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FGDC Newsletter Winter 1998

1998 NSDI Partnership Funding Program Awards Announced

Projects Show NSDI Advancement

The FGDC has announced the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) project funding awards for 1998. Awards are provided in three program areas: Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP), Benefits, and Framework Demonstration Projects Program (FDPP). These funding programs encourage organizations to develop data and operational components of the NSDI, to examine important issues affecting data sharing, and to find new ways to work together to develop the NSDI.

    "We are beginning to see the integration of all concepts of the NSDI in projects"

Bruce McKenzie, the CAP coordinator, and David Painter, the FDPP coordinator, see the projects developing over time. This year, many projects show advancement in the level of NSDI development and the complexity of issues addressed. "We are beginning to see the integration of all concepts of the NSDI in projects," commented McKenzie. "This year's projects involve all framework themes," added Painter. "In addition, projects are addressing complex subjects such as data integration."

Thirty-one CAP projects were awarded funding. The largest number involve clearinghouse activities. McKenzie believes that clearinghouse projects seem approachable to many participants. "People like to get involved in things they know they can do," he noted. "And it is a highly visible activity that is part of a growing network of clearinghouses across the country - even internationally." Other popular subjects include standards, coordination, and education. "We are now seeing more projects working on incorporating NSDI concepts into high school and college geoscience curricula," added McKenzie.

In the FDPP, 16 projects were funded. Transportation, hydrography, and cadastral data themes are prominent. Topics addressed by the projects include: integration of data from different sources, the National Hydrography Dataset, permanent feature identifiers, quality control and data certification, citizen access to framework data via the Internet, cost-benefit analysis of collaboration, and building institutions necessary to support their framework activities.

Five Benefits projects were funded: two addressing rural economic development, one on ocean management issues, an educational project, and an urban planning project.

    "The real challenge is to sustain the project after the grant period ends."

Since 1994 the funding programs have facilitated the development of the NSDI while helping organizations build their geographic data handling capabilities. The programs also have encouraged the sharing of data and ideas. "The real challenge," observed McKenzie, "is to sustain the project after the grant period ends," but he sees many projects achieving this goal. He added that "many past participants have said that as their projects mature, their organizations are realizing more benefits than they had originally anticipated." Both he and Painter emphasized that "keeping the vision going" is an important factor in building the NSDI and its community.

The 1999 NSDI Partnership Funding Program information and application materials will be available by the end of the year. See the FGDC website for more information about the 1998 projects and the 1999 program.

Vice President Gore Calls for Expanded NSDI in Speech on Smart Growth

On September 2, Vice President Gore called for stronger efforts nationwide to enhance the livability and economic competitiveness of American communities. In a major address at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, the vice president highlighted smart sustainable growth in cities, suburbs, and rural areas, saying, "In the future, livable communities will be the basis for our competitiveness and economic strength."

    Geographic information technologies will help communities help themselves by putting "more control, more information, more decision-making power into the hands of families, communities, and regions"

Geographic information technologies will help communities help themselves by putting "more control, more information, more decision-making power into the hands of families, communities, and regions - to give them all the freedom and flexibility they need to reclaim their own unique place in the world."

The federal government will expand its support for communities with tools, information, and new computer software to enable them to make easy-to- understand maps that show the different aspects of their regions - from farmlands to parks to buildings - and even predict future growth. These geographic information technologies will make it dramatically easier for communities to come together to envision and adopt land growth that suits them.

The vice president announced several administration initiatives targeted at the use of geographic information technologies in communities:

  • Community Federal Information Partnerships.
    The president's FY2000 budget will significantly expand grants for communities to gain access to the NSDI clearinghouse - a public-private resource that the vice president conceived as part of his reinventing government initiative in 1993 - and its implementing body, the FGDC.

  • Demonstration Projects. (see following NSDI article)
    Six demonstration projects are being launched in communities across the country to provide technical support for locally-driven efforts to address issues such as land use and crime prevention. The six communities are Dane County, Wisconsin; Gallatin County, Montana; Tillamook County, Oregon; Tijuana River Watershed, California; the Upper Susquehanna/Lackawanna River area; and the City of Baltimore.

