Subcommittee on Base Cartographic Data Report of 1999 Accomplishments
Base Cartographic Standards
1. Content Standard for Digital Orthoimagery
The final version of the Content Standard for Digital Orthoimagery was endorsed by the SWG on August 12, 1998. The FGDC Coordination Group agreed to recommend FGDC endorsement in January of 1999, and the standard was subsequently endorsed, by the FGDC Steering Committee, in February of 1999. This FGDC Content standard supports the orthoimagery theme of the NSDI Framework, for which the Subcommittee on Base Cartographic Data as accepted primary responsibility.
2. Content Standard for Digital Gridded Land Elevation Data
The Elevation standard endured a critical review, particularly with respect to its limited scope, and required substantial rework as a result of comments and the adjudication panel review. One of the challenges facing the Adjudication Panel was to properly address the comments received in public review, and recommend changes to the standard which would not change the scope and intent of the standard. The scope and intent, as defined in both the proposal and in the standard itself, was to define the land elevation theme of the NSDI Framework, as envisioned by the FGDC. Difficulties arose in fairly dealing with many comments, which showed that there is some concern and disagreement in the community on the definition of the land elevation Framework theme. The final draft, and the documentation of the public review adjudication, were submitted to the Federal Geographic Data Committee, Standards Working Group (SWG), to be evaluated for endorsement during the third quarter of FY98. The standard was initially rejected in the July 1, 1998 SWG meeting, and over the following months, additional edits were made to clarify the scope of the standard to make it clear that the intent is to define the NSDI Framework theme, as defined by the FGDC, which does not, and is not intended to, represent the full spectrum of digital elevation forms. The FGDC SWG, endorsed the final version of the standard, and forwarded it to the Coordination Group for consideration. In January of 1999 the Coordination Group rejected the standard, recommending approval if the word Framework were removed. At this point the SBCD determined that the level of disagreement among the community, including the FGDC, with the definition of the elevation theme of the NSDI Framework, made standardization through the FGDC consensus process impossible. The SBCD suspended further development of the Content Standard for Digital Gridded Land Elevation Data, and petitioned the Coordination Group to take action to rectify the problems associated with the thematic definition of the elevation framework.
4. Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS), Part 5: Raster Profile and Extensions
The final version of the SDTS, Part 5: Raster Profile and Extensions was endorsed by the SWG in October of 1998. The Coordination Group agreed to recommend FGDC endorsement in January of 1999, and the standard was subsequently endorsed, by the FGDC Steering Committee, in February of 1999. The SDTS Part 5: Raster Profile with Extensions, sponsored by the SBCD, was completed by the Raster Convergence Working Group (RCWG). The RCWG is an ad hoc working group, jointly staffed by the USGS and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. The Raster Profile Extended, replaces the current draft Part 5: Raster Profile of SDTS.
4. Proposed National Digital Elevation Program
An elevation focus group was assembled by the SBCD to explore the interest and feasibility of forming a coalition of federal agencies to address common issues on this category of data, especially with respect to laser and radar altimetry. Representatives from USGS, NOS, USACE, NIMA, FS, BLM, TVA, NGS, and FEMA met at USGS on 11/15 to discuss common interests and consider further actions.
On the basis of this meeting there was general consensus that a federal consortium could be established. A draft charter based on an existing consortium, the National Digital Orthoimagery Program (NDOP) was favorably received and the concept is now being more widely briefed and considered at the agencies represented and by other interested parties. The original group, with some anticipated augmentation, will meet on January 13, 2000, at FEMA.
The NDOP, in operation for the past 7 years, has been a very successful partnership of USGS, NRCS, FSA, and a number of states (and will soon include FEMA and possibly EPA). The Program is on the brink of completing initial, consistent, 1meter resolution Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQ) coverage, consistent with the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Orthoimagery, of the conterminous US. This is an accomplishment that would have been financially impossible as independent efforts by the individual partners, and is exemplary of the NSDI concepts at work.
Like the NDOP, the NDEP would seek to share information about new technologies, influence commercial developments, and provide a mechanism for cooperative data production over areas of common geographic interest. It would also create an environment favoring standardization of data and metadata, and could offer a means for negotiating more beneficial pricing and licensing terms in commercial contracts.