GAO-14-226T, Dec 5, 2013
The President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have established policies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data, however, in November 2012, GAO reported that governmentwide committees and federal departments and agencies had not effectively implemented them. The committee that was established to promote the coordination of geospatial data nationwide–the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)–had developed and endorsed key standards and had established a clearinghouse of metadata. GAO found that the clearinghouse was not being used by agencies to identify planned geospatial investments to promote coordination and reduce duplication. In addition, the committee had not yet fully planned for or implemented an approach to manage geospatial data as related groups of investments to allow agencies to more effectively plan geospatial data collection efforts and minimize duplicative investments, and its strategic plan was missing key elements.
Other shortfalls have impaired progress in coordinating geospatial data. Specifically, none of the three federal departments in GAO’s review had fully implemented important activities such as preparing and implementing a strategy for advancing geospatial activities within their respective departments. Moreover, the agencies in GAO’s review responsible for governmentwide management of specific geospatial data had implemented some but not all key activities for coordinating the national coverage of specific geospatial data.
While OMB has oversight responsibilities for geospatial data, GAO reported in November 2012 that according to OMB staff, the agency did not have complete and reliable information to identify potentially duplicative geospatial investments. GAO also reported that FGDC, federal departments and agencies, and OMB had not yet fully implemented policies and procedures for coordinating geospatial investments because these efforts had not been a priority. As a result, efforts to acquire data were uncoordinated and the federal government acquired duplicative geospatial data. For example, a National Geospatial Advisory Committee representative stated that a commercial provider leases the same proprietary parcel data to six federal agencies. GAO concluded that unless the key entities determined that coordinating geospatial investments was a priority, the federal government would continue to acquire duplicative geospatial information and waste taxpayer dollars.
Why GAO Did This Study
The federal government collects, maintains, and uses geospatial information–information linked to specific geographic locations–to support many functions, including national security and disaster response. In 2012, the Department of the Interior estimated that the federal government was investing billions of dollars on geospatial data annually, and that duplication was common.
In November 2012, GAO reported on efforts to reduce duplicative investments in geospatial data, focusing on OMB, FGDC, and three agencies: the Departments of Commerce, the Interior, and Transportation.
This statement summarizes the results of that November 2012 report on progress and challenges in coordinating geospatial information and includes updates on the implementation of recommendations made in that report.
What GAO Recommends
GAO is making no new recommendations in this statement. In November 2012, GAO recommended that to improve coordination and reduce duplication, FGDC develop a national strategy for coordinating geospatial investments; federal agencies follow federal guidance for managing geospatial investments; and OMB develop a mechanism to identify and report on geospatial investments. Since that time, FGDC and several agencies have taken some steps to implement the recommendations. However, additional actions are still needed.
Geospatial InformationGAO-13-94, Nov 26, 2012
What GAO Found
While the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have established policies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data, governmentwide committees and federal departments and agencies have not effectively implemented them. The committee that was established to promote the coordination of geospatial data nationwide–the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)–has developed and endorsed key standards– including a metadata standard that includes descriptive information about a particular set of geospatial data–and established a clearinghouse of metadata; however, the clearinghouse is not being used by agencies to identify planned geospatial investments to promote coordination and reduce duplication. The FGDC has not yet planned or implemented an approach to manage geospatial data as related groups of investments to allow agencies to more effectively plan geospatial data collection efforts and minimize duplicative investments; and its strategic plan is missing key elements, such as performance measures for many of its defined objectives. Further, none of the three federal departments in GAO’s review have fully implemented important activities for coordinating geospatial data, such as preparing and implementing a strategy for advancing geospatial activities within their respective departments.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has responsibility, in partnership with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), for advising the President on the Federal Research and Development (R&D) budget and shaping R&D priorities across those Federal agencies that have significant portfolios in science and technology. OSTP also has responsibility—with the help of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which is administered out of OSTP—for coordinating interagency research initiatives. It is OSTP’s mission to help develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets that reflect Administration priorities and make coordinated progress toward important national policy goal.
OSTP is pleased to release the following information on the science, technology, innovation, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education components of the President’s FY 2013 Budget. Click here for webcast of budget briefing and PDF of R&D Budget.
The full President’s FY 2013 budget can be found here.
