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A Publication of the Federal Geographic Data Committee March 1997


FGDC Announces the 1997 Framework Demonstration Projects Program The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Framework Demonstration Projects Program (FDPP) provides resources to develop the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) framework concept. Groups of agencies who are working together to coordinate geographic data collection, use, and access may apply. The framework proposes a basic information content, and the technical, operational, and business contexts by which a distributed, collaborative data collection and maintenance effort for the nation would operate. Framework data categories include geodetic control, digital orthoimagery, elevation, transportation, hydrography, governmental units, and cadastral data. Projects should broadly test a full range of framework technical and institutional aspects.

The FGDC will award up to seven cooperative agreements totaling $460,000, with funds for specific projects not to exceed $65,000.

The results of these projects will be the establishment of operational framework sites that will provide guidance on developing framework policies and practices, act as examples of applied framework for other implementers, and as starting points for future framework research and development. For additional information see the FGDC home page.

Application packages will be available March 7, 1997. Applications must be submitted by May 16, 1997. Awards will be announced in late July.

1997 Framework Demonstration Projects Program....

Requests for copies of the 1997 FDPP Announcement 1434-HQ-97-PA-00023 application package must be made in writing to:

Tammy Fanning
U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Acquisition and Federal Assistance
Mail Stop 205B
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, Virginia 20192

Requests may be faxed to (703) 648-7901. Completed applications must be returned by May 16, 1997. 1997 CCAP Application Period Closes... The 1997 Competitive Cooperative Agreements Program's (CCAP) application period closed March 7, 1997. Awards for NSDI partnership activities in clearinghouse, educational outreach, framework, metadata implementation, and standards development will be announced in late August, 1997. Watch the FGDC CCAP home page for results.

A New Program to Assess the Benefits of the NSDI...A new program sponsored by the FGDC will assess the value of the NSDI for decision making within geographic areas. Open to federal agencies in partnership with state, local, and tribal governments, academia, non-profit organizations and private companies, the NSDI Benefits Program will fund six or eight projects for fiscal year 1998 at a level not to exceed $40,000 for each project. Cost matching is required. The program seeks noteworthy projects that make use of geographic data to address specific problems or needs in a community and use NSDI services and related technologies to offer viable solutions and measurable outcomes. The issues addressed may be environmental, economic, social, or cultural. Program applications will be available mid-March. The program will close in May with awards to be announced in July. If you wish to receive a program announcement, please contact the Program Coordinator, NSDI Benefits Program, U.S. Geological Survey, 590 National Center, Reston, VA 20192, (703) 648-5971, fax: (703) 648-5755, e-mail: Watch the FGDC home page for more information.

Public Review of FGDC Standards Five standards, proposed for adoption by the FGDC, are now out for public review. The FGDC encourages all interested persons and organizations to comment on the content, completeness, and usability of these standards.

Soils Geographic Data Standard The overall objective of the Soil Geographic Data Standard is to standardize the names, definitions, ranges of values, and other characteristics of soil survey map attribute data developed by the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS). The NCSS is composed of federal, state, and local government agencies who cooperatively develop the soil survey nationally. The proposed standard will be used by federal agencies to inventory, map, and report on the soil resources of the United States. The standard includes descriptions of the proposed data elements to be used when reporting and transferring data about soil map units for NCSS soil maps. The soil attribute data associated with soil maps include the physical and chemical properties of the soils, interpretative information, the arrangement of these soils into soil map units, and information about the soil map units. Public review closes April 1, 1997.

Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) Point Profile, Federal Geodetic Control Subcommittee.... As Part 6 of SDTS, FIPS 173, this standard contains specifications for a SDTS profile for use with geographic point data only, with the option to carry high precision coordinates, such as those required for geodetic network control points. This profile is a modification of Part 4, the Topological Vector Profile, and follows many of the conventions of that profile. The intent of the point profile is to specify standards for transfers of geographic point data describing real world features, such as high precision geodetic networks rather than data derived from map graphics. The profile does not include standards for transferring topological structures. Additional information may be obtained HERE. Public review closes April 1, 1997.

Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standard: Part 1 Introduction
Part 2, Standard for Geodetic Networks; and
Part 3, National Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy (NSSDA)
The Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standards provide a common methodology for reporting the horizontal and vertical accuracy of clearly defined features where the location is represented by a single point coordinate. Part 1 defines the general accuracy reporting standards for horizontal and vertical components. These are adopted in the subsequent parts of the draft standard. Part 2 addresses accuracy reporting for geodetic network surveys and is intended to replace accuracy standards previously issued from the Federal Geodetic Control Subcommittee. Part 3 provides a common methodology for testing and reporting the accuracy of maps and geospatial data derived from sources such as aerial photographs, satellite imagery, and maps. The NSSDA is intended to replace the United States National Map Accuracy Standard (U.S Bureau of the Budget, 1947). (The development of additional parts to this multi-part standard are now underway, including the development of accuracy standards for hydrographic survey data and large scale engineering data.) Public review closes May 15, 1997.

Standard for Digital Orthoimagery This standard defines the orthoimage theme of the digital geospatial data framework as envisioned by the Federal Geographic Data Committee. This standard will provide a common baseline for the description of digital orthoimages to facilitate data interchange. The standard describes procedures for quality control, testing, processing, accuracy and reporting standards for digital orthoimages and application information. The public review period of this standard closes July 25, 1997.

Standard for Digital Elevation Data The Digital Elevation Data standard defines the digital elevation theme of the digital geospatial data framework as envisioned by the Federal Geographic Data Committee. This standard will provide a common baseline for the description of digital elevation data to facilitate data interchange. The standard describes procedures for quality control, testing, processing, accuracy and reporting standards for digital elevation data and application information. The public review period closes July 25, 1997.

Requests for written copies of the above standards can be obtained by contacting the FGDC Secretariat.

Standards for Digital Orthoimagery and Digital Elevation Data may be downloaded from these respective Internet sites: and

Review comments may be mailed to the FGDC Secretariat. Please send one hardcopy version of the comments and a softcopy version, preferably on a 3.5x3.5 diskette in WordPerfect 5.0 or 6.0/6/1.

In addition, comments on the Content Standards for Digital Orthoimagery may be sent to the e-mail site:

Comments on the Content Standard for Digital Elevation Data may be sent to the 3-mail site:

Public Review for Revising the FGDC Metadata Standard The FGDC will be sponsoring a public review of the revised Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata, also known as the "FGDC Metadata Standard." This standard was originally adopted by the FGDC in 1994. The purpose of the standard is to provide a common set of terminology and definitions for documentation related to data content, quality, condition, and other data characteristics. The FGDC is actively promoting metadata implementation throughout the geospatial data community. All Federal agencies are required to document their data using this standard. The intent of this public review is to ensure that the revised standard meets the needs and recognizes the views of State and local governments, academia, and the private sector.

The revision enhances the Standard in the areas listed below:

    Formalizes a method for creating user-defined metadata elements; these are elements not addressed by the standard, but are considered necessary by the data producer.
    Establishes a method to develop metadata Standard "profiles" for specific thematic implementations, such as those for biological, cultural and demographic data
    Refines the standard's production Rules to clarify the hierarchial relationships of repeated metadata elements to improve implementation.

The goal of the proposed modifications is to make the FGDC Metadata Standard easier to use, while ensuring compatibility with metadata collected under the current Standard, and compatibility with the International Standards Organization (ISO) Metadata Standard now under development.

The public review period will begin shortly, and will last for 90 days. Requests for review materials should be directed to the FGDC Secretariat or may accessed at the FGDC home page. Review materials will include 1) a description of the public review process and scope of the Standard revision activity, 2) the current FGDC Metadata Standard, 3) the Draft Revised Standard, and 4) an explanation of the modifications to the current standard.

Reviewer comments will be accepted at a HyperNews site accessible at the FGDC home page, by e-mail at or by mail to the FGDC Secretariat.

Watch the FGDC home page for more information.

The FGDC Adopts Two New National Data Standards The Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats...
The FGDC adopted the Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States (1979) authored by L.M. Cowardin, V.Carter, F.C.Golet, and E.T.La Roe as the national wetland classification content standard. The FGDC Subcommittee on Wetland Data, sponsored the adoption of this standard.

