July 7, 1998 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Persons Attending:
Bruce Ambacher (Historical Data WG), Nancy Blyler (USACE), Fred Broome (Cultural & Demographic SC), Don Buhler (Cadastral SC), Kim Burns-Braidlow (FGDC Staff), Dave Catlin (EPA), Drew Decker (Texas Water Development Board), Mark DeMulder (Base Carto SC), Mike Domaratz (USGS), Alan Gaines (NSF), Ken Loudon (NIMA), Win Lyday (NACo), Nancy Maynard (NASA), M.K. Miles (Facilities WG), David Morehouse (DOE), John Moeller (FGDC Staff), Kristen O'Grady (Census), David Painter (FGDC Staff), Tom Palmerlee (UCGIS), Barbara Poore (FGDC Staff), Milo Robinson (FGDC Staff), Bruce Spear (Ground Transportation SC), Larry Stephens (NIMA), Tracey Suchan (Penn State), Gale TeSelle (NRCS), Bill Wilen (Wetlands SC), Rick Yorczyk (Geodetic Control SC)

Information Items:
The Status of FGDC Standards document was distributed. The Public Review Draft of the Biological Data Profile of the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata is now available.

USDA Service Center Strategy:
Gale TeSelle presented the USDA Service Center GIS implementation strategy. This strategy covers the Service Center agencies which are Farm Service Centers. Some of the goals of the strategy: to provide a one-stop service center for the customers, seamless delivery, improved modernized service, shared information systems, reduced cost burden, and improving the flexibility and response of the infrastructures. Mr.TeSelle said that already approximately $100 million has been spent on wiring offices with LAN's, WAN's and Internet connections in an effort to link the USDA data management and GIS needs.

The main objective of the strategy is to gain a common agreement among Service Center Agencies as to the direction the USDA is going with GIS. The Agencies want GIS at a high level priority in the implementation. They also want a clear understanding of the FY99 funding commitment to this strategy. Mr. TeSelle said one of the reasons for this presentation today was to show the relationship between this strategy, Digital Earth, and the FGDC budget initiative.

Mr. TeSelle reported that a geospatial data study was done with multi-agencies participating to identify what the benefits of GIS are to agencies. One of the main findings was that it would save the agencies approximately $168 million per year. Mr. TeSelle sited several examples of how individual agencies will benefit from a shared GIS and data management system.

The USDA has identified the core themes of data they are interested in putting in to a common GIS data management system. Nineteen layers and several sublayers of themes were identified. USDA will be responsible for collecting several layers, while other Federal agencies such as USGS will be responsible for the remaining layers of information. Critical geospatial data themes for USDA Service Centers included: Orthoimagery, Common land unit, Soils - SSRGO, and Cultural and demographics. Framework themes (Governmental units and place names, elevation, hydrography, cadastral, transportation) were agreed to items, including Digital Raster Graphics and Natural Resources data. Business categories of data were also identified as necessary. Geodetic data was not identified as a specific need.

Mr. TeSelle stated that the intent is to implement GIS technology at the rate of 600 counties per year for 4 years, beginning in 2000. In developing this strategy however, they still have unanswered questions, such as, how can they best process, acquire, intergrate and deliver this data to the customers. He stated that he hoped that the other Federal agencies had their data available through the Clearinghouse in accordance with the standards, including Metadata. Mr. TeSelle also stated that intergration is a big issue. He sited soil maps and DOQ's as an example and stated that credibility is lost each time a farmer is presented with an orthoimagery and soil map that aren't referenced together. Nine pilot projects were selected at random, totally irrelevant to GIS maturity, to begin the implementation strategy. They will run for at least six months and the results be used to refine the implementation plan.

USDA data management efforts are underway and Metadata is one of them. Mr. TeSelle stated that standards need to be accelerated for the 19 themes that do not have standards. Some themes have standards that are at different levels such as at the content level for classification. Mr. TeSelle said that we need geospatial standards at the DOQ level for at least 1:24K. M.K. Miles stated that what USDA needs are standards that can be implemented in commercial GIS. Mr. TeSelle agreed and added that it must be operationally implemented for a specific program.

Included a support structure for this strategy, Mr. TeSelle said that USDA's intent is to use states as the middle ground for organizing data management between the state, counties, and Federal agencies. The State GIS coordinators would be the clearinghouse for what data exists within their state. Partnerships were also listed as support structure for the plan and FGDC, USGS, FS, and BLM were among the Federal partners. State and counties, NSGIC, NACo, NASCA, and OGC were also among the partners. The intent of the strategy is to cost share with partners on data and only produce those data layers that are not already in being produced by other partners.

Bruce Spear asked what the strategy was on making DOQ's available. He said a state or county transportation agency, if it is ever going to digitize roads to the DOQ, having the DOQ would be a reasonable incentive as opposed to going out and buying it. Mr. TeSelle said first, they are pretty cheat even if you have to buy them and secondly, they are working with MIT and the EROS data center and their own facilities to put up the DOQ's on the net, similar to what the Boston area did with the ortho browser. USDA's goal is to make the DOQ's available for nothing.

