October 6, 1998 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Persons Attending:
Bruce Ambacher (Historical WG), Kevin Backe (Standards WG), Bill Blake and Nancy Blyler (Facilities WG), Don Buhler (Cadastral SC), Dave Catlin (EPA), Kathy Covert (FGDC Staff), Todd Erickson (Guest), Andrew Euston (HUD), Alan Gaines (NSF), Bernie Horak (Guest), Millington Lockwood (Bathymetric SC), M.K. Miles (Facilities WG), John Moeller (FGDC Staff), Karl Mohr (FEMA), David Morehouse (DOE), Jan Morton (Geologic SC), Maury Nyquist (Biological Data WG), Tom Palmerlee (UCGIS), Rick Pearsall (Standards & Metadata WG), Barbara Poore (Communications WG), Hedy Rossmeissl (USGS), Harold Smith (Guest), Bruce Spear (Ground Transportation SC), Gale TeSelle (NRCS), Gene Thorley (FGDC), Alan Voss (TVA), Lonnie Weiss (Guest), Rick Yorczyk (Geodetic SC)

Information Items:
In the first round of the Digital Government Initiative, approximately 50 proposals were submitted. AlanGaines stated that at least half of the proposals involve geospatial data and he may be asking some Coordination Group members to act as reviewers or panelists.

Millington Lockwood was thanked for pulling together the FGDC statement for the Education Summit at the GIS/LIS in Fort Worth, TX. Mr. Lockwood distributed a draft of the input he has received to date, commenting that only 4 people have responded and that comments will still be accepted until October 23.

Mr. Moeller reminded everyone to look over the 1999 NSDI accomplishments template and provide comments to Kim Burns-Braidlow. He also reminded everyone to complete the Effectiveness of Subcommittees and Working Group questionnaire and return it as soon as possible. This information will be used when planning the retreat for the Coordination Group at the beginning of the year.

Status of Facilities Working Group:
Nancy Blyler presented an update of the Facilities working group activities. (Click here to see the presentation.) Ms. Blyler reported that their meetings are held bimonthly and 6 standards are currently in various stages of the development process. The Facilities working group has a web page that contains information about the group and it can be found at http://corpsgeo1.usace.army.mil/FGDC/welcome.html or from the FGDC web page http://www.fgdc.gov

Several topics were discussed including: when a working group goes from being a temporary group to something more permanent; what it means to receive a low number of comments on a standard during the public review process; and agencies going the extra mile to ensure they are complying with the very standards they endorse. It was decided that these topics will be tabled for later discussion during the upcoming retreat early next year.

Tri-Services Standards & the Incorporation of FGDC Standards:
Harold Smith presented a briefing on the Tri-Services Standards and how they have implemented FGDC Standards. (Click here to see the presentation.) Tri-Services have been working with the Wetlands, Vegetation, and Soils Standards. Mr. Smith discussed some of the successes and failures of taking multiple FGDC standards and integrating them into one standard. Tri-Services is working with vendors to implement these standards and they are also conducting training on the use of these standards. Mr. Moeller commended Tri-Services for their comprehensive efforts with these FGDC standards and encouraged other agencies to follow suit.

Community/Federal Information Partnership (CFIP) Update:
John Moeller reported that the September 10 Steering Committee meeting had an excellent CFIP discussion with strong support from the Office of the Vice-President, OMB, the Secretary, and Steering Committee members. Follow-up items from that meeting included:

  • agency CFIP requests were identified in their FY2000 submission to OMB
  • agency budget officers were fully aware of the initiative and the agency's plan to participate
  • agency write-ups were consistent,up to date, and included GPRA outcomes
  • the appropriations accounts were identified for the placement of the funds
  • the authority or program activity by which the funds would be dispersed would be identified
  • agency CFIP POC identified
  • schedule a series of meetings with OMB

Norm Gunderson reported that he is in the process of scheduling meetings with OMB and identifying agency points of contacts. Mr. Gunderson is in the process of scheduling meetings between agency's program and budget staff and their respective OMB examiners. Mr. Gunderson also reported that he is working with agencies to define their dollars requested.

Tom Palmerlee asked that the FGDC briefly discuss CFIP at the UCGIS meeting on November 8. UCGIS is supportive of this initiative and they would like to know what the concept of CFIP is and what the mechanisms will be to participate in the initiative.

Digital Earth Discussion:
Mr. Moeller reported that on September 22 & 23, the 2nd Digital Earth workshop was held. Mr. Moeller said the workshops are attempting to put structure and substance to the idea of a digital earth. A key issue of the workshop was to define what is a digital earth. The working definition was developed as, "Digital Earth is a virtual representation of our planet that allows a person to explore and interact with the vast amounts of natural and cultural information gathered about the earth." Mr. Moeller reported that there is a lot of support for building off the NSDI. Follow-up actions that were identified:

  • Gladys Cotter, BRD, will work with FGDC to look at some management structures that were proposed and to recommend a structure for a digital earth working group. The two structures proposed were an ad hoc working group tied into the FGDC process and the other was a working group separate from the FGDC but still linked to the FGDC - a program office approach.

  • The development of a paper, "The State of the Present", which would identify what technologies already exist that can help us construct the digital earth and would identify gaps.
  • A "reference model paper" would build off "The State of the Present" paper and would start constructing a model that could be utilized in building the concept.
  • NASA CANs (Cooperative Agreement Notices) would offer funding to gather ideas on what should be in the digital earth.
  • Continuation of workshops. NOAA volunteered to host the 3rd workshop, November 6 was suggested but the date was not clearly established. Bimonthly meetings would then be held, FGDC would take the lead on coordinating these through FGDC member agencies being the sponsors, not the FGDC staff. There was some question on this point and John Moeller will seek clarification.

The digital earth web site is up: http://digitalearth.gsfc.nasa.gov

1999 National GeoData Forum Update:
Gene Thorley reported that the 3rd National GeoData Forum will be held June 7-9, 1999 in the metro Washington, DC area. Mr. Thorley said that the timing of this forum is right for a number of reasons. First, by June we should be able to explain what we mean by 'digital earth'. Secondly, we will be able to discuss CFIP with the community. Mr. Thorley stated that he hopes this will be a big event and will demonstrate how a number of initiatives, such as digital earth, are related. In order to assist in the success of the forum, a steering committee has been formed that consists of 18 members that are primarily made up of FGDC cooperators. Mr. Thorley said that the steering committee is made up of primarily the private sector and will meet twice to develop the content and proper pitch of the forum. Mr. Thorley stated that if the NSDI is to be successful, it must be a public/private partnership. He hopes this will be a meeting that people will want to attend.

    Action: Gene Thorley will speak with Millington Lockwood regarding the composition of the GeoData Forum steering committee.

The Coordination Group was then asked to participate in an exercise that drew the group's knowledge about the community and the NSDI. Lead by Lonnie Weiss and Todd Erickson, the group was asked questions such as "What have been the three most significant achievements / accomplishments / milestones in the effort to build a National Spatial Data Infrastructure" and "What do we want to do next to move NSDI forward?" The responses will be used to generate ideas for the Geodata Forum steering committee to discuss on October 30th. For information about the results, contact Kathy Covert.

The meeting was adjourned.

Next Coordination Group Meeting:

November 3, 1998

Main Interior Building
1849 C Street, NW
Room 7000B
Washington, DC