The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has a long-standing history using geospatial technology. In 1981, the BIA Office of Trust Responsibilities began exploring the feasibility of using geospatial technology for its core trust functions and an office in Denver, Colorado was established to lead the implementation of the technology.
In the mid-1980’s the Bureau of Land Management was contracted to digitize geospatial base themes for the BIA. In the early 1990's, these duties were transferred to the BIA under the newly formed Geographic Data Service Center in Lakewood, Colorado. The Geographic Data Service Center combined the geospatial projects which began at the Bureau of Land Management with staff to provide geospatial training and remote sensing services throughout Indian Country.
In 2002, the Department of the Interior entered an enterprise licensing agreement with Esri to provide geospatial software to the BIA and Tribal governments. The BIA shifted its focus from funding geospatial data projects to providing administration and support for these licenses. Coinciding with the shift in focus, the BIA’s geospatial licensing and support functions moved to the National Geospatial Resource Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2005.
In 2010, geospatial services returned to Lakewood, Colorado, to be housed together with the other geographic information systems groups in the BIA’s Office of Trust Services. In 2015, these functions were reorganized as the Branch of Geospatial Support (BOGS), which continues to support Tribes’ land management projects such as irrigation, flood plain analysis, forestry harvesting, wildfire analysis, oil and gas management, and other economic analysis.
Today, the Branch of Geospatial Support, under the Division of Program Management and Coordination, provides geographic information systems software licenses, geospatial training workshops, and technical support to over 900 BIA staff members and 4,000 Tribal personnel at no cost.