September 1, 1998 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Persons Attending:
Bruce Ambacher (Historical WG), Frank Beck (FGDC Staff), Angela Bottom (International Boundaries SC), Marilyn Buford (Vegetation SC), Kim Burns-Braidlow (FGDC Staff), Mark DeMulder (Base Carto SC), Anne Frondorf (Biological Data WG), Alan Gaines (NSF), Kate Hatten (ICMA), Richard Hogan (USGS/NACo Liaison), Millington Lockwood (Bathymetric SC), Nancy Lopez (Spatial Water Data SC), Ed McKay (Geodetic SC), Karl Mohr (FEMA), David Morehouse (DOE), John Moeller (FGDC Staff), Doug Nebert (Clearinghouse WG), Tom Palmerlee (UCGIS), Charles Roswell (NIMA), Bruce Spear (Ground Transportation SC), Gale TeSelle (NRCS), Gene Thorley (Coordination Group Chair), Bill Wilen (Wetlands SC)

Information Items:
The FGDC web page has been given a new look and now has search capabilities. Subcommittees and Working Groups are encouraged to keep their web pages current and up to date, including list of members and meeting minutes.

The FGDC staff have been getting requests to coordinate a single list of federal agency GIS regional points of contacts. The FGDC regional point of contact web page will be complete this week. It was suggested that the web site contain links to other agencies point of contact lists. The group was reminded that NACo, NSGIC, and other stakeholders have identified the need to make it easier to find out who is in their states.

Reminder of outstanding action items from September:

    Action: Chairs who have approved FGDC Standards that are not in the Feature Registry, contact Kevin Backe to discuss incorporating the standards.

    Action: Chairs who have standards in the development process, use the Feature Registry.

    Action: Subcommittee and Working Group Chairs contact their respective NACo member if they haven't already done so.

'98 Report & Participation Discussion:
For 1998, we are once again asking for Subcommittees, Working Groups, and federal agencies to report the 1998 accomplishments they have made relating to the NSDI. The FGDC Staff will use these reports to compile a single report to submit to OMB on behalf of the entire FGDC. According to the OMB Circular A-16, FGDC is required to annually submit a report of activities to OMB.

A new template was distributed at this meeting to assist in the preparation of the accomplishment reports. The template was reviewed and discussed. Subcommittees and Working Groups were reminded to review their charters when identifying accomplishments and all were reminded to consider the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) which focus on reporting outcomes and results rather than the processes one goes through.

This year, the groups have also been asked to identify funding information. This information includes funds provided by lead agencies, as well as any supplemental funding provided by FGDC in support of their activities. Nancy Lopez suggested that it would also be useful to discuss money transfers among agencies to support activities. Millington Lockwood asked whether the funding costs would include salaries. John Moeller responded that indeed it would. With the upcoming budget initiative and demonstration projects, there will be value in being able to demonstrate to OMB that there is a fair amount of resources that are already being spent and that are still needed in coordination of activities.

Ms. Lopez commented that coordination is not free. Gene Thorley sited the NAPA Study recommendation to establish a private nonprofit council to coordinate essentially the same things we are doing now. Mr. Thorley went on to say that it would be useful information to know the minimal investment the federal sector is providing to the community now. Mr. Thorley agreed that some level of resource identification at this time is important for us to identify. The 1998 template will be updated to include the funding of salaries and agency transfers of subcommittees and working groups.

Bruce Spear asked how 'agencies' are defined. Mr. Spear said that he can report on the Ground Transportation Subcommittee and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics activities but that will be the extent of comments from the Department of Transportation. Mr. Spear said that unless OMB says to the other agencies within DOT, "okay, where is your agency NSDI plan," no other reporting will happen within DOT. Other Coordination Group members agreed of similar situations within their agency. Mr. Spear said that other agencies within DOT are not aware of the NSDI, the Executive Order, and are producing data and not metadata. BTS is going ahead with making their data compliant but they don't have the leverage to force other agencies within their department to comply. The only way any other agencies would even consider complying is if they run into OMB, asking them if they are complying with FGDC guidelines. OMB can provide more pressure than any inside agency. There were several comments suggesting OMB "put teeth" into A16 and the Executive Order.

A questionnaire was distributed, "Effectiveness of Subcommittees and Working Groups" and subcommittees and working groups were asked to discuss these 10 questions within their respective groups and provide comments back to the Coordination Group by the October meeting. Mr. Moeller suggested some time be spent at the October meeting discussing how the subcommittees and working groups want to work in 1999. Mr. Thorley commented that it sounds like it would be better discussed in an all day meeting, rather than in 3 hours. Mr. Thorley suggested we schedule an all day meeting to discuss some strategic issues that are before us. The group concurred and an all day 'retreat' will be scheduled within the next few months.

Richard Hogan reported that during discussions with NACo it became very clear to him that agencies have not done a good job at pulling FGDC efforts together. Mr. Hogan said we have very spotty metadata, it is not provided through the clearinghouse, and many of us of have not implemented the standards we have endorsed. Mr. Hogan said that we have created some good tools but we have fallen short in bringing them all together. Mr. Hogan agreed with Mr. Thorley that now is a good time to do a 'health check' of our committee and organizations.