  • New Regional Efforts to Combat Crime.
    A new regional pilot program will be started, in conjunction with the Justice Department, to apply regional mapping software to fighting crime in the Baltimore-Washington area. Communities in the region will be able to easily share crime data and engage in a cooperative regional crime reduction plan.

The vice president's announcement of increased support for the NSDI and the use of geographic information technologies highlights the importance of making information available to citizens in their communities. The NSDI is a coordinated approach to help improve the way communities and the nation acquire, disseminate, and use geographic information. John Moeller, FGDC staff director, commented that "the continued development of the NSDI to support community-driven solutions is a tribute to the willingness and ability of all levels of government, the private sector, and academia to work together and cut across traditional organizational and administrative boundaries."

NSDI Community Demonstration Projects

Creating Locally-Driven Electronic Government

Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government is sponsoring six NSDI Community Demonstration Projects to support the use of geographic data for decision-making in local areas. These projects are being coordinated with the FGDC and will be implemented in cities, counties, and watershed areas across the country to illustrate the use of geographic information and the benefits of improved liaison between federal and local communities. Each project will address different issues, such as crime prevention and reduction, watershed and water quality management, disaster preparedness and recovery, and urban growth and land use planning. The demonstration period will run from July 1998 through May 2000.

The following communities were selected for this demonstration effort:

  • In Dane County, Wisconsin, the project will create a citizen-based, online, smart growth planning process to protect farmland and open space and address environmental concerns, while sustaining continued growth. Contacts: Ben Niemann, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 608-263-5534, and Gale TeSelle, Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation Service, 202-720-4442,

  • Gallatin County, Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park, contains extensive areas of public lands, and is experiencing rapid population growth. This community's project will develop tools for the county government to access integrated federal, state, and local information, consider population impacts, and understand alternatives for growth, and the effects of their decisions on the community. Contacts: Dale Beland, Gallatin County 406-582-3130; Paul Dresler, Department of the Interior, 202-208-3024; and Peggy Harwood, Bureau of Land Management, 202-452-0362,

  • Tillamook County, Oregon will support a public/private partnership by creating online web-based tools for reporting and accountability. Citizens and local, state, and federal government agencies will be able to monitor and report progress toward common goals for water quality, flood mitigation, and fish habitat restoration. Contacts: Tom Ascher, Tillamook Planning District, 503-842-3408, and Norma Campbell, Department of the Interior, 202-208-1818,

  • The Susquehanna-Lackawanna River partnership in central and northeastern Pennsylvania will provide an integrated regional GIS to help local communities support an environmental master plan, flood mitigation, and performance monitoring for one of the American Heritage Rivers. Contacts: Greg Karmazin, Kings College Map Center, 703-486-8254, and Dave Catlin, Environmental Protection Agency, 202-260-3069,

  • The Tijuana River Watershed is one of the most populous and environmentally stressed areas along the U.S. and Mexico border. With new tools and integrated data, this local, state, federal, and international partnership will demonstrate an online decision-support capability to improve water quality and availability and to promote better health. Contacts: Richard Wright, San Diego State University, 619-594-5466, and Nina Garfield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 301-713-3141 x171,

  • The Baltimore Maryland City Police Department will apply GIS tools and integrated data to support the development of CrimeStac, a comprehensive digital mapping center to track crime and related trends (e.g., housing, public health), creating a world-class model for crime reduction information. Contacts: Mary McClinton, Baltimore Police Department, 410-396-2093 and John DeVoe, Department of Justice, 202-514-8510,

The Community Demonstration Projects will provide NSDI training and result in a clearinghouse of spatial data for each community linked to the National Spatial Data Clearinghouse. Community and federal project managers participated in a successful kickoff meeting October 22 and 23 in Reston, VA. Each community shared their success story and demonstrated the positive effects for planning, environmental protection, and crime reduction. The project leader for the National Partnership for Reinventing Government is Mark Reichardt, who can be reached at 202-694-0081, Mark DeMulder will assume leadership January 1999.

See the FGDC web site for more information.

