June 7, 2005 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary

Action 1: Subcommittee and working group chairs: please submit your updated subcommittee and working group charters and work plans to Alison Dishman (adishman@fgdc.gov) by August 1.

Action 2: Col. Cullis will provide Rob Dollison with information on the DISDI.

Action 3: Coordination Group members should review FGDC Policy on Recognition of Non-Federally Authored Geographic Information Standards and Specifications, read it closely – and we will discuss at the July 12 Coordination Group meeting on how to go proceed. Alison will send out a digital copy for your review. Please send any comments to Julie Binder Maitra (jmaitra@fgdc.gov) and Leslie Armstrong (larmstrong@fgdc.gov).

Action 4: Julie Binder Maitra will look at the archives on FGDC Policy on Recognition of Non-Federally Authored Geographic Information Standards and Specifications and send the information to the appropriate members.

Host: Michael Sherman, NCPC

Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC
Leslie Armstrong, FGDC
Alison Dishman, FGDC
Shane Dettman, NCPC
Brenda Smith, EPA
Tony LaVoi, NOAA
Randy Fusaro, Census
Ron Birk, NASA
George Percivall, OGC
Richard Ullman, NASA
Eddie Pickle, IONIC Enterprise
Myra Bambacus, NASA
Brian Cullis, OSD
Lee R. Warren, NGA
Nancy Blyler, USACE
Carol Brandt, USDOT
Dennis Crow, USDA
Milo Robinson, FGDC
Doug Vandegraft, DOI/FWS
Hank Garie, NGPO
Shirley Hall, USDA-FSA
Rob Dollison, GOS
Ann Frazier, NRC
Chuck Croner, DHHS/CDC
Anne O’Connor, Census
Ashley Talley, FERC
Monica DeAngelo, FERC
Tricia Gibbons, LEAD Alliance
Patricia Weir, NASA
Steven Johnson, Booz Allen Hamilton
David Painter, FGDC
Kevin Neimond, NACo-IAGT
Bill Wilen, FWS
Bill Burgess, NSGIC
John Mahoney, USGS
Mario Lopez-Gomez, DOJ/FGDC
Betsy Kanalley, USFS

On the phone:
Alan Voss, TVA
Barb White, FWS
David Duran

Action Items – Leslie Armstrong, FGDC

Action 1: Subcommittee and working group chairs: please submit your updated subcommittee and working group charters and work plans to Alison Dishman (adishman@fgdc.gov) by August 1.

John Mahoney, Alison Dishman, and Tricia Gibbons are developing charters for the FGDC Steering Committee and Coordination Group. These two charters will be discussed at the July 12 Coordination Group meeting.

Mario Lopez-Gomez (DOJ) is on a 4 month detail with the FGDC Secretariat this summer. Mario will be working on updating the annual report questions. Mario may be contacting you to for suggestions on how the report should be altered. He will also be working on performance measures for the FGDC.

The Federal Geospatial Grants Workshop will be held on June 13 and 14 near the Courthouse Metro Station. For more information please contact Arista Salimi (asalimi@usgs.gov). The grants workshop will deal with contract language and offer guidance on how to comply with recent OMB directives related to Federal grants, and how to align with the Federal Enterprise Architecture and Geospatial Profile.

Upcoming Steering Committee Meeting – Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC

The Steering Committee meeting will be held on June 23. Alison will distribute the PowerPoint presentations for you to use when prebriefing your steering committee member. Alison will also send the 50 States and Governance one pagers which list the decisions to be made.

The Steering Committee meeting will start with a State of the FGDC briefing by Ivan. There are good news stories that we have to tell about this year’s accomplishments which include: completing the Framework Standards, Homeland Security Working Group data access policy, FEA Geospatial Architecture Overlay, international work on architecture, strengthening the relationship with States through the 50 States Initiative, and other Future Directions accomplishments.

If you have anything else you’d like Ivan to mention in the State of the FGDC briefing – please send to Ivan (ideloatch@fgdc.gov) so he can build it into the discussion.

Next on the agenda will be Future Directions. The presentations will highlight the work we’ve done in the governance arena and on the 50 States Initiative, as well as the ROI business case and other activities.

Bill Burgess will present on the 50 States Initiative and how it will unify the Federal approach towards working with the States.

Alan Voss and Dennis Goreham will present on the Governance activities. There will be short term recommendations focused on improving our current processes as a working body, which will give the Steering Committee members an opportunity to make decisions on the work the FGDC does.

Karen Siderelis will give the overview on the National Geospatial Programs Office and the work it does leveraging the work of the Geospatial One-Stop, The National Map, and the FGDC Secretariat.

Last on the agenda will be a presentation on the Geodata.gov 2 Portal -- to show the new functionality of the portal.

