April 6, 1999 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Persons Attending:
Bruce Ambacher (Historical WG), Nancy Blyler (Facilities WG), Marilyn Buford (Vegetation SC), Don Buhler (Cadastral SC), Kim Burns-Braidlow (FGDC Staff), Kathy Covert (FGDC Staff), Charles Croner (Health & Human Services), George Cross (Earth Cover WG), John Crowe (Base Cartographic SC), Alan Gaines (NSF), Leslie Godwin (Cultural & Demographic SC), Eric Goods (FGDC Staff), Richard Hogan (USGS/NACo), Cliff Kottman (OGC), Millington Lockwood (Bathymetric SC), John Moeller (Chair), David Morehouse (DOE), Jan Morton (Geologic SC), David Painter (FGDC Staff), Rick Pearsall (Standards WG, Metadata WG), Michael Shean (NACo), Tom Usselman (MSC), Rick Yorczyk (Geodetic Control SC)

Information Items:

  • A 'Proposal for a Spatial Climate Subcommittee of FGDC' was distributed for members to review. We will discuss this proposal at the May meeting.

  • Department of Health and Human Services are interested in becoming an FGDC member. A formal invitation to join is being sent to Sec. Donna Shalala.

  • The Mapping Science Committee will meet April 16. There is still a chance to get items on the agenda. If you are interest, contact Tom Usselman.

  • Don Buhler attended an ASCM meeting and he distributed a FIG (International Surveyors Federation) questionnaire relating to ISO standards. The questionnaire has to be returned by March 31. If you did not attend the meeting but are interested in seeing the questionnaire, contact Kim Burns-Braidlow for a copy.

GeoData Forum Update:
Preliminary Program was distributed and softcopy is available on the web. www.fgdc.gov/99Forum/ John Moeller said the Forum is shaping up to be an important event to broadening participation. Structure of forum includes: June 7 - opening plenaries with invitations to speak sent to: Vice President Gore, Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Congressman Paul Kanjorski, Governor Christine Todd Whitman (NJ), and Dee Hock, CEO of VISA. Mr. Moeller remarked that Dee Hock has pulled together desperate organizations and should provide interesting insights. June 8 consists of 7 breakout threads intended to bring current and new topics together to spawn discussions for the following days policy roundtable meeting. Congressional hearing will follow on the hill - theme will tie in to livability. John requested the Coordination Group get key policy people within their organizations to participate.

Kathy Covert said Lance McKee is leading a team putting together a multi-media presentation. Mr. McKee is seeking footage from those who have developed application demonstrations. Ms. Covert remarked that a number of agencies have sent inquiries about setting up exhibits. She said that due to space limitations there will not be exhibits, however, there will be limited space to display literature. Only 500 people will be registered for the Forum so register early. Mr. Moeller said there are discussion of having a live Internet feed of the meeting.

It was suggested that at the May meeting the 7 Forum threads have a representative give a synopsis of what will be discussed during their session. The Secretariat's office will try to arrange these presentations.

    Action: Kathy Covert and Kim Burns-Braidlow will attempt to arrange Forum thread synopsis's for the May Coordination Group meeting.

