January 2008 FGDC Coordination Group Meeting Minutes

[Attendees] [ Agenda]

Summary of Actions:

  • Action 1:  Please send in graphics that correspond to the success stories you submitted for the Annual Report.
  • Action 2: Margaret Heber will talk to Bob Pierce (USGS) about The National Map tactical plan.
  • Action 3: Coordination Group members should identify program managers from their agencies to participate in LoB focus groups. Please send the names of your proposed agency participants to David Paschance at  (David.Paschane@va.gov), by Monday 1/28.
  • Action 4: Toni Lavoi will report back to the CG on the status of the Google license.

Welcome and Introductions – Doug Nebert, FGDC

Annual Report Update – Pat Phillips, FGDC

Pat thanked those that had submitted their annual reports and said this is the last call for them to be included in the published version of the Annual Report.  She encouraged those that had not contributed, to do so, and noted that the Agencies that had not submitted were mainly those that did not have active representation at the Coordination Group level. Also, only one status graphic was received to date.

Action 1:  Please send in graphics that correspond to the success stories you submitted for the Annual Report.

The writing teams will start up in January and anyone interested in volunteering for the writing team please let Pat know.

Q. What type of graphic are you looking for?

A. Two types of graphics are needed:   interesting graphics and pictures that help to support your Agencies successes and graphics and charts that relate to activities regarding OMB Circular A-16.

Cooperative Agreement Program Update - Gita Urban-Mathieux, FGDC

46 CAP proposals have been received for the FY 2008 solicitation. A formal announcement will go out in March announcing up to 26 awarded projects. The website Grants.gov had technical problems this year and things did not go as smoothly as anticipated.  All grant proposal reviewers have been chosen.  The 50 states initiative will be the first grant to be announced.

Q. How many of the 50 states initiative will be awarded?

A. Up to ten projects will be awarded and the announcement of awards will be in February, and the rest of the CAP grants will be awarded later that month. The Partnerships Office and the CAP have both granted funds for the 50 States Initiative so including the 2008 awards  over 35 States will have been funded.

Progress on Wetlands Inventory Mapping Standard – Margarete Heber, EPA

Margarete Heber chairs the Wetland Standard Mapping workgroup. The Federal Register Wetland Standard notice closed for comment in November 2007.

  • 21 organization submitted comments, one was a University
  • American Farm Bureau – completely misunderstood the standard according to their comments
  • There were180 standard comments-100 standard appendences
  • One consistently standard comment was that there must be a more refined scale.
  • Next steps- finish the comment response document and respond to all groups who provided comments

Action 2: Margaret Heber will talk to Bob Pierce (USGS) about The National Map tactical plan.

The wetlands maps are all electronic and available to everyone.  We continue to coordinate with NOAA – the wetland mapping standard is seamless with NOAA’s mapping. We will come back to the Coordination Group in April after guidance from Julie Binder Maitra regarding the implementation plan.

Jan 29 Steering Committee Update – Doug Nebert , FGDC

The next FGDC Steering Committee meeting will be held on January 29, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the American Institute of Architects building, in Washington D.C.   Karen Evans and Jim Cason will chair. The agenda will be out soon.

Geospatial Line of Business and FACA update – John Mahoney, USGS


FACA update:
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne approved and signed all documentation to create the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) in late December 2007.

The NGAC Federal Register notice was posted January 11 for a 15 day comment period that ends Monday, January 28. The Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior will issue a press release announcing the NGAC membership after the comment period ends.  NGAC membership will be announced at the 1/29 Steering Committee meeting. The NGAC will include 28 members – 14 from non-governmental organizations and 14 from governmental organizations.  An interagency review panel evaluated the nominations for committee membership and made recommendations to the Office of the Secretary of Interior for final selection.

Q. Are the FACA members’ names listed in the federal register notice and how different is the member list from what was recommended by the review panel?
A. The names are not in the federal register notice.  The appointee list is very similar to the review panel recommendations.