The meeting will be chaired by Lynn Scarlett, who has been nominated to serve as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior, and Karen Evans, OMB.

National and International Perspectives on Earth Observations: 10-Year Plans for IEOS & GEOSS - Ron Birk, NASA

International and national coordination is needed for our distributed Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Today we have robust systems that create geospatial information – 73 spacecraft are making observations of the earth today. But it’s a challenge to make all the resulting data interoperable. Without directed effort many of those systems will not be sustained, and it is recognized that we need a focused effort to bring the political will together to maintain these systems. The challenge is that the total capability requires the resources of many countries across the world – no one country could sustain the GEOSS, it needs to be done by the entire community.

Earth observation is extremely important for economic, environmental and homeland security. In 2003, Earth Observation Summit I brought together 34 countries that declared their commitment to build a system of systems with full and open access to data that would be integrated into comprehensive solutions. In 2004, Earth Observation Summit II brought together 43 nations. Earth Observation Summit III, held this past February in Belgium, included 60 Nations.

FGDC Staff Director, Ivan DeLoatch, was one of four members on the writing team which created the 10-year implementation plan adopted by all of the countries at the third summit. The GEO 10-Year Implementation Plan can be viewed at: http://earthobservations.org/docs/GEOSS%2010-Year%20Implementation%20Plan%20(GEO%201000).pdf

The baseline of the plan is societal benefit areas enabled by science and technology. The plan recognizes the challenges of data management and integration. We have a tremendous amount of geospatial data. In many cases information collected in certain parts of the world are not shared with the rest of the world – such as tide data that could be used to predict tsunamis.

Other challenges:
o Eroding technical infrastructure
o Large spatial and temporal gaps and areas of duplication
o Uncertainty over continuity of observations
o Less than optimal levels of user involvement
o How to prioritize – which road to take
o Varying levels of maturity across benefit areas and disciplines

The administration’s national science and technology council has given strong support to this plan. A working group on earth observations was stood up as a Subcommittee at the National Science and Technology Council. Three cabinet secretaries have recently lauded the importance of Earth Observations activities in their business needs.

The USGEO is interested on our work here at FGDC and in coordinating USGEO, FGDC, and GOS. There is an invitation for discussions with the FGDC.

The goal for this activity in the US is to create an integrated capacity to design solutions for integration of our systems to answer environmental and societal needs.

IEOS Near Term Opportunities
a. Data Management System for Earth Observations
b. Improved observations for disaster warnings
c. Global land observation system
d. Sea level observation system
e. National integrated drought information system
f. Air quality assessment and forecast system

The invitation is open now for your review and contribution to these plans (near term opportunities). These will be done using the Federal Enterprise Architecture construct. This gives us a way to take a diverse community and give them a common construct.

For more information:

Intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations http://earthobservations.org

U.S. Group on Earth Observations http://iwgeo.ssc.nasa.gov

Q: In this new structure – we are concerned with reduction of number of space craft. As we lose a sensor will this organizational structure help us migrate to a new platform and give us mission continuity?
A: It was recognized at the national leadership level that we needed to ensure continuity. This approach allows us a venue for communicating individual capabilities for societal benefits. It allows for an entire community to be able to evaluate what currently exists and what needs to be supported. It allows for a systematic approach to identify alternatives when it is not possible to get support for a particular activity.

There is concern about a gap between Landsat 5 and 7 – so there is a Landsat study team working on that gap right now. We should be able to do this systematically as a matter of course from now on.

Q: A public meeting for USGEO was a few weeks ago. What is the next opportunity for folks to review and make comments to your plan?
A: The core of the plan (the architecture and tables) is being communicated to OSTP and OMB – that process is open to the community at large for input. There will be an opportunity for public comment by August.

IEOS carbon presentation (PowerPoint)

Geospatial Interoperability ROI Study Results – Myra Bambacus, NASA and Steven Johnson, Booz Allen Hamilton

NASA recently embarked on a Return on Investment Study on Geospatial Interoperability. NASA has 30 satellites that collect many terabytes of data. NASA is interested in open interfaces and accessing data for decision support services.

“Geospatial Interoperability (GI) Return on Investment (ROI) Study Report", April 2005 (pdf file) is posted at http://gio.gsfc.nasa.gov/

The purpose of this project was to examine the role of geospatial standards and specifications in fostering interoperability during a 6 month reporting period by comparing 2 projects – one that used consensus-based interface standards for a 5 year lifecycle and one that did not. The measurement framework was established using the Value Measuring Methodology (VMM) 4-step process – Step 1 (value and risk structure, cost structure, risk profile), Step 2 (analyze the alternatives), Step 3 (pull the info together), Step 4 (final report and recommendations). The objective was to define a value framework based up the five value factors – direct user, social, financial, operational/foundational and strategic/political.