1999 National GeoData Forum

Make plans now to attend the 1999 National GeoData Forum in Washington, DC, June 7-9, 1999. The two-and-a-half-day meeting will provide an opportunity to reflect on the past, assess the present, and explore the future development of the NSDI. A Steering Committee, co-chaired by Mark Schaefer, deputy assistant secretary for water and science for the Department of the Interior, and Gene Thorley, chair of the FGDC Coordination Group, is planning the Forum.

Look for more detailed information on the FGDC website.

The Steering Committee members:
Eric Anderson, International City/County Manager's Association
Mayor Ann Azari, National League of Cities
Bruce Cahan, Urban Logic Inc.
Allen Carroll, National Geographic Society
Don Cooke, Geographic Data Technology, Inc.
Fred Corle, Interoperability Advisory Group
Gregory Elmes, University Consortium on Geographic Information Sciences
Hank Garie, National States Geographic Information Council
Michael Goodchild, Mapping Sciences Committee
Randy Johnson, National Association of Counties
Representative Paul Kanjorski (D-PA)
Terry Keating, Lucerne International
John Moeller, FGDC staff director
David Schell, Open GIS Consortium
Jim Souby, Western Governor's Association
Nancy Tosta, National Association of Regional Councils

News about NSDI Initiatives

DOJ Joins the FGDC

In August 1998, the Department of Justice (DOJ) became the 16th federal cabinet-level member of the FGDC. In her letter to Bruce Babbitt, FGDC chair, Attorney General Janet Reno expressed support for the NSDI. She also cited the growing use of geographic information by criminal justice organizations to address and prevent crimes as an important factor behind DOJ participation.

FGDC Secretariat

New FGDC Staff

Kim Burns-Braidlow joined the FGDC staff in December 1997 as executive secretary for the FGDC Coordination Group and Steering Committee. She also serves as executive secretary for the Department of Interior Geographic Data Committee and as the federal liaison for the 16 federal agencies of the FGDC. One of her current projects is to develop a report to the Office of Management and Budget summarizing 1998 NSDI developments, including the accomplishments of all subcommittees, working groups, and federal agencies.

Kim joined the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1989, at the Mid-Continent Mapping Center in Rolla, Missouri. While there, she earned a certificate from the USGS's cartographer development program. She also holds a BS in business administration from Drury College in Missouri.


Early Results for the Framework Data Survey

Results of the Framework Data Survey, conducted by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), will soon be available. At the annual NSGIC meeting in Annapolis, September 12-17, participants responded enthusiastically to a preview of preliminary survey data and results. The data already are providing some valuable insights regarding framework data availability, characteristics, and development.

More than 5,400 survey responses were received by the survey closing date of October 3. The data are now being analyzed and prepared for distribution. A preview report on the survey findings will appear as a supplement to Geo Info Systems early in 1999. The national technical report will be published in mid-1999. The data will be available on the web so everyone can use them. Further information about the schedule and format for the web-based data will be provided on the FGDC website.


Cadastral Subcommittee Develops Online Education

The FGDC Cadastral Subcommittee has developed an online course for learning the Cadastral Data Content Standard. The course is meant to help students understand the uses and benefits of the standard and assist those who will be using the standard to develop a physical data design. It is designed primarily for subject area specialists in cadastral data, data analysts working with cadastral data, systems analysts designing and developing systems for cadastral applications, and users working with cadastral transactions. The course objectives are to provide information about the standard and examples of its uses. The course consists of eight modules covering the purpose and benefits of the standard, the development of the standard, other standards and related activities, data modeling, practical uses of the standard, standard compliance, maintenance, and support. For more information, see the course website at


FGDC Conducts Registered Review of ISO Metadata Standard

From July 13 through September 11, 1998, the FGDC conducted a registered review of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Metadata Standard Committee Draft 14046-12. More than 210 individuals registered to review the standard draft. The reviewers represented a diverse group, composed of 70 representatives from the federal government, 39 from the commercial sector, 34 from educational institutions, 23 from state government, 13 from local government, 5 from the defense sector, and the remainder representing independent interests. More than 500 comments were received and adjudicated by a group (selected from the registrants) representing a cross section of the national geospatial community. The adjudicated comments were sent to the American National Standards Institute and consolidated with other national comments. The entire set of comments was forwarded to the ISO in late October.

