December 1, 1998 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Persons Attending:
Bruce Ambacher (Historical WG), Gerry Barton (NOAA), Bill Blake (Facilities WG), Fred Broome (Cultural & Demographic SC), Marily Buford (Vegetation SC), Don Buhler (Cadastral SC), Kim Burns-Braidlow (FGDC Staff), Dave Catlin (EPA), Mark DeMulder (Base Carto SC), Greg Elmes (UCGIS), Bonnie Gallahan (FGDC Staff), Hank Garie (NSGIC), Richard Hogan (USGS/NACo), Cliff Kottman (OpenGIS Consortium), John Moeller (FGDC Staff), David Morehouse (DOE), David Painter (FGDC Staff), Barbara Poore (FGDC Staff), Doris Reinhart (Guest - Chesapeake Consulting), David Schell (OpenGIS Consortium), Gale TeSelle (NRCS), Gene Thorley (Chair), Alan Voss (TVA), Bill Wilen (Wetlands SC), Rick Yorczyk (Geodetic SC)

Information Items:
Progress reports are due December 31. Reports are also being sought from the non-federal stakeholders. A template is available to assist in the development of the report. The template may be found at

Copies of the FGDC newsletter were distributed.

Gene Thorley announced that his successor as the chair of the Coordination Group will be John Moeller. Mr. Thorley will be moving to Seattle in late December.

John Moeller displayed The Nature Conservancy publication, Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States. This document shows the value of the standards work that has been done and discusses vegetation classification and the vegetation classification standard. If you are interested in getting a copy, contact The Nature Conservancy.

The SIMNRE Working Group completed a report, Integrating Surveys of Terrestrial Natural Resources: The Oregon Demonstration Project. The report documents an interagency pilot project in Oregon showing the feasibility of integrating federal surveys of terrestrial natural resources and offers a vision for that integration. Anyone interested, contact Jeff Goebel (

Community/Federal Information Partnership Update:
Mr. Moeller stated that based on passbacks, CFIP has been included in 3-5 agency budgets. It is unclear at this time how many agencies will actually participate though, as appeals are being made in a couple of agencies. It is also unclear as to the dollar levels that will be funded.

Australian Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Briefing:
John Moeller attended the 3rd GSDI conference that took place in Australia mid-November. The attendees agreed there are certain building blocks that are necessary for development of a GSDI. Aiding in the discussions was a survey conducted by Harlan Onsrud. Mr. Moeller reported there was discussion to move towards a permanent global umbrella organization to tie initiatives from around the world together. A request is being sent to the United Nations encouraging member organizations to develop national spatial data systems and to cooperate to develop national spatial data standards. The GSDI steering committee was also encouraged to put together a study looking at the business case for spatial data infrastructure development. The next meeting will be held in South Africa in March 2000. Mr. Moeller also noted that Doug Nebert is chairing a technical working group that was formed and will be looking at ISO metadata standard implementation.

    Action: John Moeller will provide the web site for the GSDI survey results and will send the resolutions and recommendations from the conference when they are made available.

The survey results can be found at

Ecological Society of America Memorandum of Understanding:
Marilyn Buford distributed a copy of the proposed Memorandum of Understanding among Ecological Society of America, The Nature Conservancy, USGS, and FGDC and provided an overview. The MOU proposes to develop, implement and maintain the National Vegetation Classification System. Ms. Buford would like the Coordination Group to provide their subcommittees and working groups with this document in order to review the proposed MOU and provide comments to her by February 1. Ms. Buford will email electronic copies to those who send her email requesting the information.

    Action: Members review the ESA MOU and provided comments to Marilyn Buford (mbuford/ by February 1.

Framework Data Survey Update:
Barbara Poore reported the Framework Data Survey was the result of an agreement between the FGDC and NSGIC in 1996. The survey attempted to access the status of framework data throughout the country, focusing at the county level. Over 5,600 responses have been received and a team has been formed to clean up, analyze and report the results.

A database containing the survey results will be placed on the web as soon as the team has completed its work. Ms. Poore reported that ESRI has produced an ARC View Project that allows the mapping of responses to the survey questions. When the database is ready (hopefully late-December), it will be placed on the web, however, it will not be advertised at that time. Ms. Poore said that this is because a preview of the survey, data from 14 states, will be previewed in the April issue of GeoInfo Systems and they do not want to 'steal the thunder' from this preview. The national report is expected out in September, 1999.

A scoping meeting is planned for the technical report of the survey in February and if you're interested in participating let Ms. Poore know.

    Action: Barbara Poore will notify the Coordination Group when the database is on-line. Ms. Poore will also set up a meeting with those interested to discuss avenues to keep the survey current on the web.

There was interest expressed among the group to see the Framework Data Survey maintained and to keep the 5600 respondent's information current. A comment was made that keeping this survey maintained should be placed higher in priority than some of the other partnership activities FGDC currently funds. A question was raised concerning regionalizing the survey, and if by doing so, FGDC could fund regions to keep the survey alive. Several comments were made concerning the need to provide some type of funding in order to keep the survey current and to keep interest high.

