August 13, 1996 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary


Bruce Ambacher (Historical); Gerry Barton (Commerce); Andy Battin (EPA); Fred Broome, Leslie Godwin (Cultural and Demographic); Carolyn Davis (FEMA); Richard Hogan (Standards); Millington Lockwood (Bathymetric); Gyde Lund (Vegetation); Janet Morton (Geologic); Paul Nagele (Defense); Bruce Spear (Ground Transportation); John Spencer (Geodetic); Gale TeSelle (Earth Cover); Brad Thomas (International Boundaries); Charles Thomsen (HUD); Gene Thorley (Chair); Dan Webb (Cadastral); Bill Wilen (Wetlands); Mickey Kilpatrick, Mike Domaratz (FGDC Secretariat).

Information Items

Summary Report of July Coordination Group meeting was approved; action items are complete.

Competitive Cooperative Agreements Program (1996)

Notifications to all proposal submitters are complete; agreements will be in place shortly. A kick-off workshop will be held in Phoenix on September 22-25 at the BLM Technical Training Center. The workshop is designed to build a network of communication and support among the participants, to provide an opportunity to learn from earlier CCAP ers, and to provide training in the latest metadata and clearinghouse tools. The 1997 program will be formulated after the workshop, with an announcement of the program in the Fall. Framework Demonstration Project participants will also be attending the workshop.

Framework Demonstration Project proposals

Mr. Domaratz announced that 7 projects (out of 16 proposals) were being funded for a total of $775,000. Mr. Lockwood commented that this not a large number of proposals for such a program. Mr. Domaratz noted that the concept of framework was not yet widely recognized, that the process had been compressed due to government furloughs and lack of appropriation early in the year, that some of the proposals were more appropriate for the Competitive Cooperative Agreements Program, and that the requirement for 100 percent matching resources might have been a daunting factor. Mr. Thorley expressed regret that the procurement cycle was so shortened this year that it did not allow time for the usual process of review of recommended projects to be funded by the Coordination Group; however, knowledgeable members of the Coordination Group participated on the review teams. Some changes to the 1997 process are planned.

Historical Data Working Group

Mr. Ambacher reported that the Historical Data Working Group, in response to an action item from the June 11 Coordination Group meeting, had decided not to do a full white paper to respond to the report of the task force, Preserving Digital Information. The report of the task force dealt primarily with textual digital data. Mr. Ambacher will be completing an assignment within NARA that will provide information on the costs of preserving digital information, particularly Federal geospatial data sets, and will share this with the FGDC when it is completed. Mr. Ambacher also reported that a proposed change to 36 CFR that deals with transferring geospatial data and metadata to the National Archives was advertised in the July 29 issue of the Federal Register. Comments on the proposed change are due September 27. Mr. Wilen asked if the records stored in the National Archives would serve the same purpose as offsite backup of electronic records. Mr. Ambacher replied that data scheduled for permanent retention could be transferred early and could serve as a backup if original records were lost. Another option would be temporary storage in the Federal Records Center.

Reschedule September Coordination Group Meeting

A framework activity on September 9-11 will involve many of the Coordination Group. The Coordination Group meeting (originally set for Sept. 10) was rescheduled to Friday, September 6, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon at the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Discussion Items

Standards Working Group

Mr. Hogan reported that the Cadastral Standard will be submitted for final approval as soon as all recommended improvements by the Standards Working Group are incorporated into the document. Mr. Thorley requested that the Coordination Group be provided a copy of the proposed Cadastral Standard with adequate time to inspect the document before recommending its final approval.

Mr. Hogan noted that the proposal from the Federal Geodetic Control Subcommittee for a multi part accuracy standard is being well received; the Geodetic Control accuracy (part 1 of the standard) portion has been received and is expected to be ready for public review shortly. The FGCS also submitted a proposal for a point profile in support of geodetic framework data.

Mr. Hogan reported that the Facilities Working Group has submitted proposals for a utilities data content standard and for a facilities identification standard.

Mr. Wilen called attention to the notice in the Federal Register that responses to comments on the public review of the Wetland Standard are available on the web or by contacting Jennifer Fox at the FGDC Secretariat.

Subcommittee and Working Group Charters

Five subcommittees submitted revised charters based on the new charter template. In addition, two working groups submitted new charters, which are not required to conform to the template. The charters are documents used as exhibits to support OMB Circular A-16. Charters recommended for approval by the Coordination Group will be submitted to the FGDC Steering Committee for concurrence. Mr. Thorley suggested that for each document only questions, issues, and exceptions be discussed; Coordination Group members agreed.

Base Cartographic

Issues were raised on the Scope of the Base Cartographic Subcommittee's charter as it relates to other themes of data. The issues could not be resolved in the time allowed for the charter discussion and were deferred until a later meeting. (Note: the Base Cartographic Charter added a section VII.L. to deal specifically with framework responsibilities. Later discussion resulted in a decision that subcommittees could include a section VII.L. as appropriate for framework responsibilities.)