The FGDC thanks everyone who participated in the review. The effort helped the FGDC better understand and communicate concerns and issues regarding the ISO Metadata Standard.


Correction: The correct website address for the New York State Clearinghouse, discussed in the summer issue of the Newsletter, is

AMERICAN FORESTS Conducts Geographic Information Study

AMERICAN FORESTS recently published the findings from a nationwide survey it conducted on the use and institutionalization of geographic information technology. The project was accomplished with assistance from the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, and others. The survey targeted a selected sample of 200 of the country's largest cities and counties: 120 cities with populations of more than 25,000 and 80 counties with populations of more than 50,000. The study found that the use of geographic information systems (GIS) is growing, with 77% of responding localities reporting some GIS use in 1996 and 87% predicting use in 1997. Respondents in the west and the south reported the most extensive GIS use, while those in the northeast reported the least. The results also showed an expanding range of departments and applications that use geographic information technology. The most frequently cited applications were planning, public works, and utilities. Commonly used data sets included framework themes, land use, zoning, utilities, and rights of way. Local leaders' top concerns suggest further expansion of GIS use, particularly to address their priorities. The study report, Geographic Information in Cities and Counties: A Nationwide Assessment, was authored by Lisa Warnecke, Cheryl Kollin, Jeff Beattie, and Winifred Lyday. For more information, contact AMERICAN FORESTS at P.O. Box 2000, Washington, DC 20013, or visit their website at

Publications Available

Spatial Information Technology Standards and Systems Integration

This 1998 publication is, in part, a revision of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association's (URISA's) 1993 Annotated Bibliography of GIS Related Standards; however, it includes some new sections. The publication is a practical resource that addresses concepts, issues, and impacts of standards to support the effective implementation and use of GIS and spatial information systems. It also discusses the organizational context within which standards are developed and the practical impact of standards on information systems. The publication is intended for managers, technical staff, and users who are interested in learning more about information technology standards. The price is $45 for members, and $55 for nonmembers, plus shipping and handling. To order, contact URISA Headquarters at 847-824-6300 or

Spatial Database Transfer Standards 2: Characteristics for Assessing Standards and Full Descriptions of the National and International Standards in the World.

This scientific work represents a six-year effort by the International Cartographic Association (ICA) Standards Commission. The primary aim of the book is to provide a new set of scientific and technical characteristics by which any national or international spatial database transfer can be assessed. The book analyzes all 22 national and international spatial data transfer standards, providing regional summaries of standards developments, technical characteristics for assessing spatial data transfer standards, full international descriptions of each of the 22 standards, and a comparison of the critical characteristics of the standards. The book was edited by Harold Moellering and Richard Hogan. For more information, see the ICA website at

Upcoming Conferences      
February 11-12  North Carolina GIS Conference Winston-Salem, NC  
February 17-19  5th Annual California GIS Conference Oakland, CA  
March 10-11  Wisconsin Land Info Association Conference Madison, WI  
March 14-17  ACSM 1999 Conference Portland, OR NSDI
March 23-27  1999 AAG Annual Meeting & Exhibits Honolulu, HI  
March 29-April 1  Business Geographics Conference '99 Chicago, IL  
April 5-7  Coastal GeoTools '99 Charleston, SC  
April 25-28  GITA Conference (AM/FM) Charlotte, NC NSDI
May 12-13  Pennsylvania GIS Conference Harrisburg, PA  
May 17-21  ASPRS 1999 Conference Portland, OR NSDI
June 7-9  National GeoData Forum Washington, DC NSDI
June 8 8th Annual GIS/SIG Conference Rochester, NY  
June 15-17  GIS For Energy '99 Houston, TX  
August 21-25  URISA 1999 Conference Chicago, IL  
September 26-28  ICMA 1999 Conference Portland, OR  
October 7-9  Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium St. Cloud, MN  
March 18-22 ACSM 2000 Little Rock, AR  
September 17-19  ICMA 2000 Conference Cincinnati, OH  

FGDC sessions subject to change. For more information, please contact the FGDC Secretariat at 703-648-5514.

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2006 12:45 PM
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