Coordination Group Retreat Discussion:
The Retreat date and location were decided to be January 19 & 20, at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. We have a limited number of lodging rooms available at the training center as well as a block of rooms reserved at the Comfort Suites, a new hotel in Martinsburg, WV about 15 minutes from Shepherdstown. Both of these locations are within the government per diem rate. Phones numbers are: Training Center (304) 876-7900 and the Comfort Suites (304) 263-8888. Please call and make your reservations early, the blocks of rooms are reserved under 'FGDC'.

It is expected that Chairs of the Subcommittees and Working Groups, as well as federal agency representatives, and non-federal stakeholder representatives will attend. The Retreat is open to ALL FGDC members - both federal and non-federal, we are limited to attendance of 60 because of seating capacity at the training center. Members are responsible for the funding of their trip.

    Action: Members let Kim Burns-Braidlow know if you plan on attending ASAP.

A handout was distributed on potential retreat topics that were received prior to the meeting. A lengthy discussion followed. The following are the captured ideas discussed for the retreat agenda:

  • Demonstrations of agency activities
  • Discussion of future direction of Coordination Group and what the group needs to be doing. Identify what groups need to be active and what groups should 'go to sleep'.
  • Status of Subcommittees and Working Groups - who is active and who is not.
  • What the FGDC Secretariat's office is capable of doing and what they need from the Coordination Group to expand. Review the FGDC Secretariat budget's.
  • Focus on Programs. Draft document that takes a shot at providing how much money, and what programs are being run by the various FGDC agencies that are geospatially focused. Then figure out what role we have in the coordination of those programs to effectively collaborate, minimize duplications, design MOU's, etc.
  • The Coordination Group has moved past the era of standards. Program coordination is the next step but it is much more difficult to do. We need to look at how we can coordinate programs.
  • Is FGDC the body that could and should do program coordination? If it is then how should it be structured. Does the FGDC membership have the will to move forward.
  • The CFIP exercise has identified shortcomings the group has with regard to program and budget activity connections. Discuss those shortcomings and possible corrections.
  • Do we have the right players. Are we past the 'techie' stage, it is time to bring our bosses to the table.
  • Are we ready for MicroSoft and Oracle?
  • What does outreach and growth mean to us?
  • Need for revamping the NSDI strategy document. Use the NSDI strategy document as a framework tool for discussion. If we are missing key components, figure out how to put it in - like program coordination. Or if we need to rework parts that are in there, such as education, outreach, standards, and partnerships, how can we elevate those items to a higher priority. By the end of the retreat, we could have a 'product' such as an enhanced NSDI strategy document.
  • Discussion of CFIP, logistically how it would work as well as the outreach that is necessary for CFIP to survive the budget process.
  • The role of FGDC in obtaining spatial data budgets for the NSDI through coordinated efforts of the agencies. How to drive the budget process - not just CFIP.
  • Function of the Coordination Group, what can/should this group be doing to move NSDI forward.
  • An effective agenda must be very specific - state an objective so you know when you get there. Get a basic single issue to focus productive discussions on. A-16 issues that have not been well served because of the scramble to get things done today.
  • Look at private sector relationships and linking with their resources to coordinate what we've been commissioned to do (A-16). How can we organize to better accommodate relationships with Oracle and Microsoft. Contractors (who have never heard of the FGDC) are controlling standards - that's why we need to focus on business issues. Set up a dialogue with industry.
  • Focus one day on the outreach prospective, the second day on the internal stuff we have not yet done that has to get done in order to move the NSDI forward - such as enforcing standards.
  • Have to get the program managers knowledgeable about FGDC. Also, many contracting officers know nothing about FGDC.
  • We lack compelling reasons to use standards, what we do, we do for expediency sake. We don't have to use standards if we do things for ourselves, we only need to use standards if we're partnering with someone else. We must identify those compelling reasons for doing what it is we are doing.
  • The 'big stick' for adhering to A-16 is exposing inefficiency. Do we dare do that?
  • Two areas keep coming up. One - focus internally within federal agencies and how we can better coordinate our programs to reduce inefficiencies and two, how to better interface with private industry and our other partners.
  • OMB had inspired the group before - telling the CG what their job was.
  • How does the FGDC respond to the Clinger-Cohen legislation - the Information, Technology, and Management Reform Act. See the following web site: An interesting issue in this act is whether a Chief Information Officer (CIO) will know what geospatial data processing is. FGDC should be interested in to what extent are these CIO's looking at the management issues of spatial data programs. This is a legislative whip to apply. You can't implement Clinger-Cohen without a commercial strategy.
  • Testbed of exemplary sites that speak to program managers about what off the self software can accomplish. Address the inefficiencies, not by exposing them, but by offering technical solutions. Coordination Group become a powerful tool for coordination across program managers, acquisitions, commercial component ware.

    Action: The Executive Secretary will provide the CG a proposed draft agenda the week of December 14. The CG will provide feedback to the proposed agenda. The January 5 CG meeting will continue the discussion of developing an effective Retreat.

The meeting was adjourned.

Next Coordination Group Meeting:

January 5, 1998

Bureau of Land Management
7th Floor Conference Room
1620 L Street, NW
Washington, DC

1620 L Street is mid-block on the south side of L Street.

1 1/2 blocks east of Farragut North (red) L Street exit
2 blocks north, and 2 blocks east of Farragut West (blue/orange) 17th Street exit
2 blocks north, and 1 1/2 blocks west of McPherson Square (blue/orange) 16th Street exit