Fish and Wildlife Service 1998 NSDI Bureau Accomplishments
Goal 1: Increase the awareness and understanding of the vision, concepts and benefits of the NSDI through outreach and education.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has continued it's efforts to educate GIS users in the Service about NSDI and other data sharing initiatives in 1998. All GIS course offerings at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) discuss the need to check available data sources before creating new data, to document any new data that is created (metadata), and to make that data available to other users. NSDI is used to illustrate those concepts. The NSDI Internet site is linked to by the Service's GIS pages, and is part of the training sessions.
In addition to the regular classes at NCTC, the NSDI was discussed at the National Fish and Wildlife Service GIS workshop, held in June of 1998. Updates on changes, additions, or other items of note are posted to the Service's GIS discussion group and homepage periodically.
Goal 2: Develop common solutions for discovery, access, and use of geospatial data in response to the needs of diverse communities.
During 1998 the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) became an official NSDI clearinghouse node. NWI has also been testing other types of access to their data in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), attempting to reach the widest possible GIS audience.
A new tool for creating FGDC compliant metadata, Metalite, was developed by a Service employee in 1998 and shared with Service employees as well as GIS partners. Training on this tool was offered at the GIS workshop in June, and some ongoing support is available. To obtain a copy visit http;//www.fws.gov/data/metadoc.html, item #10.
Tools to make it easier to utilize the new SDTS (spatial data transfer standard) data have been developed and shared on the Service's Internet site. These tools were developed in cooperation with other GIS users over the Internet, and their availability announced on several major listservs. They are available at http://www.fws.gov/data/gisconv/gistools.html.
Goal 3: Use community-based approaches to develop and maintain common collections of geospatial data for sound decision-making.
The Service supported the development of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in 1997 to allow the creation of a consistent boundary layer for Service lands, nationwide. In 1998 the Service started funding the actual creation of the data using the SOP. While this data layer will not be complete for several years, a good quality data layer that shows Service owned lands is an important piece of information for decision-making.
The FGDC National Vegetation Classification System was adopted by the Service as a standard in 1998, and a workgroup formed to create tools for Service personnel to use in implementing the standard. Tools already in use by other agencies have been reviewed, and changes or additions are being made as needed for Service applications.
As part of the Service Information Technology Architecture (SITA) the Service is also stressing the development of standards for non-spatial data sets. The goal of SITA, to be able to access most Service-owned data through a simple browser interface, demands that data elements as well as data layers be standardized and documented or querying across databases will not be possible. This has the added benefit of making data more easily accessible to Service employees and the public.
Goal 4: Build relationships among organizations to support the continuing development of the NSDI.
Coordination with partners is an on-going effort within the Service. Positions are cost-shared between federal agencies and Service employees are active participants on local and national geographic coordinating committees. All offices are being encouraged to share data, and a national infrastructure is being put in place to facilitate this data sharing at little or no cost to local offices.