Environmental Protection Agency
FGDC Annual Report to OMB
Format for Agency Reports - FY 2001
GENERAL FEDERAL AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES REPORT (All Agencies)
1. Agency or Bureau:
Environmental Protection Agency
Name of Contact for Report:
Steering Committee Member:
Coordination Group Participant(s):
5. Subcommittee or Working Group Participation: Subcommittees or Working Groups in which your agency is actively involved, but does not lead:
- Spatial Water Subcommittee
- Marine and Coastal Spatial Data Subcommittee
- Wetlands Subcommittee
- Vegetation Subcommittee
- Soil Data Subcommittee
- Federal Geodetic Control Subcommittee and GPS Inter-Agency Advisory Council
2. Working Groups
- Biological Data Working Group
- Clearinghouse Working Group
- Earth Cover Working Group
- Standards Working Group
- Sustainable Forest Development Working Group
6. Goals and Accountability: Are you using spatial data with regard to performance?
a. List agency GPRA strategic plan goals specifically related to spatial data activities (or "none"):
Not currently. Developing goal(s) for 2003.
b. List agency GPRA performance measures specifically related to spatial data activities (or "none"):
Not currently. Developing performance measures for 2003.
7. Strategy: Has your agency prepared a strategy for advancing geographic information and spatial data activities in coordination with the FGDC strategy, pursuant to Circular A-16?
An Agency-wide Geospatial Program Blueprint is slated for completion in February 2002. A key component of the document will be the geospatial data architecture. Options for advancing geographic information and spatial data activities will be addressed.
8. Standards: Has your agency developed and/or adopted appropriate standards?
- An Agency Locational Data Policy was adopted on April 8, 1991. An outgrowth of this policy is the the EPA latitude/longitude Data Standard for point data which was initially released in 1994 and updated in 2001. The EPA locational data standard dovetails with the FGDC Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standard, Part 1: Reporting Methodology.
- The FGDC Content Standard for digital Geospatial metadata adopted by FGDC in 1994 is used in a limited capacity in EPA. Mechanisms to help promulgate the use of the standard throughout the Agency will be addressed in the forthcoming Agency Geospatial Program Blueprint.
- EPA is working in partnership with USGS through the Spatial Water Committee to establish the National Hydrography Dataset as an FGDC standard.
- EPA participates on a variety of FGDC Subcommittees and Working Groups and will implement resulting FGDC standards where they are germane to ongoing programmatic efforts. For example, EPA is was very active in developing revised national standards for the delineation of Hydrologic Unit Codes, via the Spatial Water Subcommittee and is working actively with other Federal, State and local partners to complete a standard for the National Watershed Boundary Dataset.
9. Metadata: Is your agency's metadata and/or data available and discoverable online through an NSDI-compatible clearinghouse node registered as part of the NSDI Clearinghouse Network?
As of August 2000, EPA has published FGDC compliant geospatial metadata to the NSDI through its Environmental Information Management System (EIMS) located at our National Computing Center in Durham, North Carolina. EIMS is a centralized metadata/data warehouse for EPA geospatial data and supports the full FGDC standard. The supporting technology is a web-enabled relational database management system with the Z39.50 GEO Profile metadata search and retrieval capabilities. As a node on the NSDI network, the GEO Profile in EIMS, built by Meta Manager, allows the NSDI Clearinghouse to search the EIMS database, generate an FGDC compliant report for each dataset discovered in EIMS, and post the metadata report to any of the FGDC-based Clearinghouse Gateways across the U.S. The EIMS database is fully FGDC compliant and maintains a field for each FGDC element described in the FGDC Content Standard, version 1998. The database supports online linkages directly to the datasets so that users can download data directly.
10. Vertical and Horizontal Data Integration: Is your data integrable with other Federal agencies and other sources of data (State, County, local, private)?
EPA data is partially integrable with that of other agencies and sources of data. We are continuing to explore other opportunities in our information integration efforts. In addition, we are using our locational data improvement program to actively ensure that all of our environmental data is geo-referenced with latitude and longitude data to help support integration efforts based on place/geography.
11. E-Gov: How are you using geospatial data in your mission activities to provide better services? (Please list)
Our Geospatial Activities Baseline Assessment, completed in June 2001, documents 19 key EPA business areas in which geospatial data is used to support implementation. These are:
- Development of criteria
- Development of methods and protocols
- Provision of public information/trend analysis
- Development of policies
- Program implementation oversight
- Development of regulations and guidance
- Compliance and enforcement
- Emergency response
- Performance measurement
- Site cleanup
- Setting standards
- Grant/contract implementation oversight
- Laboratory activities
- Risk assessment
12. Are there areas or issues regarding spatial data that require attention, or lessons-learned that you would like to share with others? Please describe.
Some of the lessons learned from developing the EPA Geospatial Activities Baseline Assessment are:
1. Intergovernmental partnerships for developing, maintaining, and upgrading national geospatial data have contributed to EPA staffs' ability to use geospatial technologies, but more partnerships are essential.
- EPA participation in national data partnerships, such as the National Hydrographic Database (NHD) and Multi-Resolution Land Cover (MRLC), help develop data which supports many EPA business operations. The timely completion of digital ortho quads (high resolution base imagery) and wetlands data in Agency priority areas occurred when EPA resources were provided.
- EPA regional staff have expressed concerns about their inability, due to lack of resources, to enter into many data development partnerships for high resolution data with states and other federal agencies within their jurisdictions.
- Involvement in such partnerships has a high return on investment because they
- Expedite the completion of a standardized core of data sets necessary to effectively implement EPA business operations.
- Reduce acquisition and processing investments made by individual regional and program offices.
- Increase state and local government willingness to allow EPA access to their geospatial data, which is often at the higher resolution necessary for site specific decisions.
- Contribute to the completion of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.
2. Use of geospatial data and technologies at EPA are far-reaching, widely distributed, and critical to core Agency business operations.
- Geospatial data, tools, and technology are used in all Regional Offices, eight of the 12 AAships, and in the Office of the Administrator.
- Geospatial work is used for 19 different core Agency activities including public information, permitting, compliance and enforcement, emergency response and site management, and development of criteria, regulations, and guidance.
- 545 active users of geospatial technologies were identified within EPA. Thousands more depend on the products and results produced by active users for policy, program, and site decisions.