Tag Archive | FGDC

US Senate introduces Geospatial Data Reform Act 2015

S.740
Latest Title: Geospatial Data Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] (introduced 3/16/2015)      Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 3/16/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
    SEC. 3. FEDERAL GEOGRAPHIC DATA COMMITTEE.
    SEC. 4. NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
    SEC. 5. NATIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE.
    SEC. 6. NGDA DATA THEMES.
    SEC. 7. GEOSPATIAL DATA STANDARDS.
    SEC. 8. GEOPLATFORM.
    SEC. 9. COVERED AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES.
    SEC. 10. LIMITATION ON USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s740is/pdf/BILLS-114s740is.pdf

Also see the congressional record (search for word “geospatial”):
https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2015/03/19/senate-section/article/S1638-3

NEW US Govt Accountability Office Report on Geospatial Data

Geospatial Data: Progress Needed on Identifying Expenditures, Building and Utilizing Data Infrastructure, and Reducing Duplicative Efforts (GAO-15-193, Released March 16, 2015).Federal agencies and state governments use a variety of geospatial datasets to support their missions. For example, after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency used geospatial data to identify 44,000 households that were damaged and inaccessible and reported that, as a result, it was able to provide expedited assistance to area residents. Federal agencies report spending billions of dollars on geospatial investments; however, the estimates are understated because agencies do not always track geospatial investments. For example, these estimates do not include billions of dollars spent on earth-observing satellites that produce volumes of geospatial data. The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have started an initiative to have agencies identify and report annually on geospatial-related investments as part of the fiscal year 2017 budget process.

FGDC and selected federal agencies have made progress in implementing their responsibilities for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure as outlined in OMB guidance; however, critical items remain incomplete. For example, the committee established a clearinghouse for records on geospatial data, but the clearinghouse lacks an effective search capability and performance monitoring. FGDC also initiated plans and activities for coordinating with state governments on the collection of geospatial data; however, state officials GAO contacted are generally not satisfied with the committee’s efforts to coordinate with them. Among other reasons, they feel that the committee is focused on a federal perspective rather than a national one, and that state recommendations are often ignored. In addition, selected agencies have made limited progress in their own strategic planning efforts and in using the clearinghouse to register their data to ensure they do not invest in duplicative data. For example, 8 of the committee’s 32 member agencies have begun to register their data on the clearinghouse, and they have registered 59 percent of the geospatial data they deemed critical. Part of the reason that agencies are not fulfilling their responsibilities is that OMB has not made it a priority to oversee these efforts. Until OMB ensures that FGDC and federal agencies fully implement their responsibilities, the vision of improving the coordination of geospatial information and reducing duplicative investments will not be fully realized.

OMB guidance calls for agencies to eliminate duplication, avoid redundant expenditures, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the sharing and dissemination of geospatial data. However, some data are collected multiple times by federal, state, and local entities, resulting in duplication in effort and resources. A new initiative to create a national address database could potentially result in significant savings for federal, state, and local governments. However, agencies face challenges in effectively coordinating address data collection efforts, including statutory restrictions on sharing certain federal address data. Until there is effective coordination across the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, there will continue to be duplicative efforts to obtain and maintain these data at every level of government.

Why GAO Did This Study

The federal government collects, maintains, and uses geospatial information—data linked to specific geographic locations—to help support varied missions, including national security and natural resources conservation. To coordinate geospatial activities, in 1994 the President issued an executive order to develop a National Spatial Data Infrastructure—a framework for coordination that includes standards, data themes, and a clearinghouse. GAO was asked to review federal and state coordination of geospatial data.

GAO’s objectives were to (1) describe the geospatial data that selected federal agencies and states use and how much is spent on geospatial data; (2) assess progress in establishing the National Spatial Data Infrastructure; and (3) determine whether selected federal agencies and states invest in duplicative geospatial data. To do so, GAO identified federal and state uses of geospatial data; evaluated available cost data from 2013 to 2015; assessed FGDC’s and selected agencies’ efforts to establish the infrastructure; and analyzed federal and state datasets to identify duplication.

What GAO Recommends

GAO suggests that Congress consider assessing statutory limitations on address data to foster progress toward a national address database. GAO also recommends that OMB improve its oversight of FGDC and federal agency initiatives, and that FGDC and selected agencies fully implement initiatives. The agencies generally agreed with the recommendations and identified plans to implement them.

For more information, contact David A. Powner at (202) 512-9286 or pownerd@gao.gov.

PDF of Report and Full Recommendations can be downloaded here.

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NEW US Gov Accountability Report on Geospatial Information

Geospatial Information: Office of Management and Budget and Agencies Can Reduce Duplication By Making Coordination a Priority

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.

