloadable datasets, SharedGeo contributes to the base data necessary to inventory, evaluate, prepare remedies for, and monitor results of projects in the GLRI core focus areas such as combating invasive species, protecting watersheds and restoring wetlands and other habitats.

Data Metadata Link
Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer metadata
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer metadata
Earth Observing-1 Advanced Land Imager (ALI) metadata
Earth Observing-1 Hyperion metadata
Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus metadata
Landsat MultiSpectral Scanner metadata
Landsat Thematic Mapper metadata
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer metadata
National Land Cover Database 2006 metadata
Spaceborne Imaging Radar C-band metadata

2. Spatial Data Catalog

SharedGeo has set up a GeoNetwork data catalog node that aggregates metadata describing spatial data for the Great Lakes area. The GeoNetwork tool does this by “harvesting” existing data catalogs such as the Great Lakes Information Network hosted by the Great Lakes Commission. Other harvested data catalogs include those by State, Province and Non-Governmental Organizations doing work in and around the Great Lakes.

The harvested metadata provide a robust list of spatial data layers that can be queried by topic, geography or keyword. GeoNetwork outputs an OGC-compliant catalog service (CS-W). This allows other tools (not just GeoNetwork) to be used to query the catalog. For this project, SharedGeo decided it would be most useful if metadata and layers could be searched inside the web map interface, so this is built within Co-map, the GLRI SharedGeo web map.

3. “Co-map” Web Map

GLRI Co-Map Prototype

Spatial data can be viewed, queried and browsed using the SharedGeo web map tool, Co-map. Co-map includes the SharedGeo-hosted imagery and remotely-sensed data services along with an OpenStreetMap basemap. In addition, Co-map allows a search of all the metadata inventoried in the GeoNetwork data catalog. If those data have map services available, then those data can be added right into the map. This allows potential integration of hundreds of Great Lakes spatial datasets and allows users to make custom maps. It is this flexibility that SharedGeo hopes will help both support and expedites user decisions on whether data layers are useful and appropriate for their needs.

Co-map also allows for data download. Imagery and remotely sensed data that are hosted by SharedGeo can be clipped to a user-defined area of interest and downloaded for use on a local computer. This might be useful for project-specific needs or for field work where web connections are unavailable.

Project Status

The work on this project is in progress, but the components of the solution can be viewed in their prototype form. Please note that the interfaces for both these products will be changed, but these tools are for testing the contents and basic functions only.

Other Resources

Below are links to the report Fish and Wildlife Resources of the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands within the United States (October 1981), FWS/OBS-81/02. Each Volume is provided separately for download (13 files total), or the entire document can be downloaded as one file (257 MB, 5868 pages).