Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS): a progress report
The Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) was established within Texas state government to accommodate the continuing need of the natural resource agencies for a broad range of data and information to support their varied responsibilities. TNRIS serves as a mechanism which links together the users of natural resources and related data with those who collect and store such data. TNRIS evolved from earlier work by several State agencies which resulted in establishment of the Texas Water Oriented Data Bank. Guided by a Task Force of State agency representatives, TNRIS has become an internationally recognized System which has often served as a model for developing similar systems elsewhere. Several independent case studies of TNRIS have been conducted and documented. All such have been complimentary of the System. The origin, design, implementation, and growth of TNRIS are traced in the early part of this report. A review of the various types of services and capabilities that have been developed over the past several years to support user needs is provided. Activities of the Task Force, its committees, and the TNRIS Systems Central staff described herein include conducting inventories, establishing a library of natural resource data and information, monitoring other systems, and providing an educational program for System staff and users. Also discussed are capabilities for data analysis, including remote sensing and geographical information systems, which have been developed to support decision making by the participating State agencies. The latter part of the report provides examples of the types of approaches used in processing user requests and discusses various assessments of the System that have been made by the Task Force and others. A number of future TNRIS objectives are noted, including planned emphasis on more efficient handling of user requests, additional capabilities for processing natural resource data, and improved means for maintaining current inventories of newly collected data. Through continued cooperation and support of the participating State agencies and other users, TNRIS should remain a vital link in the natural resource activities of the State of Texas.