Commonly know as the "Cowardin system," this standard provides specific ecological and hydrological information for the identification, classification, and mapping of wetlands in the United States and its territories. The purpose of the standard is to provide a system that allows communication about wetlands and their features in a national context. Using the standard will enhance the ability of all agencies and individuals to interpolate and extrapolate wetland resource data, wetland loss and gain data, and restoration efforts in the same semantic and ecological context.

The standard is intended for use in the acquisition of government data involving the extent, classification, and inventory of wetlands and deepwater habitats in the United States and its territories.

Adoption of the standard will not change the current status of National Wetlands Inventory maps produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Application of the standard is not regulatory. As the disclaimer on each NWI map states, "Federal, State, and local regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over wetlands may define and describe wetlands in a different manner than that used in this inventory. There is no attempt, in either the design or products of this inventory, to define the limits of proprietary jurisdiction of any Federal, State, or local government or to establish the geographical scope of the regulatory programs of government agencies."

Copies are for sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Payment may be made by check, money order, or deposit account. The publication is available through the Library of Congress (QH76U5a79/31 [QH104] 574.5'0973s [574.5'2632] 79-607795. The Cowardin Classification System may also be accessed at the Internet website at:

The Cadastral Data Content Standard... In order to promote more effective use, sharing, and improved land records creation and management, the Subcommittee on Cadastral Data sponsored the development of the Cadastral Data Content Standard. This standard now adopted by the FGDC, describes a logical data model that provides common definitions for information found in public records, standardizes attribute values, and resolves discrepancies of the federal land record systems.

Overview of FGDC Standards Development February 1997FGDC Endorsed Standards
  • Content Standards for Geospatial Metadata
  • ProgramSpatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS)
  • Cadastral Data Content Standard
  • Classification of Wetlands and Deep Water Habitats

    Review Stage
      Completed Public Review
    • Vegetation Classification Standard, Vegetation Subcommittee
    Out for Public Review (notification made in Federal Register)
    • Soils Geographic Data Standard, Soils Subcommittee
    • Point Profile for SDTS, Geodetic Subcommittee
    • Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standard:
    • Part 1, Reporting Methodology, Geodetic Subcommittee
    • Part 2, Geodetic Control Networks, Geodetic Subcommittee
    • Part 3, National Spatial Data Accuracy Standard, Base Cartographic Subcommittee
    • Content Standards for Digital Orthoimagery, Base Cartographic Subcommittee
    • Content Standards for Digital Elevation Data, Base Cartographic Subcommittee
    Draft Stage
    • Utilities Data Content Standard, Facilities Working Group
    • Facility ID Data Standard, Facilities Working Group
    • CADD Profile for SDTS, Facilities Working Group
    • Address Content Standard, Cultural and Demographic
    • Metadata Profile for Cultural and Demographic Data, Cultural and Demographic
      Proposal Stage
    • Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standards, Part 4: Standard for Hydrographic Surveys and Nautical
    • Charts, Bathymetric Subcommittee
    • Metadata Content Standard for Biological Resources Data, Standards Working Group

Geologic Data Subcommittee Activity The Geologic Data Subcommittee has concluded the review of a USGS draft cartographic standard for geologic maps, and is revising it for submittal in 1997 as a FGDC draft standard. The Subcommittee is also coordinating with standards development activities conducted by several U.S. Geological Survey and Association of American State Geologists working groups. Some of these groups will be developing proposed standards (e.g., a geologic data model) that will be examined by the Subcommittee for consideration as proposed Federal standards. Further information can be found at the Subcommittee's new Web site at:

ISO/TC211 Meeting: Sydney, Australia
The FGDC participated in a meeting of the International Standardization Organization, Technical Committee 211 (ISO/TC211) held January 20-24 in Sydney, Australia. The ISO/TC211 Committee on Geographic Information/Geomatics is developing a suite of international data standards for geographic information.

