October 2007 Coordination Group minutes



Action Items from Last Month – Alison Dishman, FGDC



FGDC Business Update – Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC

We need to sunset the Geospatial Line of Business (LoB) Task Force (TF) and transition responsibilities into the CG governance structure.  

Lynn Scarlett will issue a memo to the SAOGIs regarding the transition activities.  We must revisit the membership – we will suggest that the SAOGIs identify their CG reps and alternates to smooth the transition.  The memo will say we need their support to have agency participation in the working groups as well. 

The LoB Program Management Office (PMO) has been stood up and will help us begin the tasks identified in the Common Solutions document.  The contract was awarded to Grant Thornton LLP, the cost of the contract is lower than we’d projected.  We are pleased about that.  The TF will talk about partner costs since the contract is lower cost – we can make adjustments to the Joint Business Case. 

Thanks to review committee for helping to make this decision.  The key is to work through transition to maintain momentum and do work from Common Solutions doc.  John Mahoney and Roxanne Lamb have been working with Grant Thornton.  They are also developing a draft Performance Management Plan – its deadline is sometime after end of October.

We have had lots of suggestions about speeding up the process maintain the Joint Business Case (JBC) schedule.  Near term workgroups are focusing on accelerating this and the PMO putting together a performance management plan.

Comment:  At the Steering Committee meeting we should inform the SAOGIs that we want to move into the transition phase as quickly as we can.  Want to make sure the leadership is on board and understands what we are doing.

Q:  Will the Thursday TF meeting decide to draft memo to the SAOGI regarding designating their agency CG reps?
A:  Yes, we want to have that in writing to have a record for that recommendation.  

We need federal participation in the workgroups.  The PMO is there to help us but we are the ones that are going to conduct the work.  We need to see other faces at the workgroups – need broader thinking through other participation – need to share the workload so people aren’t burdened and can attend to their other responsibilities. 

Q:  Are we going back to the JBC tasks and subtasks to come up with new cost estimate – do the agencies get a rebate?
A:  We want to reflect the cost savings in lower agency contributions.  But the joint licenses and services discussion should be made before we make the decision.  The JBC team will look at the numbers and come up with options for the others on TF to consider.  It will develop a series of options and then recommendations can be made to deal with costs. 

Q:  The cost savings on the PMO contract – what is the percent below the contract’s estimated cost?  If they say they can conduct these tasks at that level, we need to make sure that we cost this out appropriately.
A:  We costed out the previous tasks but not the rebaselined tasks.  That is why we need to look at current JBC tasks – we don’t want to come up short on funds.

Q:  Has Grant Thornton been asked to revise their cost estimate based on the new JBC?  Are they waiting for the working group to refine those tasks before they respond?
A:  We are still talking to them.  We have fewer tasks in this year’s JBC are fewer than last year’s.  We expect that the cost would still be smaller than what we projected and we were probably on the high side anyway.  We want to get this right -- that is why we are meeting on Thursday.  We have made conscientious decisions on making this as real as possible.  Want to build what we learned over the past year into the process.


CAP Update – Gita Urban-Mathieux, FGDC 

The 2008 NSDI CAP grants are making their way through the signature process.  We still need the USGS director’s signature.  We will send the CG a message when they are posted on grants.gov.  The upcoming Spatially Speaking will have a short article about the FY07 CAP accomplishments. 

Some FY 07 CAP accomplishments include:

  • 27 workshops – trained 400 individuals
  • VA Tech developed online metadata training program
  • 8 NSDI clearinghouses were developed 

Comment:  At the NSGIC meeting last week there was an information sharing session on the 50 States Initiative.  It was well attended – a room full at 7:30 at night.  The folks getting the grants are taking it seriously and making it a success – the $50K grant was enough to make a difference in the process – it was the right way to go.  All the states that hired a facilitator or contractor to help them liked the templates that were developed.  It was a real successful partnership between NSGIC and FGDC.  The state liaisons assisted the states with these plans.  The plans have value for federal partners – and we need to take a look at them as they mature.  

The 50 States Initiative gives us a more effective way to coordinate with the states and across the federal sector – lots of resources feds can access with fair price.  We want to build upon this investment – use the plans to build into the portfolio management process – need to take advantage of these investments. 


Annual Report Update – Milo Robinson, FGDC 

[Presentation] [draft survey] [draft graphics specs]

We are planning the FY07 Annual report.  Want to be strategic on how we use the annual report – want it to be well rounded and functional.  We might want a more robust approach for the annual report – convey our progress and realize the vision of the NSDI.   Had overwhelming info last year – might need to pare it down this year. 

Action:  CG members should contact Milo Robinson to participate on the Annual Report team (mrobinson@fgdc.gov).  

Action:  Please send your annual report topic suggestions to Milo Robinson (mrobinson@fgdc.gov). 

