What is a College/University?
TheGuidelines definition of College/University is quite specific, and the key factor is that an institution must grant a degree; there
key indicator of a college or university is that the institution grants degrees. There are 4 types of degrees: Associate, Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral.
Degree-granting is generally is regulated by the States, and so with each State has a Higher Education Agency which oversees having a higher education agency to oversee degree-granting institutions. The US U.S. Department of Education has a a list of these State Higher Education Agencies. These agencies often higher education agencies that maintain lists of the degree-granting institutions in their State (refer to the Data Sources pages on this website for each State to find out where to find these lists)state.
For the most part, this degree-granting requirement leaves out vocational schools (also called trade schools, career schools, or technical schools), which generally grant certificates but not degrees; these should be captured as a Technical / Trade School. An exception is technical colleges which do grant degrees; these should be captured as a College / University structure.
A separate issue is accreditation. There are many accreditation organizations which generally are private professional organizations. Each State Higher Education Agency may determine which accreditation organizations have recognized authority within that State. Usually an institution may not grant a degree unless it has been accredited; however there are exceptions to this rule – some States allow religious colleges to grant degrees even if they are not accredited. Conversely, there may be schools that are accredited but do not give out degrees (only certificates).A second, less obvious stipulation in the definition of College/University, is that there be a building used as an institution of higher learning. This leaves out online universities, unless they teach classes in their buildings as well as online.
It is important to note that we are not collecting university extension locations whose primary mission is to perform community outreach. If a university manages an alternative campus and its title includes the term “Extension”, this point can be collected so long as this campus serves students enrolled in a degree-granting program. If the alternative “Extension” campus only provides education and outreach to the community, this does not meet our definition of a College / University and therefore is not a point we would collect. Check out this Q&A entry for more on how to handle University extensions.
Where can I find authoritative lists of College / University structures?
The closest thing to a national list may be the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). NCES maintains a database of primary, secondary, and higher education (aka, college) institutions. Users can search the NCES database for colleges.
Each state also has a higher education agency that may include a list of colleges and universities within their state.
Check out our Authoritative Sources List for more on the types of sources that are acceptable.
Where do I place a College/University structure point?
A University university campus may contain several colleges or schools (ie i.e., College of Arts, College of Sciences, School of Business, School of Medicine), but so long as these are units of the same University university and located on the same campus, then they should be represented by a single pointnot be added as separate points. One point would represent the university or college. However in some cases, separate institutions may share the same campus (for example, the the Auraria campus in Denver, Colorado is is home to Metropolitan State University of Denver, the University of Colorado at Denver, and the Community College of Denver) – in this case each separate institution should be represented by a separate point.
Some Collegescolleges, especially in an urban environment, may have multiple campuses or widely dispersed buildings. This is somewhat of a grey area, but in In general a separate campus should be represented by its own structure point. However, if a dispersed college location consists of a single building, or a few rooms in a single building, then you will have to use your own best judgment as to whether it is important enough to be considered a campus and therefore justify a new separate structure point.
Medical Schools schools that are co-located with Hospitals hospitals should be represented by a collegeseparate College / university structure point only if the medical school is large enough to have at least one building separate from the Hospital; if so, the associated Hospital would also University structure point. The associated hospital would be represented as a separate Hospital structure typepoint.
What is a Fire Station/EMS Station?
The basic requirement for a Fire Station/EMS Station is that the structure contains a fire engine. It may or may not also house an ambulance. It probably has fire personnel visiting it on a regular basis to keep the equipment clean and shiny and ready to go.
Where can I find authoritative lists of Fire Stations?
The US Fire Administration has the most complete nationwide list of fire departments. Their list is the result of a voluntary National Fire Department Census wherein during the years 2001 to 2004 fire departments filled out and handed in survey forms. The USFA is "continuously working to encourage more fire departments to participate in the census," however, since the original census now is almost 10 years old, some of the informaiton is out of date. The list can be downloaded for the entire nation or by State. The list is by Fire Department, so it will you tell you how many stations a Fire Department has, but not where they are. There may be some contact information, such as address, phone number, and website.
The Homefacts website has a list of fire departments by city and county (scroll to the bottom of the page to select a State); but the source of this data is unknown and its accuracy varies.
Refer to the State Data Sources section of this website where additional data sources may be listed for each State. County and city websites also often have information about fire departments; and counties often have an Office of Emergency Management where information can be found.
Fire Department web pages are the best source of data, but may not specify the locations of stations. Stations can generally be recognized in Aerial Imagery or in Google Street View™ because the stations have large bays with overhead doors and large concrete pads outside where the engines can park.
How do I name a Fire Station?
Try to find out the official name of the station; it often has the format: <fire-department-name> <station-name>. For example "Denver Fire Department Station 1". Official station names sometimes have either a "-" or a "/" in the station name, and while the Attribute Guidelines say that special characters should be avoided, they can be used if necessary to document an official fire station name.
Why are there no authoritative lists of fire/EMS stations?
It seems surprising that there are no authoritative lists of fire/EMS stations, but this is because historically it has been felt that it is more important that they can find you, rather than for you to find them. They can find you through the 911 system. The 911 system generally is maintained at the county level, where 911 calls are routed to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). While you are talking to a 911 operator at a PSAP, various manual and automated systems are used to pinpoint the location of the call, to find the nearest fire/EMS (or police) station, and to get directions for how to drive to the scene of the call.
However in recent years, with the increased interest in the coordination of responses to public emergencies, there is a recognition that databases of emergency response assets are important to the public and to Offices of Emergency Management at all levels of government.