Frequently Asked Questions - 2009 NSDI CAP

Q.  I am having trouble sending my application to  What can I do?

You should contact the Contact Center.   Problems can be reported to the USGS contact ( and/or the NSDI CAP Coordinator (

MacIntosh based computer systems may have signification trouble submitting applications to

Q. How long does it take to get set up in

Please allow at least two weeks to set up your agency to login and submit applications via the system.  The step by step information see How to Submit a CAP Proposal.

Q. If I have trouble sending my application via may I submit it via email or send a hardcopy?

No, all proposals must be submitted via

.  Also, no applications (proposals) will be accepted after 2 pm (EDT) on January 6, 2009.


Q. Is it acceptable to send in letters of support after the submission deadline?

Yes.  Letters can be faxed, emailed, and sent via the postal service. Fax number: 703-648-5755; email address:; postal service: NSDI CAP Coordinator, MS 590 National Center, Reston, VA 20192.

Q. What level of technical detail should be included in the proposals?

Looking at the scoring criteria and the suggestions for length of proposals in the announcment  - it's a balance. Proposals are ranked based on likelihood of success as revealed in response to the scoring criteria elements. In general, significant technical detail indicates greater understanding of the category and would underscore competence in the technical approach.

Q. We are preparing the budget for the CAP application and have a question on the instructions for SF-424A (page 3, Section A – Budget Summary Lines…). Does the program we are applying to not require functional or activity breakdown or does it?

The SF-424A is only a summary form. As a separate attachement, you must provide a detailed budget breakdown as follows (this is from page 8 in the announcement):

D. Budget Breakdown Attachment

As an attachment to the project narrative, please provide more budget details than are required under the SF 424A form. The budget format guide included in Attachment C can be used to include the following information, separating the CAP funds and the in-kind match.

Salaries and Wages. List names, positions, and rate of compensation. This should only include personnel actively involved in the project. If contract employees are hired, include their total time, rate of compensation, job titles, and roles.

Fringe Benefits. Propose your rates/amounts. If rates are audit approved, include copy of the audit agreement and/or the name of the audit agency.

Field Expenses. Briefly itemize the estimated travel costs (i.e., destination, number of people, number of travel days, transportation costs, and other travel costs such as mileage rate and per diem).

Other Direct Cost Line Items. Categories may include training, labor costs, software licenses, supplies, equipment, required travel, project logistics, and fees for consultants, publications, and project presentations. This is not an inclusive list; add other categories as appropriate and see the category description for additional details. Please itemize the costs to the greatest extent possible. If including contractual services, identify proposed contractors (individual or corporate) and provide the criteria by which contractors will be, or have been selected.

Total Direct Charges. Totals for items 1, 2, 3, and 4. The proposal must show the in kind match.

Indirect Charges (Overhead). Show proposed rate and amount. Proposals from States or universities must include a copy of the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement. Be sure that indirect charges apply only to those direct cost items allowable under the negotiated cost rate agreement. Usually, sub-contract direct costs are either excluded from indirect charges, or there is a cap on the amount of subcontract costs eligible for indirect charges.

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that the budget sheet described above be used so that delays in processing a funded proposal can be avoided. An award will not be issued until all required information and details have been provided.

Completeness of this information will be considered in review, but it is understood that this information is best guess estimation; therefore, prior approval of the Contracting Officer is not required for transfer of funds between direct cost categories when the cumulative amount of the transfers during the performance period does not exceed ten percent (10%) of the total USGS cash award. Prior written approval is required from the Contracting Officer for transfers of funds in excess of the ten percent limitation.

Q.  Is there a published API for the GOS Portal to allow software developers to assess development of third party applications?

Yes, a 2007 draft, which is the most current version of the document, is available here.

Q.  What is the start date for 2009 NSDI CAP projects?

The start date of a project is up to the discretion of the applicant but it must be no later than September 30, 2009, the end of the Federal fiscal year.

Q.  What is the length of a CAP project?

One year.  All projects end one year after the start date.  Depending on circumstances it may be possible to obtain a no-cost extension for up to 6 months.

Q. Can Federal funds from another project be used as in-kind matching?

No, direct funding from other Federal contacts, grants, and cooperative agreements cannot be used as in-kind match funding.

Q. Would funding already spent this year towards a solution count towards a match? If we've done work for
a Federal client which fits in the category of interest, can the funds contributed towards this be applied to a new CAP grant?

No. The agreement is for a new work period and in-kind and effort should take place during the same timeframe.

Q. What geographical area is covered by the 2009 NSDI CAP?

All 2009 projects must occur and cover areas in the United States and/or its territories and outlying areas .  The GSDI Small Grant Program may provide a funding opportunity.

Q. Who may apply for an NSDI CAP award?

Any entity, except Federal agencies, may submit an application for a CAP award.  This includes State government, local governments, Tribal governments, academic institutions, commercial companies, and non-profit organizations.

Q. What types of groups have been awarded CAP projects in the past? For example, has any State or local government won a CAP?

All types of groups/entities have been awarded.  The selection is based on the scoring criteria listed for each of the categories in the announcement.

Q. Can a Federal agency be a partner on the CAP project?

Yes.  Federal agencies can be a partner to the applicant but not provide any of the direct in-kind funding. For category 4 the applicant will need a Federal partner since the goal of the project is to find hidden treasures in Federal statistical data that could benefit from becoming visible as documented geo-data.

Q. Which 2009 CAP categories have the 3 year restriction on eligibility?

There is restrictive eligibility language in all the categories. In general it is restrictive within the particular category. This means that if an institute received an award for category 3 they could not receive a 2009 award from the same category.  The reason for this restriction is to provide funding opportunities to organizations that have not previously been awarded.  Please make sure to read the full announcement for the details.

Q. What constitutes an "FGDC-endorsed" standard?

The endorsed standards can be found via this link.

Q. Is Category 4 brand new or a renewal/continuation of a previous CAP?

This is a new category.

Q. What is a cooperative agreement?  Is it a grant?

A cooperative agreement (CA) is not a grant but it is very similiar.  In a CA there is substantial involvement by Federal goverment in the project.  In the grant the grantee runs the project without Federal government involvement.  The involvement can include regular teleconferences, technical support, and administrative assistance in resolving issues.

Q. Who else has expressed interest in the CAP opportunities?

We cannot disclose applicant parties. We do not see the proposals until after the CAP closes.

Q. Can you please clarify the project results in Category 4, which says on page 32 that "The awardee will work with multiple Federal government agencies identified by the FGDC to demonstrate the process on at least three candidate strategic tabular data sets"?

We are seeking proposals that demostrate strong alliances. The FGDC identifies the FGDC Coordination Group members as a potential candidate list for Federal proposal partners in this Category. Other national Federal entities may be proposed who would benefit from geo-enablement for activities of national scope.


If there are additional questions please send an email Gita Urban-Mathieux  ( and/or one of the categories leads.