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Appendix C - Status of NSDI Data Themes


Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A–16 provides direction for Federal agencies that produce, maintain, or use spatial data in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The circular identifies 34 data themes of national significance and denotes which are framework data themes. This appendix includes descriptions of the following data themes: cadastral, digital orthoimagery, elevation, hydrography, soils, watershed boundaries, and wetlands.



Framework Data Theme: Cadastral

Responsible agency: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)


Description: The BLM is the lead Federal agency for cadastral data and chairs the FGDC Cadastral Subcommittee. Cadastral data describe the geographic extent of rights and interests in real property. The term “cadastral data” is synonymous with “land parcel data.” Under BLM’s leadership, the Cadastral Subcommittee develops and implements plans to coordinate cadastral data-related activities among Federal, State, tribal, and local governments and the private sector and reports on its activities to the FGDC. In the western United States, the FGDC Cadastral Subcommittee continues to work with the wildland fire community to identify sources of parcel data, standardize available data, and build sustainable systems to provide parcel data in coordination with States. In other regions of the country, such as the Midwest and the Southeast, the subcommittee continues to work with State coordinators to identify county cadastral data contacts.



County Parcel Partnership Status




The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) is a cadastral reference system used to divide public domain lands, which are lands owned by the Federal government. The original public domain included the land ceded to the Federal Government by the thirteen original States, supplemented with acquisitions from native Indians and foreign powers. It encompasses major portions of the land area of 30 States. Standardized PLSS representation supports geographic information system (GIS) applications that facilitate data integration, which enables searches by PLSS location. The statewide standardization PLSS representation is linked to PLSS legal survey records.



PLSS Standardization by State




The Cadastral Subcommittee has developed guidance for States to use when developing, publishing, and maintaining standardized cadastral information for government to government data sharing. State stewardship of cadastral data has seven levels, or phases, that lead to a State aggregating and publishing authoritative local data and serving as a trusted source. The levels range from level 1, in which a State coordinator identifies and assembles a current inventory of the State’s sources of cadastral data, to level 7, in which statewide data are assembled into a single dataset that can be combined seamlessly with other State and Federal land parcel data.



Cadastral Stewardship Status for Government to Government Data Sharing




Framework Data Theme: Digital Orthoimagery

Responsible agency:U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA)


Description: The USGS is the lead Federal agency for orthoimagery; however, a number of other Federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FSA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National States Geographic Information Council, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Census Bureau cooperate in the National Digital Orthophoto Programs (NDOP) consortium to develop and maintain national orthoimagery coverage in the public domain. The primary Federal programs for NDOP are the USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP), the NGA 133 Urban Areas Program, and the USGS National Orthoimagery Program.



USGS National Orthoimagery Program

The USGS National Orthoimagery Program concentrates on acquiring imagery through partnerships with Federal, State, tribal, regional, and local agencies. Quality assurance and data archiving and dissemination are other services that the USGS offers. These services support the following imagery types:

(1) High-resolution (1-meter), leaf-on, natural color orthoimagery in support of the National Geospatial Program’s digital topographic program and maintenance of the national orthoimagery dataset, and

(2) Very-high-resolution (1-foot or greater), leaf-off, natural-color orthoimagery for urban areas for the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program.

In fiscal year 2009, base funding for the orthoimagery collection was about $1.8 million, which was leveraged with partners to return $6.2 million of data. The USGS contributed about $900,000 to the 1-meter NAIP acquisition in fiscal year 2009, which, by the end of the leaf-on collection period, will have captured approximately two-thirds of the contiguous United States. In fiscal year 2009, the USGS national digital orthoimagery database grew largely through partnerships for collecting imagery at resolutions of finer than 1 meter.

The USGS is providing quality assurance and dissemination services for very-high-resolution orthoimagery along the borders of the United States. This NGA-sponsored project is contributing more than 38 terabytes of imagery and is expected to be completed by the end of calendar year 2009. The USGS continues to work closely with the NGA to collect, validate, archive, and disseminate imagery for the 133 Urban Areas Program. Through this program, digital orthoimagery is collected through partnerships with Federal, State, tribal, regional, and local agencies and is in the public domain.



The National Map 1-Meter Resolution Orthoimagery by Acquisition Year





The National Map High-Resolution Orthoimagery by Acquisition Year




USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program

The NAIP is a program through which agricultural imagery is acquired annually during the growing season. The FSA and other USDA agencies use the imagery to manage farm subsidy programs and agriculture-related disaster recovery programs. The imagery is in the public domain and is widely used by Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as by private entities and businesses. A few examples of the business processes that the data have been used to support are economic development, emergency response, environmental management, growth planning, health and human services, homeland security, precision farming and other agribusiness activities, and transportation planning. The FSA will collect data on privately owned farmland as identified by common land unit boundaries and will require that the participation of other Federal and State partners be in place for collection outside of those areas. Areas flown over in fiscal year 2009 covered more than 2 million square miles.