Mr. TeSelle said he would like to see FEMA's Floods Hazard Map be a proposed theme for the FGDC and have a working program for that. They run a $500 Billion mapping program for the country annually and he feels that a lot of that data is in disarray. They have a new proposal for modernizing that and USDA is highly supportive.

The next step for the implementation strategy is to submit it to OMB, implement the GIS technology pilots, work with FGDC to gain support and establish collaborative efforts, acquire funds for the FY99 phase, and requests funds for FY2000 in the FGDC budget initiative.

Rick Yorcyzk commented that he's disappointed USDA doesn't feel geodetic control data is a critical element in their strategy. He also stated that NGS is putting together a GPS/GIS liaison. He suggested USDA get involve with this actitivity.

Mike Domaratz commented that USDA is making a big assumption that data they need from other Federal agencies will be on the clearinghouse when USDA is ready for them. With NDOP it wasn't left to happenstance. Gale said that the State GIS coordinators would help coordinate this. He said they don't have all the answers at this time.

Texas StratMap Initiative:
Drew Decker, Texas Water Development Board, presented an overview of the Texas Strategic Mapping Program (StratMap). StratMap will create digital geographic data sets statewide that will reside in the public domain, be accessible through multiple sources, meet a wide variety of public and private sector needs, and be developed through partnerships. Components of the StratMap include 7 layers: Texas Orthoimagery Program (TOP) - 1 meter, IR digital ortho- quarter quads; 1:24K DLGs for hypsography, transportation, political boundaries, and hydrography; 1:24K Soils Survey; and 1:24K DEMs. The goals of the StratMap are to complete statewide coverage of digital orthophotos and DEMs through TOP, develop 1:24K DLG data for the named categories, and maximize partnership and data intergration opportunities.

Mr. Decker discussed the formation of the Texas Geographic Information Council and the approximately 30 groups that participate in the council. A partnership funding example was provided and selected StratMap data applications were presented.

Mr. Decker stated that the benefits of StratMap include reduced costs of government by increasing data exchange and interagency coordination; provide source material for a variety of value added activities in the private sector, and provide for a better informed public.

UCGIS Meeting Report:
Tom Palmerlee reported the results of the 3rd UCGIS Annual Assembly meeting in June. Mr. Palmerlee stated that what UCGIS has done is to act as a spokesman for the academic community and try to isolate the research priorities in education. At the June meeting UCGIS re-evaluated their research priorities, bringing in new reviewers to look at the 10 research priorities and revise white papers. John Moeller stated that FGDC entered into an agreement with UCGIS to develop research needs that FGDC agencies may have. Mr. Moeller encouraged agencies who have research ideas contact UCGIS.

Mr. Palmerlee said that UCGIS has decided to do a Washington event again. In the past they've done Congressional breakfasts that they felt were successful. UCGIS would like to tie this Washington event to another meeting to eliminate to keep travel costs down for their members. Mr. Palmerlee suggested a meeting with Federal agencies in which each agency would present a brief overview of what they are responsible for doing and what their research priorities are. John Moeller stated that the FGDC State Councils have also recommended a similar need to meet with Federal agencies. John Moeller also stated that the FGDC is looking at having a GeoData Forum in late spring of next year. Barbara Poore suggested we take a look at the upcoming meeting schedules to consolidate if possible and achieve a larger purpose. Mr. Palmerlee stated that because of the budget cycle, UCGIS would need to meet in early spring. The next annual UCGIS meeting will be June 24 - 26, 1999, in Minneapolis.

Mike Domaratz asked what will be done with the 10 research white papers. Mr. Palmerlee said that UCGIS thinks it is important to identify these research topics and that's what they did.

Steering Committee Update:
Mr. Moeller reported the Community/Federal Information Partnership Initiative now has 9 agencies who are in the initiative for proposed funding additions. Gale TeSelle asked if this was considered an FGDC/White House cross cut or an Interior Department initiative. Mr. Moeller said this is not just an Interior initiative. The Initiative would be submitted by Secretary Babbitt on behalf of the FGDC. If the mood shifts and people say this is a good idea, but take it out of agency's budgets, we will not push the initiative any more because that will have negative impacts on agency's budgets. Mike Domaratz commented that this initiative is not yet in any one's budget. He's talked to his budget people and they say the only way they see this initiative happening is if it comes from the President's pot. Mr. Moeller stated that Mark Schaefer is meeting with OMB to discuss these issues. Bruce Spear said they put it in their budget and their budget person said they didn't want to hear it unless someone from above endorsed it. Mr. Moeller said that this is what they hope will happen, that OMB will encourage their agencies.

Demonstration Projects have been submitted and Mr. Moeller will be meeting next week with stakeholders to make selections. Mike Domaratz asked if Federal agencies are really supposed to be involved in the pilot projects and should agencies pay attention to what is happening with them. Mr. Moeller said that through the NPR several other players are being brought into the picture, for example the Department of Justice. Mr. Moeller said these pilots will serve a variety of purposes.

Next Coordination Group Meeting:

August 4, 1998 from 9:00 - Noon

U.S. Department of Agriculture
South Agriculture Building, Room 0305
12th and Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC

Directions: South Building at 12th and Independence Avenue SW (Basement of the 3rd wing).

Metro- Smithsonian Stop (Blue & Orange), Independence Ave. exit