Cultural and Demographic

The Coordination Group recommended approving this charter; but asked that Mr. Broome (1) clarify language in the scope statement, (2) consider the appropriateness of adding a section VII.L to deal specifically with framework responsibilities, and (3) consider adding an introductory note to the appendix on why other agencies authorities were included in the appendix.

Ground Transportation

The Coordination Group recommended approving this charter, with the change of the term commercial aviation to commercial air routes to accommodate transportation network data structures as they exist.

Soil Data

The Coordination Group recommended approving this charter, with the following minor changes: (1) enhance the scope statement so that readers can understand what is within the soil data purview, in relation to geologic data in particular; (2) delete the last sentence of the second paragraph under section VI. Membership, beginning The Subcommittee also may invite...... ; (3) change the meeting frequency specified in section VII. Procedures from semiannually to quarterly with the understanding that teleconferences or other mechanisms could be used; and (4) delete the last six words of the second paragraph under section IX. Subgroups and in concurrence with the FGDC. The previous portion of that entire paragraph may be dropped, or retained in order to grandfather in the existing subgroup.

Wetland Data

The Coordination Group recommended approving this charter as submitted.

Earth Cover Working Group

The Coordination Group approved the charter, with a request that section IV. Lead Agency be dropped, because working groups crosscut data themes and therefore do not have lead agencies but depend on volunteer leadership. Leadership of the working group could be included in Section V (now Section IV). The new section IV would then read: The Earth Cover Working Group has been established to coordinate Federal and non-Federal interests in earth cover data, including the facilitation of exchange of information and transfer of data; the establishment and implementation of standards for quality, content, and transferability; and the coordination of the identification of requirements and the collection of spatial data to minimize duplication of effort where practicable and economical. The working group will be co-chaired by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (DOI).

Historical Data Working Group

The Coordination Group approved the charter with the following additions: (1) an authorization section (to document that the Historical Data Working Group had been established by the FGDC as a standing group after a 1-year period); and (2) a scope section. Section I contains some repeated phrases that should be removed.

Recap of Baltimore Framework Workshop

Framework theme representatives were charged at the July Coordination Group meeting with development of a strategy for the Federal government to move forward in building the framework. The presence of a representative of each framework theme was requested at the Baltimore workshop. Mr. Domaratz reported that all framework themes were represented at the workshop except bathymetric data. A meeting of the framework theme representatives will be scheduled to carry out the July action. Mr. Thorley commented that, in addition to theme representatives, others who are deeply committed to the development of the framework are also invited to participate. Mr. Hogan and Mr. TeSelle will be added to the framework strategy group. Current plans are to hold a working meeting before the September 9-11 Seattle framework workshop. Action: Secretariat will poll group members to determine the best date for the ad hoc group meeting. (Note: The meeting is scheduled for September 19.)

Mr. Domaratz noted that 10 small projects (CCAP) and 7 large projects (Framework Demonstration Projects) are being conducted in support of framework development, along with standards activities within the various theme subcommittees.

Mr. Domaratz reported on the four subjects that were the focus of the Baltimore workshop:

    Institutional relationships and organizational aspects of the framework: A pure hierarchy does not represent the way framework operates; it is more dispersed, like a web. The task being pursued by this group is to attempt to map the framework activities defined in the framework blue book (Development of a National Digital Geospatial Framework, 1995) onto such a web to try to understand the typical places in a weblike environment where different activities occur-- to identify critical resource flows/communication processes that must be in place for these activities to work.

    Information content related to the framework: The group working this task is moving toward a concept of framework content as the least common denominator -- where the framework would contain those data items common to all data sets, based on what data are actually being collected now (rather than what should be collected). As a practical test of this approach, a task was assigned to an independent data architect to examine nine data models for roads and to analyze the models to find the least common data set actually being collected by those who do road data.

    Incentives related to the framework: This group s action is to document examples of incentives that work, as drawm from groups that are involved in conducting framework pilots.

    Business activities related to the framework: This group has developed a template for a framework business plan. Agencies that are planning framework projects are encouraged to use the template as an aid in thinking through the process and considering mechanisms and approaches that have worked in similar projects.

URISA 96--GeoData Partnerships Forum Mr. Thorley commented briefly on the experiment to hold a GeoData Forum in connection with a national conference. There were some difficulties in accomplishing the same level of participation as in a separate GeoData Forum. Mr. TeSelle noted that the sessions were valuable, but there were concurrent sessions for NSDI that targeted the same audience, resulting in low attendance at individual sessions.

Because of time limitations, major discussion on this topic was postponed to the next Coordination Group meeting. The next national conference at which this type of participation is planned is the GIS/LIS November 16-22, 1996, in Denver, Colorado.