NAIP Orthoimagery 2009




Framework Data Theme: Elevation

Responsible agency: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)


Description: The National Elevation Dataset (NED) contains elevation data that provide three-dimensional surface models of the Earth’s surface. The USGS makes elevation data available for land areas and, in cooperation with the NOAA, under coastal waters. The USGS identifies digital elevation data based upon the resolution (spacing between the points) of a grid. One arc-second-resolution (equivalent to 30-meter-resolution) elevation data are complete and available for the entire United States, except Alaska. Current USGS efforts were concentrated on providing finer resolution of elevation data at 1/3- and 1/9-arc-second (equivalent to 10- and 3-meter resolutions, respectively) grid spacing. The data are developed from the best available data from Federal, State, and local agencies and private sector partners.

The USGS continued to coordinate very-high-resolution lidar acquisitions to provide improved data for the NED. In fiscal year 2009, the program leveraged $3.3 million against approximately $40 million of partnership funds to acquire high-resolution elevation data, primarily from lidar sources. Lidar collection along the Beaufort Sea in Alaska was undertaken to study sea level rise and erosion. Alaska was and will continue to be a target for higher-resolution elevation collection because its elevation data are historically inexact. The USGS is partnering with others to acquire lidar data for the Matanuska-Susitna area of Alaska and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) data over a larger portion of the Alaskan interior as part of an initiative to provide that State with higher-resolution elevation data. The coastal areas of the United States are the priority areas for future lidar data collection.

Development of a USGS base lidar specification has been started, with the aim of ensuring that lidar data collected under this specification will be suitable for the NED at the 1/9-arc-second resolution and can also be used to generate the 1/3- and 1-arc-second NED resolutions. The specification will also ensure that the lidar point cloud data are handled by all vendors in a consistent manner and delivered to the USGS in well-defined formats. This specification is expected to be completed in fiscal year 2010.


National Elevation Dataset Source Resolution




Framework Data Theme: Hydrography

Responsible agency:U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)


Description: The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) includes a common data model that contains nationwide coverage of surface water features at 1:100,000 scale and 1:24,000 scale. These data provide a universal solution for hydrography across the Nation and have widespread application in pollution control, hydrology, resource management, and fisheries research. The USGS provides the central database, technical development, distribution, data integration, leadership, program management, coordination, and continuous maintenance of the dataset through stewardship partnerships with the user community.

With completion of national high-resolution coverage in fiscal year 2007, attention turned to maintaining these data through a program of data stewardship. The USGS is continuing to supply the methods, tools, training, and guidance to allow the States to assume the responsibility for data maintenance and data upgrades. The USGS provides grant funding to States to help them establish stewardship operations. A number of States are now revising their hydrography data to 1:4,800- and 1:2,400-scale resolutions with USGS assistance.


Status of National Hydrography Dataset Stewardship Program




Data Theme: Soils

Responsible agency:U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey Division


Description: The National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) is a nationwide partnership of Federal, State, regional, and local agencies and private entities and institutions. The partners work together to investigate, inventory, document, classify, interpret, disseminate, and publish information about soils of the United States and its trust territories and commonwealths.


The map shows the current status of the Soil Survey Geographic database (SSURGO) for the United States. Dark green color indicates that detailed digital maps and attribute tables are available. Light green color indicates that only attribute tables are available. White areas indicate that no soil survey has been completed.


By the end of fiscal year 2009, the soil survey was expected to create 10 million acres of SSURGO data, 30 publications, and about 34.5 million acres of initial and updated soil survey mapping.


Soil Survey Data Status




Data Theme: Watershed Boundaries

Responsible agency: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)


Description: The Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) has been developed under the leadership of the FGDC Subcommittee on Spatial Water Data. The WBD is a complete digital hydrologic unit boundary layer to the sub-watershed (12-digit) 6th level at a 1:24,000 scale. The dataset consists of geo-referenced digital data and associated attributes created in accordance with the “FGDC Proposal, Version 2.0—Federal Standards for Delineation of Hydrologic Unit Boundaries.” The hydrologic unit boundaries provide a uniquely identified and uniform method of subdividing large drainage areas.


This status map shows the WBD for the United States. Certified WBD data are now available for the contiguous United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.


Soil Survey Data Status




Data Theme: Wetlands

Responsible agency: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)


Description: Wetlands data provide the classification, location, and extent of wetlands and deepwater habitats. To facilitate wetlands data development, the FGDC endorsed the Wetlands Mapping Standard in July 2009. The Wetlands Mapping Standard is designed to support current and future digital mapping requirements. It is intended to be extensible, forward-looking, and able to accommodate technology enhancements over time. Adherence to the Wetlands Mapping Standard is required for all wetlands mapping activities funded or conducted by the Federal Government.


In fiscal year 2009, two-thirds of the new and updated data added to the national wetlands inventory was produced by cooperating contributors. With the new standard in place, other organizations interested in wetlands mapping have the information they need to contribute mapped wetlands data to the wetlands theme. In addition, wetlands data is a catalog component to The National Map. Wetlands data are registered through Geospatial One-Stop and and can be viewed, analyzed, or downloaded on demand from the FWS’s Wetlands Mapper; the data can also be viewed by the general public using the Google Earth™ mapping service. The current availability of wetlands data is shown below.


Status of Online Wetlands Data






Main Report

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2009 11:25 AM
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