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Forest Service

FGDC Annual Report to OMB

1. Agency or Bureau:

USDA Forest Service

2. Name of Contact for Report:

Betsy Banas
Email Address:
Phone #: 703-605-4575

3. Steering Committee Member:

Mack Gray
Email Address:
Phone #: 202-720-7173


Coordination Group Participant(s):
Email Address:
Phone #:
Alison Hill
Rich Guldin
Betsy Banas
John Butterfield
Doug Powell


5. Subcommittee or Working Group Participation: Subcommittees or Working Groups in which your agency is actively involved, but does not lead: (NOTE: Active is defined as those staff who attend meetings when convened. - NRCS)

Base Cartographic, Federal Geodetic Control, Cadastral, Cultural and Demographic, Ground Transportation, Spatial Water, Wetlands, Geologic, Spatial Climate, Soils, Vegetation -- Lead

Working Groups
Biological Data, Earth Cover, Clearinghouse, Facilities, Metadata Ad Hoc, Standards, Sustainable Forest Data - Co-Lead

6. Goals and Accountability: Are you using spatial data with regard to performance?

  • Yes, see for the USDA Forest Service's Strategic Plan (2000 Revision). Geospatial data are not specifically mentioned in any of the four Forest Service GPRA goals but are integral to meeting our goals of improved resource management and public service. The Forest Service sees geospatial data and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology as critical resources and tools for accomplishing our program missions. Within each of the four GPRA goals are many individual geospatial data collection, maintenance and delivery efforts, which are natural extensions of our mandated mission and goals. These goals involve land and natural resource management, which are inherently geospatial.

6a. List agency GPRA strategic plan goals specifically related to spatial data activities:

Goal 1 -- Promote ecosystem health and conservation using a collaborative approach to sustain the Nation's forests, grasslands, and watersheds.

  • Implement a system with national standards for assessing watershed conditions by 2001.
  • Provide research results and tools to support the sustainable management, protection, and restoration of watersheds.
  • Establish scientifically credible monitoring programs, develop survey protocols, and initiate baseline and trend surveys for populations, habitats, and/ or ecological conditions to provide for viability of threatened and endangered species, species at risk, and other MIS/ focal species.
  • Identify priority health restoration needs through national and regional environmental monitoring and ecological risk assessments that include social and economic factors.
  • Focus agency resources to: - Reduce fire hazards, especially in urban/ wildland interface areas.

    Goal 2 -- Provide a variety of uses, values, products, and services for present and future generations by managing within the capability of sustainable ecosystems.

  • Research methods for estimating recreation capacity and demand using ecological capabilities and social factors.
  • Maintain the integrity of roadless areas for dispersed recreation opportunities through implementation of a roadless area conservation policy.
  • Establish baseline information and indicators for determining and maintaining wilderness quality in collaboration with other agencies.
  • Improve legal public use of NFS lands by acquiring rights- of- way for roads and trails and by clearly identifying NFS boundaries.
  • Identify data sources( s), collect data, and establish baseline indicators by FY 2003 that support the measurement of progress toward the objective.

    Goal 3 -- Develop and use the best scientific information available to deliver technical and community assistance and to support ecological, economic, and social sustainability.

  • Increase technical assistance and technology transfer in dealing with economic, environmental, and social changes related to natural resources to-
    • Tribal governments.
    • Rural communities.
    • Private landowners.
  • Diversify delivery mechanisms for scientific, developmental, and technical information.
  • Encourage NFS, State and Private Forestry, Research and Development, and International Programs to establish their respective baselines for the delivery of scientific, developmental, and technical information.
  • Implement inventory and monitoring systems to provide scientific information and decision support across all land ownerships.
  • Provide research results and tools through technology transfer that support effective management, protection, and restoration of ecosystems.
  • Incorporate/ integrate the best available science in all broad- scale assessments and land and resource management plan revisions.

    Goal 4 -- Ensure the acquisition and use of an appropriate corporate infrastructure to enable the efficient delivery of a variety of uses.

  • Complete and maintain inventories and condition surveys of roads, trails, and facilities.
  • Develop and manage a standardized, integrated resource information environment that supports agency programs and facilitates cooperation and coordination with other land management partners.
  • Establish baseline data for informational services and structures.