Draft Strategic Plan for the National Spatial Data Infastructure

Date: July 31, 2013

Subject: NSDI Strategic Plan – Public Comment Period

Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is seeking public comment on the draft strategic plan for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The draft plan, which has been developed through collaboration with partners and stakeholders in the geospatial community, describes a broad national vision for the NSDI and includes goals and objectives for the Federal government’s role in continued sustainable development of the NSDI.

I encourage you to review the plan and offer any comments for improvement. The strategic plan, along with instructions for providing comments, is posted at the following address: http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi-plan and a copy is attached. Comments may be submitted electronically to: nsdicomments@fgdc.gov. Comments are due by August 21, 2013.

The new NSDI plan is important and timely for several reasons. First, while the FGDC community has engaged in a series of strategic initiatives over the past several years, including the Geospatial Line of Business and Geospatial Platform initiatives, the current NSDI strategic plan has not been revised for a number of years. Second, geospatial technologies, industries, and applications have seen tremendous growth and change over the past several years, and our strategies need to be modernized to align with and leverage these changes. In addition, the recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “OMB and Agencies Need to Make Coordination a Priority to Reduce Duplication” (GAO-13-94), reaffirmed the importance of improving coordination and reducing potential duplication and recommended the development of an updated NSDI strategy.

As we have developed the plan, we have provided multiple opportunities for participation and input. These opportunities have included forums for leaders of key geospatial organizations, workshops for Federal leaders, sessions at geospatial professional conferences, and public meetings of the FGDC Coordination Group, the FGDC Steering Committee, and the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC). Our goal has been to engage leaders of key geospatial organizations in the early stages of the planning process, gather initial input, and seek continuing involvement. The input and suggestions we received from our partners, both within and outside of the Federal government, has been instrumental in shaping the new plan. The NGAC, in particular, has provided extensive and thoughtful input into the plan.

Following the public comment period, a revised draft of the plan will be prepared for final review and adoption by the FGDC Steering Committee. Following completion of the strategic plan, the FGDC community will develop more detailed project plans for the goals and objectives in the strategic plan.

We appreciate your long-standing involvement and support for the NSDI, and we look forward to working with you and your organizations as we finalize and implement the new NSDI strategic plan. Additional information about the NSDI planning process is posted at: http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi-plan. We will post additional information on the webpage as the planning process advances.

Regards,

Anne J. Castle

Chair, Federal Geographic Data Committee

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science

U.S. Department of the Interior

GAO Says OMB and Feds Need to Make Coordination a Priority

Geospatial Information

GAO-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.

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NRC Releases New Report on USGS Spatial Data Infrastructure

Official United States Geological Survey Logo

Official United States Geological Survey Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Science is increasingly driven by data, and spatial data underpin the science directions laid out in the 2007 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Science Strategy. A robust framework of spatial data, metadata, tools, and a user community that is interactively connected to use spatial data in an efficient and flexible way–known as a spatial data infrastructure (SDI)–must be available for scientists and managers to find, use, and share spatial data both within and beyond the USGS. Over the last decade, the USGS has conducted breakthrough research that has overcome some of the challenges associated with implementing a large SDI. This report is intended to ground those efforts by providing a practical roadmap to full implementation of an SDI to enable the USGS to conduct strategic science.

For a PDF copy of the National Academies of Science / National Research Council Mapping Science Committee’s Report, visit: Advancing Strategic Science: A Spatial Data Infrastructure Roadmap for the US Geological Survey

USGS Release: “Crowdsourcing” the National Map

“Crowdsourcing”: Looking at New Ways to Map Structures in Colorado

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192

Greg Matthews: Phone: 303-202-4446

Mark Newell: Phone: 573-308-3850

In light of swiftly changing technical landscapes and increasing uses of social networking, the USGS is exploring a new approach to the volunteer program, and is launching a project to test options for volunteer participation in providing data to The National Map. The project involves mapping man-made structures and facilities, such as schools and fire stations, in the state of Colorado. Using an internet mapping application, volunteers can help the USGS update The National Map by correcting or adding information about structures. “Even members of the public who can’t tell a sandstone from a rhyolite but have internet access can now help the USGS keep its popular maps up to date through our new experiment in crowd sourcing,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Correctly locating and identifying fire stations, police stations, schools, and hospitals not only makes USGS maps more useful, but can literally save a life.”

