April 4, 2000 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Site: Room 505, NARA, 8th & Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC


Moeller, John FGDC
Croner, Chuck NCHS/CDC
Shovlin, Margarette EPA
Ambacher, Bruce NARA
Blyer, Nancy USACE
Yorczyk, Rick NOAA/FGCS
Diamond, Howard NOAA/NESDIS
Ryan, Katie LOC
Jancaitis, Jim USGS/NMD
Morehouse, David DOE
Morton, Janet USGS
Spear, Bruce DOT
Worley, Ray EPA
Keller, Mark EPA/DynCorp
Maitra, Julie FGDC
Broome, Fred Census
Backe, Kevin USACE
Miles, M.K. USACE
Donnelly, Jay USGS
Hendricks, Bracken NPR
Moskerintz, Holly NACo
Egan, Dennis USCG

Information Items:

  • Fred Broome, Census, requested that all participants complete their 2000 Census forms and encourage all they know to do so.
  • The OGC technical management committee is meeting this week at ESRI which has become a full member of OGC.

National Atlas Update
Jay Donnelly, USGS, welcomed the opportunity to bring the group up to date on the creation of the National Atlas, second edition, which was begun in 1997. It will replace the 1960's 800+ plate printed atlas.

The Atlas is designed to convey the characteristics of the United States through GIS layers. Its web site has been operational since 1998. The site emphasizes electronic products, largely through links to data layers maintained by the creating agencies, with full attribution to that agency. The Atlas currently posts hundreds of data layers from 16 agencies. The most recent new addition is the National Cancer Institute.

The structure allows users to query the data, view the results and print their own custom maps. All data in the Atlas complies with the FGDC Content Standard for metadata. The Atlas provides a template to agencies to assist them in creating compliant metadata.

Technical features include screen controls that allow users to zoom in/out, to customize the legend, and to see related text of national location reference maps. Throughout the data query and display process, help screens are available. The Atlas staff has ensured that all layers are reliable and overlay exactly. They also have provided background information and tutorials. Within the next month the Atlas will be migrated to more powerful, faster hardware and software to improve response time and display. One improvement will allow use of the ARC internet map server. Another will place the OGC wrapper, compliant to OGC standards, around all data.

Users currently can obtain data through FTP at no charge. Custom made CDs are available on a cost recovery basis. Current user interest is in obtaining better resolution , finer scale data. The Atlas web site currently logs over 2.4 million "hits" a month which equals about 60,000 unique users utilizing multiple layers from the more than 1300 linked sites.

Geologic Map Symbolization Standard
Jan Morton, USGS, presented a brief overview of the standard as the first FGDC symbology or data presentation standard. She acknowledged the dedicated staff work of Karen Linquest and David Sollar in developing the standard. The standard has been in process since 1996 and has been presented to various review groups and national meetings prior to be presented to the FGDC Standards WG in 2000. If approved, the standard's public review phase will be announced in publications including GSA Today, AAPG Explorer and GEOTimes. It also will be available electronically. The committee will print only 300 full color copies of the standard due to the cost.

The standard addresses map symbols, aerial patterns and suggested map colors for specific features. It also addresses geologic age fonts and marginalia symbols. The implementation version is a USGS Open File Report to facilitate distribution.

Questions and comments included concerns about the size of the electronic file and the long five hour download time. John Moeller agreed to have the FGDC create one CD for each member agency to facilitate distribution and review. Kevin Backe also expressed a concern that the standard lacks a transition to geospatial display.

    Decision: The Coordination Group approved the standard for public review for a 120 day period.

    Action Item: The Geologic Subcommittee will initiate the public comment period and work with the Standard WG to coordinate the adjudication of responses.

Hydrographic Data Content Standard
Kevin Backe, USACE, described this standard as an effort to coordinate the different hydrographic standards for sharing in the federal government and outside. It will provide links, and crosswalks between other standards and permit users to continue using internal standards and provide a common catalog of feature terms and definitions, semantic consistency, and data exchange. He noted that the standard also is being processed as a potential ANSI standard and is being "harmonized" with IHO S57 standard. The URL for examining the standard is He indicated that symbology will be incorporated in a later revision.

    Decision: The Coordination Group approved the standard for public review for a 90 day period.