Results: The project that adopted geospatial interoperability standards resulted in $1.00 invested netting a $1.19 in savings in operations and maintenance compared to projects not based on open standards. This resulted in savings of 26.2 % compared to projects not implementing standards.

Standards lower the lifecycle costs. Initial costs for standards-based projects were higher but standards lower the lifecycle costs (maintenance and operations costs). It can be anticipated for future projects utilizing open standards that planning costs would be significantly reduced once open standards and specs have been adopted.

The 2 projects that were compared are both national in scope and have been in existence for over 5 years, both with similar budgets (~$7 million). They were in two entirely different agencies and in two different applications areas. NASA told Booze Allen to get as close as they could to apples to apples and then put certain assumptions in place to make them more equal.

• The role of government in the standards and specifications process is to educate the larger geospatial community. The government and standards development organizations should take active measures to increase the rate of participation in standards activities by a greater cross-section of geospatial agencies, particularly at a sub-federal level.

• Use standards developed by local, state and regional governments as building blocks for national standards.

• The government should work with standards development organizations to increase efforts to educate the community about the practice of creating standards profiles. Speed adoption and uptake of standards. Increase capability to respond to national needs.

The Geospatial Interoperability Reference Model (GIRM) is the only one of its kind. We need to build upon the GIRM as an outreach tool at the sub-federal level (outreach materials to State and local governments).

Q: When will this be publicly available? http://gio.gsfc.nasa.gov/
A: It will be posted on the website later this week.

Q: Is the GIRM accessible at the same website as the report results.
A: Yes, and it will also be at the FGDC Geospatial Applications and Interoperability (GAI) Working Group website.

Q: Did you do qualitative comparisons between the 2 groups?
A: Yes, many of the benefits were qualitative. That was why there were 5 different measurements to the results system.

Comment: It is important that you say we should build on State and local building blocks – work with their existing standards. GAO has said that FGDC should reach out and be inclusive – especially at State and local levels.

Response: Semantic interoperability is going to be very expensive to achieve. Since States and local governments have already established a business need and a vocabulary, this is money saved.

Q: Are there any examples of features or communities that are involved in the semantics of development?
A: Western Governors Association, and the States of Washington and Oregon have developed a hydrographic model, and North Carolina has an NC 1 map where they are integrating local data at the state level. NSGIC and GIST would be the organizations that have their fingers on the pulse.

URISA’s address standard is a good example of this – a great opportunity to build a standard from the ground up. It will have buy in and it is win-win for everybody.

Open interfaces are achieved by putting the investment up front. The interoperability specifications are increasingly important to push geography and location based services to mobile phones etc. The specifications are integral – they make the technology understandable to a large group of users.

o NASA GI ROI study presentation (PowerPoint)
o BAH FGDC presentation (PowerPoint)

Geospatial One-Stop Cost Savings Reporting – Hank Garie, NGPO and Rob Dollison, GOS

GOS has received requests from OMB. About a month ago OMB put out a couple calls for information that went to Federal Partner Agencies – one challenging you to discuss how you were aligning your programmatic resources to GOS and another one where OMB asked GOS to get information on cost savings for Federal Partner agencies in partnering with GOS.

Alignment –
1. Identify all grant programs that are related to geospatial information and post the grant announcements in Grants.gov identifying them as geospatial-related grants
2. Coordinate the activities of grant programs related to geospatial information through GOS.
3. Post all planned geospatial data acquisition in geodata.gov within 90 days of receiving your Agency Budget Appropriations
4. Participate in the portal – post metadata, participate in development of Geospatial Enterprise Architecture, liaisons coordination, system integration

Cost savings/Avoidance – OMB is looking for cost savings and cost avoidance opportunities. Questions have been asked about how Federal agencies have been investing dollars in the geospatial arena. OMB wants to be able to articulate where the dollars are being expended. Hank will use it as an opportunity to highlight success stories of savings through Agency partnerships and the NSDI.

This was a short timeframe and Hank appreciates the agencies that responded to the survey.

Comment: The reason for standing up the DISDI was the revised 2000 OMB Circular A-16 and the E-Gov act of 2002. It was to save money on geospatial investments.

Action 2: Col. Cullis will provide Rob Dollison with information on the DISDI.

Q: Do partnerships that don’t involve data but involve software and education count? And if they haven’t gone through GOS do they count?
A: We should define the partnerships broadly. But a year ago when we were being questioned it was “How are the Federal agencies spending their money and how do we know it was being invested wisely?” There is also the question of societal values and geospatial data helping mission programs be more effective. For example: HUD uses geospatial info to guide a nationwide housing program. We should move towards performance measures that quantify.

