Project ATLAS began in 2017 with the goal of providing a one-stop shop for all the North Carolina Department of Transportation's (NCDOT) project-related GIS and data needs.
Linkages were established across previous data silos and business processes, across systems, and among projects in the same geographic regions. Automation was developed to standardize and store project GIS data and documents created throughout project development. Screening a project using GIS-based data will inform project scoping and identify critical resource features in a study area without needing to be a GIS professional to gain spatial intelligence about a project.
Since its inception, ATLAS has created more the 70 environmental layers including:
- Wetland predictive models (winner of a 2011 FHWA Environmental Excellence award).
- ATLAS Hydrography layer, which includes headwater stream predictive models for a more extensive statewide stream layer and over 70 attributes to unify many traditional stream layers.
- Protected species habitat machine learning models. During the first test of these models on a large broadband installation project, NCDOT found a previously unknown population of White irisette.
- Tidal influence zone map, which lays the groundwork for additional models such as coastal infrastructure vulnerability and resiliency.
ATLAS has over 1,200 registered users with more users joining every day. Since going live in 2018, more than 5,000 ATLAS Screening Reports have been generated, more than 320,000 individual layers have been screened, and more than 53,000 individual GIS layers have been downloaded by ATLAS users.