The ePlanning application is classified as a major BLM National Application. It uses a relational database approach to creating, managing, sharing, and reviewing land management and National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) information in accordance with paper and digital publishing requirements. Textual and related spatial information is created and shared in a team-based environment using the Internet, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, and dynamic content management. Although created by the BLM to support the land use planning process, ePlanning is flexible enough to support a range of projects for any federal agency.
ePlanning is built around a central database within which all content is stored. It is a suite of applications consisting of custom code and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. The fundamental concept behind the ePlanning system is the Interactive Digital Document, which provides a dynamic and interactive link between textual information and the geospatial data supporting and describing the text.
The Interactive Digital Document provides government and public users with web-based documents — enabling them to read text, submit comments, and view maps related to the data. Users can submit comments in a secure online environment.
Prior to NexGen’s engagement, the application had low user adoption due to poor usability, reliability, and scalability. NexGen conducted the first full-production rollout of the application, making it available to BLM’s national user base.
NexGen provided BLM with operations and maintenance (O&M) support in the areas of: program and project management; release and enhancement development and implementation; operational system maintenance and application; and security.
The support model required quarterly releases, appropriate COTS upgrades as they were released. An added effort was required to simplify the ePlanning application in which user-submitted bugs, new policy and regulations, and new features were implemented so that the application becomes significantly more user friendly, the system adheres to and enforces current NEPA/LUP policy and procedures, and functionality is increased.
Over the years, NexGen has successfully supported this enterprise application, adding significant new functionality, fixing bugs, and implementing changes required by federal legislation and policy changes. NexGen’s direct contribution has significantly simplified and streamlined the user experience, allowed submission of much larger NEPA/LUP documents, and substantially increased the effectiveness of the NEPA/LUP processes.