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.
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.
At the prompting of MAPPS, Rep Doug Lamborn (Co-5) introduced HR 4233, Map It Once, Use It Many Times Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 21, 2012. This bill was referred to several congressional committees. The following summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, which serves Congress.Map It Once, Use It Many Times Act – Establishes the National Geospatial Technology Administration in the Department of the Interior. Directs the Administrator of the National Geospatial Technology Administration to: (1) establish a National Geospatial Database of all U.S. owned or managed lands (including public lands), Indian trust parcels, and non-federal lands in each state; and (2) determine whether any U.S. owned or managed property may be better managed through ownership by a non-federal entity. Requires the Administrator to implement the recommendations of the National Geospatial Data Plan developed by the National Geospatial Policy Commission established by this Act. Requires the Administrator to promulgate standards for ensuring the interoperability of geospatial data collected by or with the support of the federal government. Transfers to the Administrator all geospatial functions vested by law in the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) with respect to the National Forest System, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read More…
U.S. GAO – Federal Land Management: Availability and Potential Reliability of Selected Data Elements at Five Agencies
Federal Land Management: Availability and Potential Reliability of Selected Data Elements at Five Agencies, GAO-11-377 April 20, 2011
Summary: The federal government manages about 650 million acres, or 29 percent, of the 2.27 billion acres of U.S. land. Four land management agencies–the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior (Interior) and the Forest Service, in the Department of Agriculture–manage about 95 percent of these federal acres. Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) manages another 1 percent of these acres and focuses on water projects. The five agencies collect certain data to help manage these federal lands. GAO was asked to review whether the five agencies collect certain federal land and resource data (referred to as data elements), how these data elements are stored, and their potential reliability. GAO included over 100 data elements at each agency in its analysis that can be categorized as information on (1) federal land and the resources the five agencies manage, (2) revenues generated from selected activities on these lands, and (3) federal land subject to selected land use designations. GAO assessed the potential reliability of data elements collected by the agencies generally for fiscal years 1996 through 2009 based on a survey of agency officials and a review of available audits and evaluations. GAO did not collect data for each data element. GAO is making no recommendations in this report.
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Oversight Hearing on
“Examining the Spending Priorities and the Missions on the U.S. Geological Survey and the President’s FY 2010 Budget Proposal”
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
OVERSIGHT HEARING ON:
- “Examining the Spending Priorities and the Missions of the U.S. Geological Survey and the President’s FY 2012 Budget Proposal”
Representative Doug Lamborn
WITNESSES & TESTIMONY:
The Honorable Marcia McNutt
Director, U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Department of Interior
Dr. Richard Aster
President, Seismological Society of America
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
John M. Palatiello
Dr. Jonathan G. Price
State Geologist and Director
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
University of Nevada, Reno
Testifying on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists
Dr. Craig M. Schiffries
Director for Geoscience Policy
Geological Society of America
In his testimony, John Palatiello, Executive Director of MAPPS stated, “The USGS operates primarily under authorization provided by the Act of March 3, 1879. It has been decades since Congress last enacted major surveying and mapping legislation for USGS. As a result, surveying and mapping has proliferated among more than 40 federal agencies, resulting in duplication, a lack of coordination, gaps in coverage and the absence of a strategic approach to providing the basic geographic information needed in the 21st century. The need for better coordination of Federal surveying and mapping activities has been well documented. … The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), established by President Clinton and reaffirmed by President Bush provides a framework for the geographic information America needs today. However, this priority is not reflected in the USGS budget.”
For MAPPS press release, click here.
- The National Map. (obxcommonground.org)
- National Geospatial Program and the President’s 2012 USGS Budget Proposal (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
By Robert Brodsky, Government Executive, January 26, 2011
Recent proposals from the Center for American Progress, a progressive Washington think tank, could offer a glimpse of possible outcomes of a proposed reorganization effort that could lead to the merger and consolidation of several federal agencies. During Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama announced that he would embark on one of the most aggressive federal reorganization efforts in decades to eliminate redundancy in government operations. Obama outlined the principles behind his proposed reorganization effort, noting that 12 different agencies deal with exports while at least five others have their hand in housing policy. …
For full text of the article, click here.
- Obama wants to consolidate and reorganize agencies (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Obama wants to consolidate and reorganize agencies – Washington Post (news.google.com)
- But Seriously, Mr. President, About Those Salmon … (news.sciencemag.org)
- Chris Weigant: Obama’s New Ideas (huffingtonpost.com)
- SOTU II: Save Obama First! (newsweek.com)