November 12, 1996 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Persons Attending: Bruce Ambacher (Historical Data); Gerry Barton, Jim Thomas (Commerce); Andy Battin, Jacques Kapuschinski (EPA); Carolyn Davis (FEMA); Leslie Godwin (Cultural and Demographic); Jim Harris (NASA); Frank Hissong (BLM); Richard Hogan, Denise Perreca (Standards); Fred Kaiser, Penny Harwood (Vegetation); Millington Lockwood (Bathymetric); Jan Morton (Geologic); Bruce Spear (Ground Transportation); John Spencer (Geodetic); John Stewart (DOE); Gale TeSelle (Earth Cover); Brad Thomas, Dan Kiser (International Boundaries); Gene Thorley (Chair); Dan Webb (Cadastral); Bill Wilen (Wetlands); John Moeller, Mickey Kilpatrick, Bill Tolar (FGDC Secretariat); Bruce Stein, Mark Shaffer (The Nature Conservancy); Ruth Hildenberger (Mitre Corp.)

Information Items

Summary Report of October Coordination Group meeting was approved. Outstanding action items concerning the Integrated FGDC Feature Registry are scheduled for discussion at the December Coordination Group meeting.

Reschedule December Coordination Group Meeting: The Coordination Group agreed to hold its next meeting on December 6 from 9:00 until 3:30 at NOAA in Silver Spring, hosted by Gerry Barton.

Recognition of State councils for Louisiana and Kentucky: These councils have provided information that indicates their compliance with the cooperating group guidelines and have been recognized as FGDC cooperating councils.

Wetlands/Vegetation/NOAA issue: Mr. Wilen reported that the issue related to land cover classification of wetlands had been clarified and will be addressed by the Earth Cover Working Group. Mr. TeSelle reported that the issue has been factored into the ECWG action plan. The ad hoc group has completed its task and the action is closed.

NIMA/IPT Highlights: The Defense Mapping Agency, the Central Imagery Office, the National Photographic Interpretation Center, and the National Exploitation Office of the Department of Defense were combined into the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. An Integrated Product Team (IPT) is conducting an 18-month effort to determine how DoD's imagery and mapping needs can be met with interoperable off-the-shelf software. The IPT is working with the Open GIS Consortium (OGC) to determine how industry might support this effort. The NIMA concept of a geographic information infrastructure has a framework component that quite closely mirrors the FGDC framework. The FGDC and NIMA are working together to mesh these activities as appropriate. Ms. Hildenberger, who is providing liaison between the IPT and the FGDC, described the IPT structure. The 10 IPT teams, which include both industry and government personnel, are charged with establishing initial operating capability and an initial operating data set for the NIMA framework by September 30, 1997. The "foundation" of the NIMA framework is the sparsely populated data set that is roughly the equivalent of the FGDC framework data set. The full NIMA framework is worldwide and includes densification of data beyond "foundation" data. Current efforts in FGDC/IPT collaboration are on a digital orthoimagery standard and on details of feature maintenance. The master plan for the IPT effort can be accessed on the web at

NAPA Mapping and Surveying Study: Mr. Moeller stated that ACSM joined with four federal agencies (NOAA, USGS, BLM, USFS) to request that the National Academy of Public Administration conduct a study of U.S. Geographic Information Resources. Mr. Hissong noted that NAPA recently conducted a study for NOAA of their nautical charting and geodesy functions. The results of the NOAA study will be incorporated into the current study. In the interests of making government work, all the agencies' interests will best be served by an objective evaluation of how current geographic information functions can be most effectively structured and performed. Mr. Moeller noted that participating agencies were briefing the study team on agency activities, and that he would be briefing on FGDC/NSDI activities. The study is expected to be completed in 9 months. Mr. TeSelle asked if resource mapping agencies would be within the scope of the study. Mr. Hissong noted that the intention was to cast a wide net in the Federal geographic community; Mr. Thorley suggested that because resource agencies are part of the FGDC, the resource mapping issues would be within the scope of the study. Copies of the NAPA study on nautical charting and geodesy may be obtained from the NAPA headquarters at telephone (202) 347-3190.

Airborne GPS Conference: An Airborne GPS Conference will be held in February 1997. Ms. Clement provided a handout soliciting Federal agency interest in conference sessions related to Management Issues (#2), Operational Issues (#3), or Lessons Learned (#4). Action: Representatives of agencies or subcommittees with geodetic control activities are invited to participate in the conference. Please contact Ms. Clement at (703)648-4633 by November 20 if you are interested in participating.

Discussion Items

EPA/The Nature Conservancy

Mr. Stein stated that in response to the need for an early warning system for rare and endangered species and unique ecosystems, a network of Natural Heritage Data Centers is being developed; these centers are housed primarily in State resource agencies. Many of the data are sensitive and cannot be freely distributed with accurate locational information. EPA and TNC are working together to eliminate duplicate efforts in collecting and managing the data and to make aggregated data available at a national level for Federal partners who have programmatic requirements for such data. The Heritage programs follow rigorous network standards and protocols, and work with FGDC groups such as the Vegetation Subcommittee to ensure harmonization of classification standards.