6b. List agency GPRA performance measures specifically related to spatial data activities (Note: measures listed rely heavily on the use and application of geospatial data for strategy development,program monitoring, documenting accomplishments and sharing results with partners and customers)

By 2006:

  • 100 percent of national forests and grasslands have established measurable objectives and monitoring programs for populations, habitats, and/ or ecological conditions for threatened and endangered species, other species for which there are viability concerns, and other MIS/ focal species, and are achieving objectives at rates consistent with timeframes identified in land and resource management plans.
  • Make information available for determining sustainable quantities of goods and services for the Nation's forests and grasslands.
  • A 5- percent increase in number of partnerships and contracts that include Federal, State, and Tribal governments and other entities.
  • Quality and effectiveness of scientific, developmental, and technical information is reflected by increased user satisfaction and application.
  • A review process for broad- scale assessments and land and resource management plan revisions is developed and implemented.
  • Protocols for implementation of the Inventory and Monitoring Framework are in place by September 30, 2002.
  • A 10- percent increase in customer satisfaction with Inventory and Monitoring products and services.
  • A 50- percent increase in percentage of USDA Forest Service information services and data structures that are accessible by employees and the public

7. Strategy: Has your agency prepared a strategy for advancing geographic information and spatial data activities in coordination with the FGDC strategy, pursuant to Circular A-16?

Yes, The Forest Service (FS) Geospatial Executive Board (GEB) was established to provide oversight and coordination of Forest Service (FS) geospatial programs and activities. The GEB, utilizing an advisory committee representing a broad spectrum of FS units, has developed a strategy for advancing geographic information and spatial data activities which includes:

  • geospatial data development, management and dissemination;
  • standards development, adoption, and administration;
  • applications development and implementation;
  • evaluation and acquisition of geospatial technologies;
  • technical support services; and
  • training and technology transfer.

The GAC has identified issues critical to advancing FS geographic information and spatial data activities. A work plan is in place to address, monitor these issues. The GAC develops and makes recommendations to the GEB concerning geospatial program execution and resources needed to manage Forest Service data assets and meet corporate requirements.

Additional information regarding the efforts of the Forest Service Geospatial Advisory Committee is available upon request.

8. Standards: Has your agency developed and/or adopted appropriate standards?

  • Yes, where available FGDC standards or other recognized national and international standards are used for resource mapping data and other inventory and monitoring data contained in Forest Service National Applications. Nationally approved standards are used for Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data.

9. Metadata: Is your agency's metadata and/or data available and discoverable online through an NSDI-compatible clearinghouse node registered as part of the NSDI Clearinghouse Network?

The Forest Service Geospatial Service and Technology (GSTC) will house an NSDI compatible clearinghouse node, which will be part of the NSDI Clearinghouse Network. The node is scheduled to be active by the end of the first quarter of FY02. Forest Service resource mapping data and associated metadata will be made available through this clearinghouse node.

10. Vertical and Horizontal Data Integration: Is your data integratable with other Federal agencies and other sources of data (State, County, local, private)?

Yes, the Forest Service is actively involved in the National Digital Elevation Program (NDEP), an interagency program which promotes the sharing of standardized digital elevation data, such as Digital Elevation Models, orthophotography and related mapping resource data. The Forest Service participates with the US Geological Survey in the production of the Single Edition 1:24,000 scale Topographic Quadrangle Map, which is vertically and horizontally integratable with other source data, and produced to a national standard. The Forest Service is also involved in many data sharing partnerships with State and local governments. The sharing of standard, integrable source data is the primary goal of these partnerships.

11. E-Gov: How are you using geospatial data in your mission activities to provide better services?

The Forest Service Recreation, Heritage and Wilderness Resource staff is involved in several interagency E -Gov initiatives that involve utilization of geospatial data. An effort is currently underway to provide on -line campground reservation services, complete with interactive, navigational maps. As an initial start to this endeavor, the Forest Service and other Federal agencies have established a cooperative arrangement with the state governments of New York and New Jersey; and the county government of Arlington, Virginia, to begin development of this on-line service. This web-served geospatial database will be supported by federal, state and local governments. The database will ultimately provide a complete view of all recreational opportunities and related public services.

The Forest Service and other federal agencies involved with are using spatial data to develop on-line route mapping for a variety of recreational activities.

The Forest Service has developed a package for use by our forests and other recreational areas, which uses remotely sensed data to create virtual tours that can be viewed, on-line, by the public.

Are there areas or issues regarding spatial data that require attention, or lessons-learned that you would like to share with others?

Lessons Willing to Share:

The Forest Service has developed a Resource Mapping Evaluation (RMET) Tool Kit in order facilitate the efficient Forest Service-wide acquisition of GIS resource mapping core data layers. The RMET is used to assess the current status of the applicable data layers on National Forest System lands, to determine costs of acquisition and conversion, and to monitor the development of the data through time. This tool can be adapted for use by other organizations.

The Forest Service has established an agency level FGDC Coordinating Group to oversee involvement in the various FGDC subcommittees and working groups, as well as involvement in state, local and other data sharing efforts. This effort has proved to be a successful way to monitor, coordinate and communicate these many, related activities and has resulted in more efficient and effective participation.

Issues of Concern

  • Effectively collecting and managing the vast amount of resource data continues to be an enormous task.
  • Data licensing continues to be an issue.
  • New policy must be established regarding land ownership records, which are available on-line.
  • Collection of needed Forest Inventory and Analysis data on privately owned land is not always possible and this can adversely influence research results.
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2006 03:07 PM
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