Tag Archive | A-16

Congressional Research Service Update to Federal GIS Report

The Congressional Research Service has published an update to one of their GIS reports:

Issues and Challenges for Federal Geospatial Information (R41826)

by Pete Folger, Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy, April 27, 2012


Congress has recognized the challenge of coordinating and sharing geospatial data from the local, county, and state level to the national level, and vice versa. The cost to the federal government of gathering and coordinating geospatial information has also been an ongoing concern. As much as 80% of government information has a geospatial component, according to various sources. The federal government’s role has changed from being a primary provider of authoritative geospatial information to coordinating and managing geospatial data and facilitating partnerships. Congress explored issues of cost, duplication of effort, and coordination of geospatial information in hearings during the 108th Congress. However, challenges to coordinating how geospatial data are acquired and used—collecting duplicative data sets, for example—at the local, state, and federal levels, in collaboration with the private sector, are not yet resolved. Two bills introduced in the 112th Congress, H.R. 1620 and H.R. 4322, would address aspects of duplication and coordination of geospatial information.

Read More…

Issuance of OMB Circular A-16 Supplemental Guidance


Logo of the Federal Geographic Data Committee.

Image via Wikipedia


November 10, 2010

FGDC Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released the new Supplemental Guidance to OMB Circular A-16 Revised, “Coordination of Geographic Information and Related Spatial Data Activities.” OMB Memorandum M-11-03, “Issuance of OMB Circular A-16 Supplemental Guidance,” from Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra to Heads of Executive Agencies and Departments, formally issues the Supplemental Guidance. The Guidance, released today, is posted at:


OMB Circular A-16 provides for improvements in the coordination and use of spatial data, and describes effective and economical use and management of spatial data assets in the digital environment for the benefit of the Federal Government and the Nation. The Supplemental Guidance further defines and clarifies selected elements of Circular A-16 to facilitate a coordinated Federal geospatial asset management capability that will improve support of mission-critical business requirements of the Federal Government and its stakeholders. The Guidance has a primary focus on geospatial data as a capital asset and outlines a portfolio management process to manage geospatial data assets.

The Memorandum from Mr. Kundra notes: “Data-management, and particularly geospatial data-management, is one of the essential components for addressing the management of the business of government and for supporting the effective and economical use of tax dollars. It is, however, susceptible to constant renewal, information quality, and information management challenges. A portfolio-centric model cures the single agency, stovepipe model by applying consistent policy, improved organization, better governance, and understanding of the public to deliver outstanding results.”

The Supplemental Guidance is the result of a dedicated effort by many individuals, agencies, and partners within the FGDC community. I would like to particularly recognize and thank Wendy Blake Coleman from the Environmental Protection Agency, who chaired the Geospatial Line of Business Lifecycle Management Workgroup, which led the development of the Guidance. Wendy and the other members of the Workgroup showed great commitment and perseverance in the development, review, and approval of the Guidance. The document also benefitted from input and feedback from other partners and stakeholders, including the members of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee.

We look forward to working with the FGDC community to implement the requirements of the Supplemental Guidance. The portfolio management approaches laid out in the document will help provide a foundation to support multiple objectives, including the Administration’s Geospatial Platform initiative. As you know, we are currently engaged in a stakeholder outreach process for the Platform, and we encourage FGDC partners and stakeholders to provide input through the Geospatial Platform IdeaScale website.

Thank you once again to all who contributed to this significant milestone in the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.


Ivan B. DeLoatch, Executive Director

Federal Geographic Data Committee

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S.Department of the Interior

Building a National Spatial Data Infrastructure 2.0

In the United States, a lively discussion is emerging on the next generation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, with a  focus on its governance and coordination. Below are links to articles, reports and editorials on this topic:

National Geospatial Advisory Council Reports

Federal Geographic Data Committee Reports and Presentations

2009 Proposals for a “National GIS”



NSDI Related Legislation and Hearings


Congressional Oversight Hearings:

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports to Congress:

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports to Congress and Testimony:

Executive Orders, Regulations and Guidelines

Executive Orders:

OMB Circulars and Memos:

FGDC Policies and Guidelines

The Geospatial Platform

NSDI-related Reports and Publications

National Academy of Public Administration Reports:

National Academy of Sciences Reports (PDFs are now free; for full list of Mapping Science Committee reports click here):

Academic Studies:

  • A Policy Appraisal of the National Map, A Federal Program to Provide Basic Geospatial Data For the Nation (Maeve A. Boland, PhD Dissertation, 2005) 

Earth Observation Governance, Priorities and Benefit to Society:

If you know of additional related documents or commentaries, please email us the links!

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in the links and resources listed above are not necessarily those of this blog site.

Circular A-16 Supplemental Guidance Endorsed


The Circular A-16 Supplemental Guidance [PDF 1.8MB] was endorsed by the FGDC Steering Committee in December, 2008 with 21 agencies voting in favor.

Circular A-16 Supplemental Guidance provides the foundation for a portfolio management approach to nationally significant geospatial data themes and associated datasets under the auspices of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16. It sets the framework for a lifecycle-based portfolio management and reporting process intended to increase the transparency of the development and maintenance of nationally significant datasets. It provides a standard lexicon for use in this process. It offers a decision process for adding, modifying, or deleting specific themes or datasets from Appendix E of OMB Circular A-16 based on alignment with long-term national strategies or goals, specific business requirements, benefits, and costs. The product has been transmitted to OMB for final review.

The portfolio consists of the available geospatial assets that can be brought to bear to address a business need. These assets include data, funding, infrastructure, hardware and software applications, personnel, services, and products. Geospatial portfolio management is the process of tracking, maintaining, expanding, and aligning or realigning these assets to address the business needs of an enterprise.

A U.S. Geospatial Strategy


 In October 2008, the National Geospatial Advisory Committee issued a set of recommendations for the 2008-2009 Presidential Transition Team. Highlights include:

FEDERAL COORDINATION: To coordinate Federal geospatial activities and to ensure effective intergovernmental and inter-sector partnerships with State, local, and Tribal governments; the private sector; and the academic community, we recommend that the administration:

Establish a geospatial leadership and coordination function immediately within the Executive Office of the President. The geospatial coordination function should be included in the reauthorization of the E-Government Act. The function of this position should:

    • Provide leadership on national geospatial issues
    • Develop a partnership-based national geospatial strategy
    • Oversee the revision and strengthening of policies (i.e. OMB Circular A-16) in concert with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
    • Evaluate and clarify the roles and responsibilities of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments; academia; and the private sector in the creation and maintenance of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI)
    • Coordinate the funding and acquisition of geospatial data

Establish and oversee an Urgent Path Forward for implementation of geospatial programs necessary to support current national priorities and essential government services underpinning the NSDI, such as:Require OMB and FGDC to strengthen their enforcement of OMB Circular A-16 and Executive Order 12906.

Establish/designate Geographic Information Officers within each Department or Agency with responsibilities stipulated within OMB Circular A-16.

  • Imagery for the Nation
  • National Land Imaging Program
  • National Land Parcel Data

Continue to task the National Geospatial Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendation for the use of geospatial information and the related policies and programs of the Federal Government.

FEDERAL STATUTORY REVIEW: Revise restrictive statutory language as it pertains to non-sensitive address data in Title 13 U.S. Code and to “geospatial data” in Section 1619 of the 2008 Farm Bill.

 The FGDC 2008 Annual report is also available.








%d bloggers like this: