Great Lakes Commission

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The Great Lakes from space.
Map of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Basin.

The Great Lakes Commission is a United States interstate agency established in 1955 through the Great Lakes Compact, in order to "promote the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water resources of the Great Lakes Basin," which includes the Saint Lawrence River. The commission provides policy development, coordination, and advocacy on issues of regional concern, as well as communication and research services.

The commission, in a cooperative venture with other Great Lakes agencies and organizations, hosts the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN), an Internet-based network that serves as a decision-support tool for those who make, implement or otherwise influence public policy in the region. The GLIN website contains data and information about the region's environment, economy, tourism, education, and more; and provides access to GLIN-Announce, an email list that covers news and information about the region.

Another Commission project, Great Lakes GIS Online, involves creating an online spatial data library, including the Great Lakes shoreline, soils, land use and land cover, hazardous waste sites, demographics, watersheds and transport. The project is planned to include an online mapping system that will enable users to perform GIS analysis and other tasks over the Internet. As of summer 1998, the project was under development.

The eight member states are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec are associate members.

There is a separate and distinct entity with a similar brief, the International Joint Commission, which exists between the federal levels of the US and Canada.

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