It was discussed at length whether programs of agency interests were being addressed within subcommittees and working groups. Several commented that their groups meet but they don't have the people who are actually doing the coordination of the theme data - that is happening within other, non-FGDC groups. Mr. Moeller and Mr. TeSelle suggested that the subcommittees and working group look at changing the composition and focus of the groups in order to achieve a truly coordinated program. The groups also need to begin to look at how to implement standards that they have developed.


  • Review 1998 template and begin to provide feedback by October 1 to the Executive Secretary.
  • Provide comments on the Effectiveness of Subcommittees and Working Groups questionnaire by October 1 to the Executive Secretary

Budget Initiative & Demonstration Project Updates:
John Moeller distributed two handouts which provided brief background information on the budget initiative and the demonstration projects. Mr. Moeller reported that the Community/Federal Information Partnership (CFIP) initiative is being discussed in the Vice President's office and it is anticipated that in the near future the Administration's office will also support the initiative. Mr. Moeller reported that within the next few days it will be decided whether the initiative will be an Administration priority and a budget initiative as proposed for FY2000.

In anticipation of the Vice President's support, a Steering Committee meeting has been scheduled for September 10 to discuss the budget initiative and the demonstration projects. Mr. Moeller reminded everyone to inform their Steering Committee members what has been proposed by their agencies as part of the CFIP, and to inform the Budget Officers of these activities. Mr. Moeller stated that if an agency does not ask for funding to support the initiative, there will be no money given. Mr. Moeller asked that in each of the agency's addendums, which are included in the current proposal, the agency ensure that outcomes and objectives are addressed. Mr. Moeller also stated that agencies now need to consider the appropriations account that budget funds would be targeted for and to identify the program that funds would be administered through.

Mr. Moeller was asked what agencies were participating and if the total dollar amount was known. Mr. Moeller responded that the dollar amount would not be known for sure until after we hear this week, whether it is an Administration priority. Mr. Moeller said the key issues is for agencies to request some amount of funding and there is still a window of opportunity for agencies to submit a request.

Mr. Moeller said that the announcement that goes out for the grant program would be consolidated into one announcement. The proposals would be reviewed, then each agency will take back to their group the proposals that fit within their respective missions.

Mr. Moeller also reported that 6 demonstration projects have been identified and Mark Reichardt, who is detailed from NIMA to NPR will be leading the coordination of these projects. Federal agencies are being asked to champion each of the demonstration projects and ensure that resources are available to successfully complete the projects.

Content Standard for Digital Orthoimagery:
Mark DeMulder reported that the Standards Working Group approved the Content Standard for Digital Orthoimagery. The Coordination Group was asked to approve the standard and they did. This standard will now be moved forward for Steering Committee approval. It is probable that the Steering Committee will be asked to approve the standard via balloting because there is not sufficient time on the September 10 meeting to discuss this standard.

    Content Standard for Digital Orthoimagery was approved

UCGIS Educational Summit @ GIS/LIS:
Tom Palmerlee stated that there is rapidly growing interest in the multitude of education and training issues that cut across stakeholder groups within the geographic information science community. Mr. Palmerlee reported that these issues include the appropriate curriculum content for different constituencies, accreditation and certification, methods of delivering GIS education, the roles of the universities and the private sector in GIS training, educational partnerships, and distance learning in GIS. Mr. Palmerlee said the UCGIS will be holding an Educational Summit at the upcoming GIS/LIS Conference to communicate these issues and concerns among members of different organizations.

Mr. Palmerlee has asked that organizations and agencies take a few moments to consider their current interest and educational requirements for geospatial data activities that may be addressed at the Graduate and Undergraduate levels of education. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of agency educational inventory needs but rather a short list of an agency's most pressing requirements and what agencies will need in their long term scenario.

Millington Lockwood volunteered to collect input and consolidate the information into a sheet of the educational needs of federal agencies. This information will then be presented during the Educational Summit at GIS/LIS.

    Action: Send your agency's educational needs and interests to Millington Lockwood at by September 24.

Subcommittee on Spatial Water Data:
Nancy Lopez distributed the Subcommittee on Spatial Water Data's terms of references (charter) which were approved by the Advisory Committee on Water Information. Ms. Lopez reported that this subcommittee is now under the FACA process and she reviewed that process. Ms. Lopez stated that membership is open to all levels of government and the private sector. The Coordination Group was asked to approve the terms of reference of this subcommittee, making the subcommittee jointly sponsored by FGDC and ACWI.

    Subcommittee of Spatial Water Data terms of reference was approved.

The meeting was adjourned.

Next Coordination Group Meeting:

October 6, 1998

National Archives and Records Administration
8th and Pennsylvania, NW
Room 105
Washington, DC

Metro-Yellow Line at Archives/Navy Memorial Station, NARA is across the street.

Point of Contact for NARA is Bruce Ambacher - (301) 713-6630 ext. 229