NARA's Role within FGDC and NSDI:
National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) Steering Committee representative, Ken Thibodeau, provided an overview of NARA's activities. Mr. Thibodeau stated that they are charter members of the FGDC because of their commitment to long-term data preservation and data sharing and standards. Due to the nature of their mission, they are in it for the long haul. He said that data sharing is at the heart of NARA. The NARA receive data from many agencies in many formats and make that data available to the public. Mr. Thibodeau said that Census, for example, has transferred a large volume of geospatial data. However, some organizations are not scheduled to transfer their data "until the fall of the Republic". The NARA take the data agencies produce and keep it in tact. Mr. Thibodeau shared some of the issues they face on a regular basis, including providing access to data produced with outdated technology without having to actually keep the old equipment for viewing purposes. Standards help them do their job in delivering yesterday's data to today's customers. Mr. Thibodeau remarked that many of NARA's most important customers have not been born yet. One Research and Development project NARA is working on is with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a testbed project to solve the problem of keeping the data alive through data migration and media refreshment and transformation. Geospatial data will be used for part of the test. NARA plans on including a test of the SDTS in the project. The results of the testbed project will hopefully be available at the end of calendar year. Interest was expressed in seeing the results of this project. It was suggested that a presentation could be made to the Coordination Group when the results were available. Don Buhler, BLM, asked if NARA works with imaging or scanning of images? Mr. Thibodeau said that NARA has an "Electronic Access" project which is scanning and mounting to a server between 100,000 to 200,000 images on the web. They take multiple perspectives of imagery. He said that DOD (w/Lockheed) studied 3 kinds of scanned images - personnel records, technical manuals, declassification documents. A workshop conference was just completed and the reports/recommendations will on the web soon. A question was asked as to what was the preferred medium and Mr. Thibodeau's response was NARA currently uses 3480 class magnetic tape, but expects to migrate to 3950 class in the future on technical advice from the National Media Laboratory.

Historical Working Group Report:
It was noted that the number of Historical group's meetings have declined and Bruce Ambacher, chair of the Historical Working Group, reported that outside participation in the working group is dwindling. He said this is probably because in the long term perspective, agencies are still in data production rather than archiving. Mr. Ambacher said the group is trying to work with others to get an estimate of the cost of storing data. Mr. Ambacher stated that Federal regulations require the agency records office to review their records on an annual basis. He questioned what ever happened to the idea of representatives of the FGDC secretariat staff meeting with agency Steering Committee and Coordination Group 'representatives to receive the sermon which would include discussing the role the agency plays in the NSDI and discussing how the agency can have more latitude in the FGDC. John Moeller said the Secretariat would like to see these meetings happen and asked that the agency's Coordination Group representative initiate these meetings.

    Action: Agency Coordination Group representative take lead on sitting up meeting.

In commenting on NARA's proposed role with C/FIP, Mr. Ambacher indicated that NARA would use the majority of its funds to educate state/local records managers on what is GIS, and where there are mixed jurisdictions, where's the best place to store data. Alan Gaines suggested Bruce and his group work with the Global Change Data Management Working Group DMWG - they've sponsored workshops dealing with archiving issues.

    Action: Alan Gaines will build link between DMWG and the Historical Working Group.

Standards Update:
Rick Pearsall distributed status of standards and a hard copy of his presentation material. Mr. Pearsall's update included status of standards, requests for funds to develop standards, activities of ensuring standards comply with Y2K, Standards Working Group participation by NSGIC and NACo representatives, standards harmonization activities, and a request for a meeting coordinator for the 11th ISO TC211 Plenary to be held on September 2000 in Reston, Virginia.

Mr. Pearsall emphasized the last topic, remarking that the FGDC has an opportunity to receive international recognition in acting as meeting coordinator for the ISO meeting. He felt that this position should be more than FGDC staff representation, but rather an FGDC member agency or a combination of agencies should take advantage of this opportunity to become involved. He estimates that this activity would take .2 FTE and would involve building web site information, working with local hotels, and putting information packets together. Mr. Pearsall said within the next month he needs to notify L1 of any volunteers. Next L1 meeting is June 10th. Mr. Moeller said this was an opportunity we should take advantage of and he would like to have agency participation. The question was raised where the .2 FTE would perform the work. Mr. Moeller said the .2 FTE could stay physically located where they currently are and could coordinate with FGDC staff via email and a telephone. No volunteers came forward at today's meeting. Anyone interested contact Rick Pearsall.

    Action: Rick Pearsall will take the to identify the .2 FTE.

Framework Focus Group Update:
John Moeller reported that the group had been meeting over the last 2 years but had not met recently. It was recommended at the retreat that the group reconvene, which it did on March 24. The minutes of that meeting were distributed.