EPA and TNC have entered into a cooperative agreement to build a network of information related to biological diversity (element occurrences of threatened and endangered species and ecological communities). Mr. Battin noted that the intent is to create a framework of element occurrences with an established level of accuracy, to devise a method of aggregating data so that data owners and interests will not be compromised, and to develop a process for using and sharing the data. EPA and TNC would like FGDC participation in reviewing the proposal to be submitted by TNC. To prepare for the discussion, agency representatives should become familiar with their agency's requirements for biological diversity data. Action: Mr. Battin will provide the proposal for distribution to the Coordination Group and discussion at the January Coordination Group meeting.

Mr. Lockwood suggested that consideration be given to establishing an FGDC group to address biological /ecological issues. Mr. Moeller noted that several groups outside the FGDC were concerned with various aspects of these issues, and a discussion on FGDC's role (if any) would be appropriate. Mr. Stein noted that the issues relate to ecological communities, not just to species.

Clearinghouse implementation of the metadata standard--ongoing discussion

The action item from the October meeting (to develop instructions for the encoding of FGDC metadata for clearinghouse implementation of metadata) raised related issues about the processes used for the various standards related activities. The SWG suggested that such instructions would actually be a standard for encoding and should be publicly reviewed. Further discussion is needed to clarify the issues so they can be resolved. Action: Mr. Tolar (FGDC staff) will convene a group to look at the problems related to the issue(s), clarify the issue(s), and propose a solution. Included in this group will be Mr. Nebert, Mr. Barton, Mr. Spear, and Mr. Hogan. A report and final discussion on this issue will be scheduled for the December Coordination Group meeting.

Standards Working Group

Mr. Hogan reported that the SWG recommends approval of the Cadastral Standard as a preliminary standard; the definition of a preliminary standard will be distributed to the Coordination Group before the next meeting. The SWG also recommends approval of the Wetland Standard; both the Wetland and the Cadastral standards will be submitted to the Coordination Group for approval at the December meeting. Mr. Hogan noted that the geodetic and the national spatial data parts of the positioning accuracy standard will be submitted for approval of public review at the December meeting, as will the point profile for the Spatial Data Transfer Standard. The digital orthoimagery standard has been returned to the Base Cartographic Subcommittee for clarification of the scope statement before it goes through public review.

Mr. Hogan noted that FGDC and the SWG will be visited in December by a group from Australia who are implementing the Spatial Data Transfer Standard and are interested in learning more about NSDI. Coordination Group members are encouraged to attend the SWG meeting on December 10 for an opportunity to exchange ideas with these visitors.

Mr. Hogan described the Open GIS Consortium's requests for information from the geospatial community in the areas of imagery and cataloging to assist them in building the OGC specification to guide industry as they develop solutions for GIS. Mr. Hogan noted that FGDC needs to be heard in this forum to be considered a legitimate voice for NSDI; he was not sure from whom the responses to the information requests should come. Discussion surfaced concerns about how OGC would package and use FGDC and agency participation. Coordination Group members agreed that further discussion of an appropriate FGDC/OGC relationship is needed and would be held at the December meeting. Mr. Moeller noted that he would be attending the OGC management board meeting on December 4 and would have additional information for the discussion on December 6. Mr. Moeller requested that others who interact with OGC be prepared to offer their perspectives on the components of a productive relationship between FGDC and OGC.

A Strategy for the NSDI

Mr. Moeller provided highlights of the open meeting that was held in Chicago to complete the process of gathering input to the NSDI strategy document, and to resolve issues raised by reviewers. Among the 32 participants in addition to FGDC staff, there were representatives of State and local government, regional Federal offices, NSGIC, OGC, industry, and others. The most significant change to the document was that the second goal, which formerly pertained to both data and technology, was divided into two goals. The "strategy in process" document in the handout package includes the reworked goals and objectives that reflect the outcome of the Chicago discussions.

Additional parts of the document to be distributed before the December 6 Coordination Group meeting will incorporate explanatory material for the goals and objectives, and an outline of the reorganized introductory material that reflects the suggestions from the discussions in Chicago and comments received during the review period. Action: FGDC Staff (Ms. Poore) will complete this "strategy in process" document and provide to Coordination Group on Friday, November 15. The rewritten introduction and appendix will be distributed before the December Coordination Group meeting for final review. The resulting document will be presented to the Steering Committee for concurrence at their December 17 meeting.

Mr. Moeller noted that members of the Steering Committee were being invited to present briefings on their agency plans for implementing the NSDI strategy at the December 17 Steering Committee meeting. Mr. TeSelle suggested that agency implementation plans that called for specific actions might be useful in documenting budget requests.