Of particular interest to the FGDC, at this time, is the ISO metadata standard, a work item under ISO Working Group 3, Geospatial Data Administration. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (U.S. Department of Defense) provides the U.S. lead for this effort. The FGDC plans to adopt the IS standard when it becomes final in 1999. The FGDC will be organizing a long-term revision team to provide input to the ISO standard and review the ISO drafts to ensure U.S. needs are met. The long-term revision team will seek public comment on the FGDC Metadata Standard beginning in mid April 1997 for the purpose of developing the U.S. positions for the ISO Standard. Watch the FGDC home page for developments.

NSDI Clearinghouse Update Isite software that supports full FGDC metadata content has been released for general use. Isite is an integrated Internet publishing software package which includes a text indexer/search system and Z39.50 communication tools to access databases. The general Isite 2.0 release has now incorporated the FGDC metadata as an indexing option and will be supported by the Center for Networked Information Discovery and Retrieval (CNIDR). The Isite server and indexer software package now runs on a variety of UNIX hosts and will soon be made available for Windows NT users.

A prototype public HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Java interface to the Clearinghouse was introduced in the fall of 1996 for users to query and access distributed metadata. The HTML interface was designed by CNIDR and the Java interface was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory Marine Environmental Library project to permit geographical and temporal query using maps and other visualization techniques.

These tools may be accessed at the Clearinghouse site of the FGDC home page.

Spotlight on New Cooperating Groups:

NACo and NSGIC Join in Partnership with the FGDC In response to requests from National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), on January 9, 1997 Hank Garie, President of NSGIC and Winifred Lyday, Director of NACo Information Technology Services, met with Mark Shaefer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, and John Moeller and Kathy Covert of the FGDC Secretariat and worked out a plan to open FGDC Steering Committee and Coordination Group meetings to representatives of the two nationwide organizations. NACo and NSGIC members and representatives will play an active role in the spring Steering Committee meeting.

Four Organizations Are Recognized as New Partners in Building the NSDI Four organizations engaged in statewide geographic information coordination activities have recently been recognized by the FGDC as partners in building the NSDI.

The Kentucky Geographic Information Advisory Council was established in 1994 by the Kentucky general assembly. The council has proposed a statewide GIS base map to provide a common and consistent digital base map covering the entire state.

The Louisiana Geographic Information Systems Council was created by an act of the state's legislature in 1995. The council directs the activities of the Louisiana Geographic Information Center.

The Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office has been designated as the liaison to the FGDC on behalf of the Wisconsin Land Information Board, and the Wisconsin Initiative for Statewide Cooperation on Landscape Analysis and Data. The these geographic information coordination bodies in Wisconsin have joined together to link with the FGDC.

The Kansas GIS Policy Board was established in 1989 by executive directive and re-authorized in 1995 under executive order. The policy board established the Data Access and Support Center in 1991 to provide statewide data distribution and support services. The board also established a policy requiring all state agencies, boards, commissions, and regents' institutions to develop and maintain digital documentation of GIS databases in compliance with the FGDC Content Standards for Geospatial Metadata.

Directory of Cooperating Groups in Partnership with the Federal Geographic Data Committee The points of contact for each of the FGDC-recognized councils (cooperating groups) are listed below. These individuals are experienced in regional and statewide geographic information coordination. If you want to know more about the FGDC program to recognize organizations engaged in activities that build the NSDI--pick up the phone and ask a colleague for his or her views.

SDTS Activities The Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) is a mechanism for the transfer of spatial data between dissimilar computer systems. SDTS is a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS 173) and has been endorsed by the FGDC. The SDTS specifies exchange constructs, addressing formats, structure, and content for spatially referenced vector and raster (including gridded) data. A listing of commercial vendors currently offering SDTS encoding and decoding software is available through the SDTS home page

USGS Converting Holdings to SDTS...The U.S. Geological Survey, as the SDTS maintenance agency, is taking the lead in converting its digital cartographic data holdings to SDTS format. USGS data are available in SDTS format, on line, and free of charge, from the Sales Database at the EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls, SD at:

USGS data currently available in SDTS format includes:

1:2,000,000-scale Digital Line Graphs, (national coverage of hydrography, transportation, boundaries, Public Land Survey System and Man-made features) 1:100,000-scale Digital Line Graphs, (national coverage of hydrography, and transportation) 1:24,000-scale Digital Line Graphs, (all USGS category holdings)

USGS data scheduled for SDTS conversion:

7 1/2 - minute Digital Elevation Models, April release Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles beginning in June.