Q. When will the first NGAC meeting take place?
A. Initial NGAC meetings are not yet scheduled, but are anticipated in Spring 2008.

Q. Will the Steering Committee vote on the NGAC membership?
A. The Secretary of the Interior has made the final selections for membership based on the interagency review panel recommendations.

Q. How will the NGAC affect the Steering Committee – will Steering Committee meetings be closed to non-feds?
A. The goal is to continue to be as open as possible.  The subject of a meeting will determine whether it is public or closed.

Geospatial Line of Business  Update
LoB working groups and working group Chairs have really done a great job in organizing the tasks.  Work plans were distributed last week. Please go over the comments and next steps.

  • Revised work plans are due January 18.
  • The next steps master plan is due January 22.
  • The performance measure plan is due January 23.
  • Management plans will be briefed to the Steering Committee meeting on January 29.

Action 3: Coordination Group members should identify program managers from their agencies to participate in LoB focus groups.  Please send the names of your proposed agency participants to David Paschance at  (David.Paschane@va.gov)

Statement: Wendy Blake-Coleman’s group will send out their work group proposals today.   Thanks everyone in the group for their participation. The LoB quick place site will be up soon. (Note: QuickPlace established, 1/17)

Statement: The University of Texas, LBJ School is doing a LoB research project. If you are contacted by the University, please try to participate in their research survey.

Q.The QuickPlace site, will it have restricted access or available to all?

A. Only LoB project members will have access the site, it will be password protected.

A-16 Data Theme Gaps for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense Presentation– Mike (Zeke) Lee, USGS/DHS

[ Presentation]

There is a long standing action item to make recommendations to the Steering Committee regarding data gaps and Circular A-16.

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive -7 established a national policy for Federal Agencies to identify mapping responsibilities.

13 of 17 themes are incomplete and lack NSDI data themes, why? The Homeland Security data layers continue to grow. There are over 300 layers at this point.

Statement:  I am delighted in all the work and it fits into particular working group. There are about 5, 6 gaps groups and it would be good to invite them to see how we can harmonize – the data life cycle working group.

Statement: What we need is the basic information you’ve identified, there isn’t a list of datasets that belong to the themes.  There are two approaches –try to integrate at a level of integration – you’ve done it at a theme level. Another approach at a specific theme level, try to do it early like a pilot.  Broad thematic level or more detail.

Statement: There is a need to inventory the critical infrastructure.

About 2 or 3 weeks ago we briefed the Intelligence Senior Representative, John Sagent, a Mitre Contractor. We will touch base with the National Geospatial Agency and Department of Homeland Security about their standards perspective.

Q. Because I don’t have a clearance I can’t get my hands on critical infrastructure data. How are people getting engaged in this, by using some type of unclassified data?

A. Feature data are 95.5 % features on the landscape and are not classified.

Q. Off-the shelf authoritative source, for dams we used FERC data, it did not come from DHS. Why is data considered off the shelf?

A. The dam layer comes from Corps of Engineers; there is no clear statement of what authoritative data is or even what is available out there.

Statement: The Forest Service and the US Department of Agriculture own dam layers.

Statement: Dams is a case-in-point that illustrates varying scope of requirement and authority -- FGDC is interested in all types of dams and DHS is interested only in certain types of dams (that relate to critical infrastructure issues). Likewise there are different inventories of dams in the US collected for different purposes – all being potentially authoritative.

Q:  What is your thinking about your proposal for having DHS being theme lead? Could interpret A-16 guidance, what are all the potential sources?

Statement: You can’t restrict data because the data could be available from other sources. We need guidelines for this and need to execute those guidelines. Example: if you choose the hydrograhy layer, USGS could coordinate this, they have the hydrography lead. The National Hydrologic Dataset (NHD) includes data from the National Dams Registration.

Q. The Mineral Management Service is looking at the critical infrastructure list and it it all looks land based. Are you considering anything offshore?

