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Program History

Our collaborative program was first proposed in 2012 when three map librarians issued a white paper, A Collaborative Vision for Spatial Scholarship across the CIC.(1) This paper identified geospatial data as a long-term, interdisciplinary need that would necessitate increasingly complex infrastructures to manage. The authors concluded that these infrastructures would likely be prohibitively expensive for each CIC library to maintain individually, and they proposed collaborative solutions for the long-term management of geospatial resources.

  1. Bidney, M., Mattke, R. & Weessies, K. (2012). A Collaborative Vision for Spatial Scholarship across the CIC, 2012, white paper.

The BTAA Geospatial Data Project officially began in 2015 with 9 member institutions and grew to incorporate all BTAA libraries over time. Since that time, we built the BTAA Geoportal, started an annual GIS conference, and strengthened the network of geospatial library workers. In 2023, we evolved into a new structure, now called the BTAA Geospatial Information Network.


Year Events Technology & collections Members join
2012 CIC Center for Library Initiatives conference focused on geospatial - -
2015 Project kickoff meeting with 9 institutions Environmental scan of available technologies 9 institutions sign on
1st project summit Metadata coordinator
2016 1st user testing of BTAA Geoportal Launched BTAA Geoportal with GIS data records Indiana University
University of Iowa adds scanned maps records Lead application developer
2017 2nd in-person project summit - University of Chicago
The Ohio State University
2018 2nd user testing of BTAA Geoportal Implemented thumbnails and advanced search -
Released version 1 of Metadata Handbook
2019 hosted Strategic Leadership Group inperson meeting to discuss expansion and sustainability Upgraded to GeoBlacklight 2.0 University of Nebraska
Added an Open in ArcGIS button, tooltips, and a citation widget
2020 3rd user testing of BTAA Geoportal (remotely) Began developing custom metadata editor -
hosted 1st BTAA GIS Conference
2021 Presented a webinar to WAML Added licensed data to the Geoportal -
Presented to the BTAA B1G Convening Metadata editor (GEOMG) put into production
2nd BTAA GIS Conference OpenGeoMetadata Aardvark schema implemented
2022 3rd BTAA GIS Conference Developed and upgraded to GeoBlacklight 4.0 Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Evolved from the "BTAA Geospatial Data Project" into the "BTAA Geospatial Information Network" Cloud hosting for Geoportal moved to AWS
2023 Implemented new governance and committee structure Released Harvesting Guide Northwestern University
4th BTAA GIS Conference
2024 - Geodata Collection Pilot -


Our Program Team regularly holds sprints to address various aspects of work. The following table shows sprints by topic and which quarter they were conducted.

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Sprints Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Blog post x x x x x x x x
Metadata x x x x x x x
Interface x x x
Collections x x x
Education x x x