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Federal Geographic Data Sharing

In 1992 the FGDC Steering Committee endorsed these Policy Statements for Federal Geographic Data Sharing


The overall purpose of these policy statements is to facilitate full and open access to Federal geographic data

by Federal users and the general public. They were prepared in consonance with the goals of the Federal

Geographic Data Committee, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-16, the Data Management for

Global Change Research Policy Statements, and the proposed revision of Office and Management and

Budget Circular A-130. As such, they represent the U.S. Government’s position on access to Federal

geographic data.

Geographic data that are created, collected, processed, disseminated, and stored by the Federal Government

are a valuable national resource. The Federal Government serves as a steward of this resource, shall exercise

information resource management with special emphasis on the information life cycle, and shall ensure the

effective and economical development of the Nation’s spatial data infrastructure.

• Agencies shall commit to the maintenance, validation, description, accessibility, and

distribution of geographic data.

• Agencies shall manage geographic data in a way that facilitates data sharing and use by other

agencies and the general public. Geographic data shall be maintained consistently among

agencies. Data sharing maximizes the net return on the investment of public resources.

• Federal program managers are data managers and have a responsibility to plan for

information resource management as an integral part of overall mission planning. Agencies

need to plan from the outset for the steps in the information life cycle.

• Federal, national, and international standards shall be used to the greatest extent possible for

data content, processing, and dissemination of geographic data sets.

• Agencies shall disseminate geographic data in a manner that achieves the best balance among

the goals of maximizing the usefulness of the data and minimizing the cost to the government

and the public. Data products should be disseminated equitably and on timely and equal

terms. Agencies should take advantage of all dissemination channels, Federal and non-

Federal, including State and local governments and private sector entities, in discharging

agency data dissemination responsibilities.

• Agencies should set use charges for data products at a level sufficient to recover the cost of

dissemination but no higher. They also exclude from the calculation of the charges costs

associated with the original collection and processing of the data. Exceptions to this policy

are described in section 8a(8)(c) of the April 29, 1992, Federal Register Notice to revise

OMB Circular A-130, “Management of Federal Information Resources.”

• Federal agencies shall maintain an information dissemination management system for

geographic data that shall include easily accessible information and the data holdings,

including quality assessments, supporting information, and guidance and aids for locating and

obtaining the data.

• For those programs in which selected principal investigators have initial periods of exclusive

data use, the data shall be made openly available as soon as the exclusive use period has

expired. In each case, the funding agency shall explicitly define the duration of any exclusive

use period.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2005 04:41 PM
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