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An interview with Casey James Kohrt

By Jay Bowen

This interview is part of our Data Provider Series, which highlights local governments and institutions that offer open GIS data. In each interview, providers tell us about their missions and data resources. We hope this will be a great way for readers to learn more about local GIS developments and new initiatives.

Image of the Iowa DNR logo

Name: Casey James Kohrt
Title: Geospatial Administrator
Division/Department: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, GIS Department

How long has the Iowa DNR created or maintained geospatial data?

The Iowa DNR has been creating geospatial data dating to the late 1980s. It was created out of the Groundwater Protection Act, where they were to develop a map of groundwater vulnerabilities. Many datasets came out of that project, including PLSS, soils, and geology, mostly from digitizing paper maps on a digitizing table. Many projects continued, and we had a nice ‘library’ of data. We called it the NRGIS Library. In the Flood of 1993, many agencies were asking for our data, so we threw it up on an FTP server, and began publicly serving our data to anyone who wanted it.

How is your geospatial data distributed?

Currently, our data is distributed in several ways. Static datasets are served as zipped files sitting on an Amazon S3 bucket. We share the links through ArcGIS online, that cascade to an open data site, then a Hub site, which is We also serve data through REST services. These feed many applications that the DNR has.

What metadata format does the Iowa DNR use with geospatial data?

We use the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM).

Who distributes your geospatial data?

I distribute our geospatial data. I ensure that the data has the proper documentation, and then distribute it in our internal libraries, external bucket, and services, if appropriate. I then make all the entries into the ArcGIS online locations.

Check out more data from the Iowa DNR in the BTAA Geoportal here.

Have questions about the BTAA geoportal, or maps and geospatial data in general? Please don’t hesitate to contact our project team!

Jay Bowen is the GIS Specialist at the University of Iowa Libraries