    Action Item: The Subcommittee will initiate the public comment period and work with the Standard WG to coordinate the adjudication of responses.

Informational Overview of USACE efforts to bring Spatial Data Standards for Facilities, Infrastructure and Environment to ANSI
Kevin Backe, USACE, provided an overview of current efforts to rework the Tri-Services Data Standard into an ANSI standard - Spatial Data Standard for Facilities, Infrastructure and Environment. The contents of the standard have been widely adopted and provide a practical tool for implementation in a variety of venues. He noted that several FGDC standards are referenced and incorporated into this standard. He also stressed that this standard focuses on life cycle management of data. The standard currently is usable in a CAD or GIS environment. USACE is working on making it work in an object environment. The standard is very large and is designed so that it can be downloaded in customizable subsets which display those aspects required for a specific application. USACE has been incorporating all updates in annual releases. The ANSI meeting on April 26, 2000, will consider moving on the standard as a possible national standard.

    Action Item: The FGDC Standards WG will consider whether it is appropriate to make the standard an FGDC standard.

Steering Committee Follow Up John Moeller, FGDC,
Design Study Team: The Team presented an overview of its work to the Steering Committee on March 9, 2000. The Design Study Team met on March 31, 2000, to begin preparing its recommendations. It will convene the review group in mid to late April. The Team results will be major topic at the next Coordination Group meeting. The results will be presented to the next Steering Committee meeting in the late May-early June timeframe.

C/FIP and C/FIP-like initiatives: USDA and USGS have C/FIP proposals in their FY 2001 budget submissions. The Steering Committee voted to have member agencies prepare listing of their NSDI partnerships and other initiatives, grants, cooperative agreements, and other funds which are available to the public. A few agencies provided examples for distribution and indicated the collection effort was not onerous. FGDC will issue a formal request in late summer for submission and distribution in January 2001.

    Action Item: Agencies with appropriate initiatives should determine the most efficient ways to fulfill this forthcoming request.

FGDC Portal: The FGDC web site and electronic delivery capabilities are under study to determine the best ways to enhance the web site and provide better links to FGDC member agencies and programs. The portal will provide additional information on funding opportunities, educational opportunities, and services and data availability. It will significantly expand the services available through the FGDC.

National Response Center, Captain Dennis Egan, USCG.
Since 1974 the NRC has operated as the single point of contact for manmade or natural environmental releases. There have been more than 500,000 incidents and notifications. The Center coordinates releases of information drawing from multiple federal agencies and other sources to provide real time information to the on federal site coordinator. It coordinates area response plans that are part of a national disaster planing system. When a national disaster is proclaimed the affected state is responsible for 25% of all costs incurred in responding to that disaster, although violators may be charged for the costs if the entity has sufficient resources. Funds also can be drawn from the EPA Super Fund and the National Pollution Fund. Over the past quarter century the Center has broadened its focus to include counter terrorism, spills, weapons of mass destruction and explosives as well as incidents involving pipelines and transit.

NRC will conduct three national tests on May 3, 2000, to stress the systems and identify weak points and the "fixes" required to improve the national system.

NRC utilizes a combination of web databases, e-mail, fax, hotlines, secure voice, data, video, and teleconferencing to respond to incidents and coordinate both the federal and state or local responses. The responses have been hampered by technical limitations of bandwidth, proprietary softwares, and "stovepipe" data systems. The center looks to GIS as one useful tool in future responses. Other include supercomputer resources, area response plans, and test bed research at Virginia Tech in cooperation with SAIC and FEMA.

The center web site is www.nrc.uscg.mil.

During the question and answer period, members raised issues of overlap between the NRC program and other federal programs. There will be some follow up focusing on NRC, FEMA, EPA, NOAA, and DOMS to ensure better coordination and data integration and to "map" appropriate FGDC roles to assist in future responses.

Library of Congress Inquiry:
Katie Ryan, LOC, asked member agencies providing geospatial data to the Library of Congress to identify appropriate staff in those agencies that can provide appropriate metadata or identify which geospatial data has metadata. This will facilitate their understanding and processing of the data.

Next Meeting:
May 2, 2000 from 9:00 - 12:00
US Army Corps of Engineers
Pulaski Building, 8th Floor, Room 8124C
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

2 blocks North of Union Station