Comment: Geographic management systems will explode the value of what you are doing – if you could make that case.

GOS CWG cost savings presentation (PowerPoint)

Future Directions Update – Milo Robinson

Milo presented the slides that will be used in Ivan’s Steering Committee briefing regarding the status of the Future Directions activity.

The Coordination Group reviewed the Governance Report and will forward the report’s recommendations to the Steering Committee. At the Steering Committee we will present those recommendations for their decision to move forward with them.

The Census Bureau opposes the governance model based on the comments they have already provided on aspects of the governance model. Census believes the FGDC should be concerned with Federal coordination…. period. The governance model appears to be agency-centric to one particular agency.

USDA – given the transition of USDA Steering Committee membership going to the USDA CIO, he hasn’t been briefed on the governance report yet.

Agencies should look at the governance report in its component piece level – and identify what they like and don’t like. Many elements are critical to get moving on – there are attractive short term recommendations that would improve the work we do as the Federal Geographic Data Committee.

Q: Will the Steering Committee members vote on this?
A: Yes. We would ask the Steering Committee to accept the short term recommendations as provided and then consider the National Geospatial Coordination Council.

Comment: The Steering Committee could ask the FGDC staff to work up more detailed implementation steps for the longer term issues like the implementation of the Geospatial Coordinating Council.

Response: We probably won’t be able to do that at this meeting. We will try to hold the next Steering Committee meeting soon and then will provide direction on how to move forward on this model provided by the action team.

Results of Surveys – Needed National Standards - Leslie Armstrong, FGDC

NSDI Survey Results – Standards of high value in completing next:
The top ten:
Buildings and Facilities
Geographic Names
Earth Cover
Flood Hazards
Watershed Boundaries
Cultural and Demographic Statistics
Federal Land Ownership Status

We will have to look at level of interest before we decide which standards to move forward on. This is just the initial survey – we will have to do more planning before we determine which the highest priority is. Buildings and Facilities standard already exists under USACE – we might just need to make some changes to that one.

Non-Federally Authored Geographic Information Standards and Specifications – Leslie Armstrong, FGDC

FGDC Policy on Recognition of Non-Federally Authored Geographic Information Standards and Specifications would allow us to review standards put out by other organizations and either endorse or make a recommendation.

Geospatial Interoperability Reference Model (GIRM) was a collective interagency activity under the GAI – John Evans was the editor of the GIRM and it would cover a lot of recommendations in the policy.

Q: Does FGDC need to have a process to review all the standards out there? Or does your agency’s participation on another standards body give you that kind of review already?

Comment: FGDC Policy on Recognition of Non-Federally Authored Geographic Information Standards and Specifications is needed for EPA – there are a lot of environmental standards being discussed. It would be helpful to have them be referred back to a policy as concise as this.

The Buildings and Facilities standards were processed through ANSI – and it would be redundant to run it through the FGDC process again. It would be beneficial for FGDC to use this.

Comment: There are some hard costs with getting access to some of the ANSI standards – this could be a road block for States and locals to get access – they need immediate free access.

Response: USACE got around this by publishing through both ANSI and public domain. Also - OGC specs are freely available on the OGC website even when they are double branded through ISO.

This policy would be beneficial – reduce redundancy and all the time and effort to put together FGDC standards.

Vegetation Subcommittee is also facing the same problem. They wanted to adopt the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) standard for classification and they got held up. They don’t want to be locked into an ESA standard but also don’t want to go through the whole FGDC standard process. This policy would help them.

There seems to be resounding support for this policy.

NASA comment – in regard to OGC, FGDC sits on the OGC strategic planning and technical committee. It is recommended that if someone is in that position and is already voting in regards to the OGC specifications that there be dialogue with FGDC membership. We should try to get as much benefit out of that strategic liaison membership role.

Q: Should we remove OGC from this document?

Does the FGDC as a decision making body recognize that a member of the FGDC Secretariat is making a decision on their behalf while sitting on the OGC technical committee? We are going to have to make that call. Responsibilities go with that strategic role – with the member coming forward to brief the Coordination Group before voting.

There were some other issues with this proposal besides just the OGC issue. What is the timeframe turnaround?

Action 3: Coordination Group members should review FGDC Policy on Recognition of Non-Federally Authored Geographic Information Standards and Specifications, read it closely – and we will discuss at the July 12 Coordination Group meeting on how to go proceed. Alison will send out a digital copy for your review. Please send any comments to Julie Binder Maitra (jmaitra@fgdc.gov) and Leslie Armstrong (larmstrong@fgdc.gov).

Action 4: Julie Binder Maitra will look at the archives on FGDC Policy on Recognition of Non-Federally Authored Geographic Information Standards and Specifications and send the information to the appropriate members.