We were considering the focus of our 07 report to be climate change.  But it is politically sensitive.  We need to look at other themes that people can relate to easily.  Climate Change might not be the best topic for annual report. 

Comment:  Climate change is a sensitive issue with NWS and NOAA.  And agencies think about climate change in different ways. 

Comment:  Next year’s (FY08) Annual Report should focus on LoB accomplishments.  We should think proactively – when we plan for this year’s LoB we want to think about the FY08 Annual Report.  We want to align goals of 08 and the LoB goals.   Our biggest challenge will be implementing the new FGDC. 

Possible Topics for the 07 Annual Report:

  • CAP grant accomplishments
  • 50 states plan
  • Return on Investment
  • Strong partnership work
  • Portfolio management
  • Agency impact on climate change – information to mitigate climate change
  • Changing the way FGDC does business – how we want people to get involved
  • Accomplishments of the FGDC
  • Real time data and resources 

Action: OGC would like work with Gita Urban-Mathieux to build an article about the outcomes of the 50 states and other CAP grant success stories. 

07 Annual Report Focus:  FGDC Confronting Change.  This would set the stage for next year’s LoB accomplishments.  We can show what GOS has changed and how agency’s deal with change confrontation issues.  We can wordsmith, but “World is changing and confronting the challenges” could be the basic thrust. 

Comment:  But what you want to do is to market the FGDC – why is it pertinent in addressing these changes that are occurring.  Should be a strong marketing piece. 

We need to think about the purpose and the audience to make it an effect document.  We want this to be in demand, to give an understanding of what all the agencies – the entire governance structure is doing.  

Action:  Alison Dishman and Milo Robinson will revise the Annual Report survey and send it out for CG review and comments.  We will discuss the final draft survey at the November 6 FGDC Coordination Group meeting.  

Comments on 08 goals:

  • Goals should equate to the workload – new tasks for PMO are going to require substantial federal commitment
  • Common Solution tech arch is the blueprint for the FGDC
  • Goals should align with CSTA – governance, standards, data – resource commitment
  • 08 Goals should be really clearly aligned with LoB tasks 

Comment:  Need to be careful – LoB is focused on getting federal act together – doesn’t subsume all the work the FGDC needs to do – not everything is going to be in JBC.  Not everything under the FGDC is LoB -- the FACA isn’t technically under the LoB. 

Response:  The LoB will complement what the FGDC is already doing. 

PMO and LoB are addressing needs that weren’t being addressed by FGDC.  We shouldn’t look at the LoB as driving the entire FGDC agenda, but does have to align and work with the rest of the program. 

Bill Burgess:  One of the 08 goals should be creating a good communications plan so partners can understand what the LoB will do when it is put in motion.  

Action:  The LoB TF will discuss the 08 FGDC goals.  The LoB should include a communications component.   

The annual report writing activities begin in December and we will request CG member participation on the writing team.  We would like to get the annual report published earlier than last year’s.  Our 06 report wasn’t published until June 07.  


Google Earth Update, Tony LaVoi, NOAA


Only 2 agencies have enterprise license agreements with Google Earth – NGA and NASA.  

Others are in the process of purchasing options – DOI and EPA. 

NOAA got 85% discount from GSA for volume purchase. 

Right now almost all fed agencies looking at Google earth technologies – all on low end of adoptions.  If we work collectively we could develop a federal model to increase efficiency – all feds could get the same deal, end license user agreements etc. 

In LoB there was a task to expand Smart Buy – looking at shared licensing across the board.  Need to get requirements across the government for low, medium and high clients – could consolidate to manage licenses. 

The TF will address this issue, Tony LaVoi will lead the discussion.  Google Earth technology is being adopted now.  If we wait another year or two we will be in a situation with agencies having different modes of adoption and it would make it too difficult to implement. 

Comment: Google Earth’s success will not be a threat to the National Map.  It is the data behind the interface.  We should look at it as an opportunity.  It isn’t in Google’s business model to replace the data generation activities of agencies but it is a great opportunity for them to show our data in an accessible, intuitive way. 

Comment:  Should we approach Microsoft Virtual Earth?  EPA is looking at the Microsoft, Google offerings – getting short term agreements signed with vendors to look at them – looking at everything at this point. 

Both Google Earth and Virtual Earth have different niches and strengths – might want to consider doing an assessment and not limiting ourselves with only one. 


FACA Update - John Mahoney, USGS

The FACA has been sent downtown to the Secretary of the Interior’s office, we are pushing to have those decisions made by Oct 24 Steering Cmte meeting. 

There will be federal participation on the FACA.


Comment:  When we revise Circular A-16 we should include the 50 States Plan and the Federal Portfolio Management plans – we need to know how to manage our portfolios.