Over the past two decades, the USGS National Geospatial Program sponsored various forms of volunteer map data collection projects. Volunteers helped the USGS improve its maps during this period, by annotating paper maps, collecting data using GPS units, and submitting data using a web-based tool. However, in 2008, the volunteer mapping program was suspended as new methods for using volunteer data were being studied. In recent years, new web- and mobile-based technologies have made it easier to create, combine, and share maps. Recent events have shown how well these technologies support the rapid and relevant production of geographic information. If the Colorado pilot project is successful in attracting volunteers and capturing data for use in The National Map, the program may be expanded to other areas in the future. This project offers volunteers an opportunity to participate in providing data to The National Map and US Topo map products. For more information, interested Colorado volunteers can visit the National Map Corps website.

The National Map Corps website.

via USGS Release: “Crowdsourcing”: Looking at New Ways to Map Structures in Colorado 8/17/2012 8:00:00 AM.

National Geospatial Advisory Committee Defers Final Action on Innovative Strategies Paper

In a briefing to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) on January 12, 2012, Dr. Dave Cowen and Dr. Time Nyerges, co-chairs of the Innovative Strategies for Geospatial Programs and Partnerships Subcommittee, reiterated the “need to reconfigure, focus, reposition, empower and authorize the FGDC as the national lead for developing, managing, and assuring Geospatial Information Services for the Nation. These services are critical to support the development of information products required by the public sector, and form the basis for the Geospatial Platform and the implementation of A-16 Supplemental Guidance.”

The overarching recommendation of the subcommittee, Dr. Nyerges stated, was for “the establishment of a “leadership role” in the Executive Office of the President that would coordinate and direct the efforts of the federal geospatial enterprise, including choosing, directing and enabling the Managing Partner of the Geospatial Platform.” The Subcommittee’s DRAFT recommendations also encouraged the FGDC to:

  • “develop a comprehensive business plan to manage and operate the Geospatial Platform…”
  • “adopt operating formula funding and/or in-kind services strategy for the Geospatial Platform and for the purchase, production and dissemination of critical geospatial data…”
  • “[move] the [FGDC’s] administrative home to a higher level in the administration with substantial cross-government programmatic, budgetary and procurement authority.”
  • “develop [an] application to track common data interests” to “enhance efforts to eliminate redundant data creation and funding across all levels of government…”
  • “utilize public-private partnerships and other innovative solutions to develop geospatial data, fill critical data gaps, and leverage scarce resources”; which includes developing “a strategy for ‘procurement’ partnerships and encouraging “OMB to enforce A-16 stewardship.”

From the Meeting Summary: “The National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) will defer final action on the Innovative Strategies paper until the April NGAC meeting. The Subcommittee will consider recent developments and feedback from Anne Castle, Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), and other NGAC members in developing the next version of the paper. The Subcommittee will work with FGDC staff to develop an interactive process to refine the recommendations.”

The next NGAC meeting is scheduled for April 17-18 at the American Institute of Architects Building in Washington, DC.

Draft Recommendations of National Geospatial Advisory Committee Working Group Advises Feds to Restructure

Logo of the Federal Geographic Data Committee.

By Joe Francica, Directions Magazine, January 2, 2012

Summary: [A working group of t]he National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) is recommending that the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) move the procurement process for geospatial technology under the auspices of the General Services Administration (GSA). Why? [A working group of t]he NGAC has deep concerns about how well the FGDC has performed its statutory duties. This article provides information on the NGAC’s additional warnings and “barriers to success” for the FGDC. For full text of the article, click here.
EDITOR’S NOTE – January 16, 2012: The NGAC is still discussing the DRAFT recommendations of a working group that will be included in an “innovative strategies report.”  The report was discussed at the public meeting on January 12, and this conversation will be continued at subsequent meetings. For a copy of the agenda, meeting summary, and powerpoint slides, click here.
For PDF copies of CRS Reports on Geospatial Technology for the Nation and the upcoming GAO evaluation of federal investments in geospatial technology, see the links below.

GAO to Evaluate Federal Coordinating Investments in Geospatial Data

Government Accountability Office

Image by dcdan via Flickr

In a letter dated December 8, 2010 from the GAO to Mr. Douglas A. Glenn, Director, Office of Financial Management, Department of the Interior:

“The General Accountability Office (GAO) is initiating an evaluation of Federal initiatives aimed at coordinating investments in geospatial data — specifically, activities coordinated by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and OMB. …. GAO is beginning this work in response to a request made by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The two key questions for this engagement are:

1. Have Federal initiatives been effectively established and implemented to coordinate investments in geospatial data?
2. Does unnecessary duplication of investments in geospatial data continue to exist?”

The GAO conducted a similar study in 2004, titled “Geospatial Information: Better Coordination Needed to Identify and Reduce Duplicative Investments? (GAO-04-703, June 2004).”

To conduct this evaluation, the GAO plans to contact representatives from DOI and OMB, as well as members of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Executive Committee, Steering Committee, Coordination Group, Secretariat staff, other working groups, and community.

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