John discussed the highlights of that meeting. There was an interest and agreement that the Framework Survey be kept alive. A need for a Framework data model was discussed whick would help better define Framework. Nothing was decided but Mr. Moeller said it was discussed at length. It was also suggested at that meeting that the blue book be updated. John also said the minutes of that meeting report the group would be terminated but that's not really correct. Rather, the group would convene on an as needed basis. John would like to see the group convene to keep the survey alive and pursue the development of a framework data model. The group has had difficulty, as most have, in identifying a consistent overall business plan. Concern at the 24th meeting was the need for program decision makers be active in discussions. How can we better coordinate framework activities? Lots of framework ideas were discussed but much work needs to be done to put together a consistent business plan. David Painter said there was agreement that framework activities need to be raised to a higher level. Mr. Pearsall said that the Standards Working Group is attempting to move framework standards forward, but without the Framework focus group to give guidance where does he go to get clarifications, etc.?

Richard Hogan, working with NACo, report that the current Framework definition does not work well at their level. It's not easy to take federal concepts to the local level. Richard discussed the need to model framework. How does it work, how does it relate to standards, partners, etc. He's talked to modeler at NIST with experience in this area. Richard thinks FGDC could buy his time in an effort to attack the framework issue. Alan Gaines said there is a parallel effort underway with Digital Earth. Rather than doing this in duplicate, it must be done consistently. Kurt Buehler has been the principal architect for the Digital Earth Reference Model, http://digitalearth.qsfc.nasa.gov/RM/ - Alan suggested he brief the Coordination Group on his work. Mr. Hogan asked Cliff Kottman if that model is sufficient for NSDI. Cliff said said these concepts are overlapping. Alan Gaines stated that these efforts have to link together. By incorporating the ISO reference model it specifies there are a variety of view points, depending on where you're coming from and Kurt has added a contextual layer - political, user, etc. That drops to the enterprise view point, feeding the various layers. NSDI component would be just that, a component.

    Action: Eric Goods & David Painter reconvene framework focus group to discuss modeling processes that could be used by have different presentations on various modeling - Kurt Buehler, Kevin Backe, Chris from NIST should attend.

Mr. Gaines reported that the next Interagency Digital Earth meeting is April 30 and this group is informal at the moment. If anyone is interested in attending, Kevin Backe is the contact. At last meeting, Kevin gave a presentation on the web mapping testbed. Mr. Moeller said that Tom Kalil (WH) liked the idea and is encouraging agencies to provide funding support for this initiative.

1999 Cooperative Agreements Program status:
David Painter presented the status of the 1999 Cooperative Agreements Program. Mr. Painter said the 1999 program is capitalizing on the Framework Survey. The focus of the funding program was changed to place emphasis on metadata and clearinghouse activities of framework data categories. There was discussion when Mr. Painter said that because of the number of proposals and that the requested amounts far exceeded the 1999 budgeted funds, FGDC staff was considering using FY2000 funds to augment the 1999 proposals. A few Coordination Group members remarked that the idea of using next year's money was troublesome. Some cautioned to leave the FY2000 funds. Marilyn Bufford commented that she didn't put a proposal together this year because they weren't ready - hoping to apply next year. Mr. Moeller added that he is concerned with using 2000 funds. Mr. Gaines added that you use lose flexibility by mortgaging next year's money. No decision was reached however.

Task Groups:
With only a few minutes remaining in the meeting, Mr. Moeller briefly stated that these groups are important and we need to move forward on these topics which have also been identified by our stakeholders as important issues. He urged tasked leaders to continue to work on these actions. John will ask Norm Gunderson to take a look at the cross-cut budget issue. He added that CFIP needs to be priority for 2001. Mr. Moeller asked members to push for CFIP within their agencies.

    Action: Kim Burns-Braidlow will send a reminder to leads of the tasks groups to continue pursuing progress.

Long-Term Coordinated Budget Strategy:
Ran out of time - did not address.

Next Coordination Group Meeting:
May 4, 1999 from 9:00 - 12:00
US Army Corps of Engineers
Pulaski Building, 8th Floor, Room 8222D
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

2 blocks North of Union Station