- President’s FY13 Budget Release Info Posted for DOE, NOAA, NSF (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Analysis of R & D Investments in FY 2012 Appropriations Bill (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA),8 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is required to report to Congress on the paperwork burden imposed on the public by the Federal Government and on efforts to reduce that burden. For over 30 years, OMB has complied with this requirement by issuing an Information Collection Budget (ICB). The 2011 ICB reports on the paperwork burden imposed on the public during fiscal year (FY) 2010 and explores other issues with respect to implementation of the PRA. The 2011 ICB is available on OMB’s website at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg_infocoll/
- OMB Extends Ban On New Federal Websites (informationweek.com)
E-Gov: Performance Measures for Projects Aimed at Promoting Innovation and Transparency Can Be Improved
GAO-11-775 September 23, 2011
Summary: Congress enacted the Electronic Government (E-Gov) Act in 2002 to promote better use of the Internet and other information technologies (IT), thereby improving government services for citizens, internal government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in government. Among other things, the act established the E-Gov Fund to support projects that expand the government’s ability to carry out its activities electronically. The act also created the Office of Electronic Government within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Administrator of this office is to assist the OMB Director in approving projects to be supported by the E-Gov Fund. The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for administering the fund and notifying Congress of how the funds are to be allocated to projects approved by OMB. GAO was asked to (1) identify and describe the projects supported by the E-Gov Fund, including the distribution of fiscal year 2010 funds among the projects and their expected benefits; and (2) for selected projects, identify their progress against goals. To do this, GAO reviewed project and funding documentation, analyzed project goals, and interviewed agency officials. Read More…
….the United States will produce a plan that builds on existing initiatives and practices. The plan will be released when the Open Government Partnership is formally launched on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City in September.
As part of the Open Government Initiative, we have benefited from knowledgeable and constructive input from external stakeholders with strong commitments to the principles of open government. The list is long and continues to grow.
We have initiated consultations about the Open Government Plan, beginning with a number of meetings with key external stakeholders, and our consultation is now moving to a new phase in which we seek ideas through this platform, in response to specific questions that we raise through a series of blog posts. We will have a final meeting with stakeholders as we finalize our plan.
Today, we are asking for your thoughts on ideas related to two of the key challenges – improving public services and increasing public integrity:
- How can regulations.gov, one of the primary mechanisms for government transparency and public participation, be made more useful to the public rulemaking process? OMB is beginning the process of reviewing and potentially updating its Federal Web Policy.
- What policy updates should be included in this revision to make Federal websites more user-friendly and pertinent to the needs of the public? How can we build on the success of Data.Gov and encourage the use of democratized data to build new consumer-oriented products and services?
Please think about these questions and send your thoughts to email@example.com. We will post a summary of your submissions online in the future. Your ideas will be carefully considered as we produce our National Plan and continue to engage with you over the next month in future posts on this blog. Aneesh Chopra is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Cass Sunstein is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
For full text of the article, visit Open Government and the National Plan | The White House.
- White House: An Invitation to Our Latest Open Innovation Ecosystem: Energy.Data.Gov (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- NASA Launches New Open Government Blog (livescience.com)
- New federal CIO wants to close “productivity gap” between private sector, government (arstechnica.com)
- Open Government to Solve Problems: Meet Champions of the Open Innovation Movement (whitehouse.gov)
Report: National Academy of Public Administration’s Forum on Place-based Public Management – All Points Blog
by Joe Francica, Directions Magazine, Monday, May 23, 2011
The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) in Washington, DC convened a forum on Place-based Public Management today [May 20, 2011]. The event featured several key government policy experts that commented on placed-based initiatives, a key priority of the Obama administration. … The panel of experts was facilitated by Scott Fosler, Lipitz Senior Fellow from the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise and the School of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, and a past president of NAPA. …
For full text of the article, visit Report: National Academy of Public Administration’s Forum on Place-based Public Management – All Points Blog.
- NAPA Forum Meeting Notes
- Podcast: How much does Federal Policy Really Impact Geospatial Technology Use?
- OMB Memo: Developing Effective Place Based Policies for the FY2012 Budget
- NAPA Forum on Place-Based Public Management (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Place-Based Policies: Think “Where” First, Not Last (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)