FGDC Structure and Federal Agency and Bureau Representation

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is an organized structure of Federal geospatial professionals and constituents that provide executive, managerial, and advisory direction and oversight for geospatial decisions and initiatives across the Federal government.  In accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16, the FGDC is chaired by the Secretary of the Interior with the Deputy Director for Management, OMB as Vice-Chair.  The FGDC’s structure is represented in the graphic below and further details on the committees and their membership follow.


FGDC Structure Graphic

 Figure: Overview of the structure of the various components of the FGDC


FGDC Steering Committee

The FGDC is governed by a Steering Committee which is the policy-level interagency group whose central focus is to provide executive leadership for the coordination of federal geospatial activities between, among, and within agencies by establishing policy and providing guidance and direction to the member agencies.  The Steering Committee is responsible for overseeing Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16 related activities and the implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).  The FGDC Chair and Vice-Chair lead this committee which is made up of Senior Agency Officials for Geospatial Information (SAOGIs) and has representatives from Federal organizations, including the Executive Office of the President and Cabinet-level and independent Federal agencies.

FGDC Executive Committee

The FGDC Executive Committee is a subset of the FGDC Steering Committee members and provides advice and guidance to the FGDC Chair and the Vice Chair on major Federal geospatial priorities and initiatives. The Executive Committee is co-chaired by the Executive Director of the FGDC and an annually approved Executive Committee member. The Executive Committee has representation from OMB and Federal agencies with major programmatic geospatial responsibilities.  

FGDC Coordination Group

The FGDC Coordination Group provides advice on the day-to-day business of the FGDC to facilitate interagency coordination and implementation of the NSDI at the operational level. The Coordination Group oversees and provides the functional leadership for the FGDC subcommittees and working groups, as well as the Geospatial Line of Business Work Groups. The Coordination Group is Co-Chaired by the Executive Director of the FGDC Office of the Secretariat (FGDC OS), and an elected member of the Federal Coordination Group members.  Non-Federal collaborating partners participate in most of the Coordination Group meetings and work on subcommittees and work(ing) groups.

FGDC Subcommittees & Working Groups

The FGDC structure includes agency-led working groups and subcommittees. 

FGDC Thematic Subcommittees - OMB Circular A–16 enumerates 34 data themes of national significance and assigns responsibility for each of the themes to one or more Federal agencies. FGDC thematic subcommittees are established for nine of the data themes.  Federal agencies have responsibility for, and lead, the thematic subcommittees.

FGDC Working Groups - FGDC working groups crosscut the subcommittees and focus on infrastructure issues common to many of the NSDI data themes, such as standards and common services.

National Geospatial Advisory Committee

The National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) was established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is an advisory body that provides advice and recommendations on Federal geospatial policy and management issues and a forum to convey views representative of partners in the geospatial community. NGAC membership includes representatives from 28 Government and nongovernmental organizations. The committee holds public forums to discuss geospatial activities and solicits input from State, tribal, regional, and local governments, academic institutions, and the private sector.

FGDC Office of the Secretariat (FGDC OS) Staff

The FGDC OS staff provides support for all components of the FGDC and performs the following tasks:

  • Acts as Managing Partner for the Geospatial Line of Business, E-government initiative
  • Designated Federal Official for the FGDC NGAC FACA committee
  • Provides staff support for the FGDC Chair, Vice-Chair, and their designees
  • Initiates, participates, and or leads FGDC committees, subcommittees and working groups
  • Drafts policies and procedures for consideration and approval by the Coordination Group, the Steering Committee, and the Executive Committee
  • Provides support to the NGAC
  • Provides project management support for FGDC initiatives
  • Administers the FGDC standards program
  • Administers the NSDI Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP)
  • Administers the FGDC International Spatial Data Infrastructure program
  • Manages the NSDI training and outreach program
  • Maintains the FGDC Web site
  • Manages all administrative requirements associated with scheduling and conducting meetings
  • Undertakes staff analysis, technical development, and other activities on behalf of the Coordination Group

Collaborating Partners

The FGDC solicits the involvement of public interest groups who participate within the committee structure to ensure that their needs are included in the developing NSDI.  These collaborating partners include State, Tribal, and local governments; academic institutions; and a broad array of private sector geographic, statistical, demographic, and other business information providers and users. The NSDI strives to build upon local data wherever possible.

Collaborating partnerships are open to public, private, and nonprofit organizations whose missions are complementary to the mission of the FGDC. Organizations interested in becoming partners are invited to send a written request to the FGDC Chair.