FGDC Message on the Passage of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018

October 11, 2018 

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to let you know that on October 5, the President signed the Geospatial Data Act of 2018 (GDA) into law.  The GDA was included as a component of HR. 302, the FAA Reauthorization Act.

We would like to recognize the bipartisan sponsors of the GDA, Senators Hatch and Warner, and Representatives Westerman and Moulton, for their leadership in sponsoring the Act and seeing it through to final passage.  I would also like to thank the many geospatial organizations who have advocated for the GDA and worked with Congress to develop consensus on the final bill language.  The GDA reflects broad agreement from many different stakeholders across the geospatial community.

The wide support for the GDA reflects growing recognition of the essential role of geospatial data and technology and highlights the need to support their continuing development as critical infrastructure.  Collaborative relationships and partnerships are fundamental components of the GDA and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, and we look forward to continued engagement with our partner organizations as we address the requirements of the Act. 

In the coming weeks and months, we will be working with FGDC agencies and with partners to develop thoughtful implementation strategies for the GDA.  The GDA includes new responsibilities and processes, and will change the way that we manage geospatial programs across government.  We are committed to working collaboratively to implement the GDA in an effective manner.  We will continue to keep you informed as we work through the implementation process.  We have set up a new page on the FGDC website, www.fgdc.gov/gda, where we will post updates and information about the implementation of the Act. 

We look forward to working with all of you on this important new legislation, and to supporting our shared interest in advancing the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. 


Timothy Petty, Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary, Water and Science, Department of the Interior