For SDTS information visit the SDTS Home Page at: Information in hardcopy can be obtained from this address: SDTS Task Force, USGS, 1400 Independence Rd, Rolla, MO 65401; or, by calling (573) 308-3543.

SDTS Workshop Announcement... If you are implementing or will implement SDTS, your participation in this workshop is critical. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the U.S. Geological Survey invite software developers and spatial data producers interested in implementing the SDTS to participate in a 4-day workshop. The workshop will focus on identifying and solving common problems associated with producing SDTS formatted data and writing software for users of SDTS data. This workshop is intended for managers and technical developers who need to generate data in SDTS, or to develop SDTS translation tools.

Workshop sessions will include; an in depth introduction to the standard, SDTS management, technical implementation issues, and breakout sessions on specific SDTS topics.

Workshop presenters are being sought from the vendor community with experience in SDTS translation software development and from organizations producing data in SDTS format.

When: September 15-18, 1997 Where: University of Missouri Centennial Hall Rolla, Missouri

Submission Deadline: April 20, 1997 Registration Fee: $25

Submission Information: Presentation abstract (<200 words) Company name & address Name & title of presenter Send To: SDTS Workshop Committee
U.S. Geological Survey
1400 Independence Road
Rolla, Missouri 65401
Attn.: Kim Burns-Braidlow
Fax: (573) 308-3652

For more information contact, the SDTS Task force at (573) 308-3543.

To Contact the FGDC: The FGDC Newsletter describes activities of the geospatial data community and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. Subscriptions are free of charge. Correspondence or contributions may be directed to the FGDC Secretariat as indicated below:

FGDC Secretariat Contact Information Mailing Address:

Federal Geographic Data Committee Secretariat,
c/o U.S. Geological Survey
590 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

Voice: (703) 648-5514
Fax: (703) 648-5755
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Upcoming Conferences 1997

Mar 23-26 AM/FM International Conference Nashville, TN
Apr 1-5 AAG Annual Meeting Fort Worth, TX
Apr 7-9 ACSM-ASPRS Annual Convention Seattle, WA
Apr 15-16 Illinois GIS Association Annual Conference DeKalb, IL
Apr 16-18 Joint European Conf.On Geog.Information Vienna, Austria
Apr 23-25 Annual Florida Geog. Info./Mapping Conf. Daytona Beach, FL
Apr 28-30 1997 Montana/Idaho GIS Conference Bozeman, MT Ch
May 1-2 6th Annual IMAGIN Forum Lansing, MI Ch, Fw
May 7-8 5th Annual PA GIS Conference Harrisburg, PA Md
May 13-16 7th Annual GPS/GIS Conference Annapolis, MD
May 25-30 Geomatics in the Era of RADARSAT Conf. Ottawa, Canada
May 28-29 10th Annual GIS Conference Towson, MD
June 4-7 Business Geographics æ97 Atlanta, GA NSDI
June 15-21 University Consortium for GIS Annual Assembly Bar Harbor, ME
July 8-11 ESRI Annual User Conference San Diego, CA NSDI
July 20-24 URISA æ97 Conference Toronto, Canada
Aug 18-22 Tri-Service CADD/GIS/FM Symposium æ97 St. Louis, MO
Aug 26-29 GeoComputation æ97 Dunedin, New Zealand
Sept 14-16 ICMA 83rd Annual Conference Vancouver, Canada
Sept 16-17 Second IEEE Metadata Conference Silver Spring, MD
Sept 15-18 National SDTS Implementors Workshop Rolla, MO
Oct 19-23 Amer. Water Resources Annual Assoc. Conf. Long Beach, CA Md
Oct 26-30 GIS/LIS 1997 Cincinnati, OH

FGDC sessions & workshops: NSDI - general session, Ch - Clearinghouse, Md - Metadata, Fw - Framework, & Std - Standards. FGDC sessions subject to change. For more information on conferences please contact the FGDC Secretariat at (703) 648-5514.

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2006 12:45 PM
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