A.  The Coast Guard is doing offshore collection.

Statement: Life cycle feature group will become the harmonizer to agree on an approach. The first step is to decide on an approach and then to develop a plan for conceptual development and then develop a plan for these, whatever the layer is.

Q. Is there a communications theme?

A. Information technology and communication is on the last slide.

Geospatial One-Stop Demo – Rob Dollison, USGS / GOS

[Please see the presentation for the update on GOS enhancements]

The presentation stressed the responsibility of Federal Agencies as part of their MOU with GOS as data ‘Community Stewards’ to feature the best available data sources in their A-16 theme.  The Oceans & Coasts Community was shown as an example of current best practice of using a community on GOS.  If you are not an expert on ocean and coastal data themes you can easily find out about the best GIS data resources and ongoing coordinating activities in the Community.

Discussed the potential of featuring communities on the home page as an important NSDI and data theme outreach mechanism.  Example – Earth Science Information Partnership group experienced a 5X increase in activity on their web pages when their GOS Community was featured on the GOS home page.

The presence and accessibility of resources (data and map services) in GOS is a refection of the health of our NSDI.   Demonstrated ongoing efforts to integrate a map service status indicator and diagnostic report into GOS.  Help improve the quality of the linkages between our live map services and its metadata.

Suggestion: Contact The National Map staff to utilize back-up services connections.  Rob stated that National Map staff are part of the live service counseling team helping to trouble shoot problem map service linkages and improve this feature in GOS.

New search interface enhancements and the ability to launch live map services onto Google Earth and ArcGIS Explorer globes directly from their metadata record were demonstrated.  The GOS search utilizes both a Google text component and the geography coordinates contained in the collection and visualizes the spatial extent of the first results on the area of interest map.

With respect to the potential use of Google Earth to view data on a globe:

Q. Doesn’t Google Earth require a license for government use?

A.  This is still being researched and currently interpreted differently by each agency.   Work is being done on getting a government enterprise wide ‘smart-buy’ license.  To launch a service onto a globe from GOS, it requires the user to have that particular globe software on their machine.  A user can launch the service onto globe that supports the appropriate format.   A Web Map Service (WMS) can currently be launched  from GOS on to either Google Earth or ArcGIS Explorer if installed on the users machine.  In the future we would also like to be able to support launching on NASA WorldWind.

 Q. USGS has a negotiated agreement with Google, what is the status of Google license across the board?

Action 4: Toni Lavoi will report back to the CG on the status of the Google license.

Survey of Framework – University of Wyoming – Steve Prager and  Jeffery Hammerlink


The University of Wyoming conducted an FGDC framework and metadata survey.

The survey was comprised of 41 questions and 141 people responded. 83 responses were received from the United States and the rest were received from the International community.

Note: On a general level, metadata are viewed as more important than SDI, NSDI and GSDI. The academic community seemed to have a greater familiarity with framework than does government or business. The FGDC site in general has too many pages to read and comprehend describing framework. They suggest that the site be consolidated so that it is easier for others (including youngsters) to understand.

Statement: Your survey is very valuable and interesting; however, Agriculture’s state cooperative supports all the land grant colleges and they would be interested in knowing where the respondents to your survey were physically located. Applied sciences supplies ESRI software to the research community, we would like to know where the respondents are located.

The location of resources is also important to the NSGIC 50 States Initiative.

Statement: I’d like to see this wrapped up in GoS. There is a need to see how to use resources in GoS, this is where you really make this survey real... This is the grammar for making maps – maybe we should work this in with ESRI when they are developing curriculum.

The 4-H now has GPS and GIS as part of the curriculum and it has also been extended to girl and boy scouts.

The UWY has several outreach initiatives for grade schools. Google Earth does not have any metadata!

Suggestion for outreach: Get broader visibility at ESRI’s User Conference; promote SDI outreach and education into Dangermond’s ESRI-UC plenary session talk. Also, find where others are presenting at AAG and NCGE.  Characterize it as the geography of language- GIS for the nation through education.  Get in touch with the K-12 people at ESRI Eleanor Worker in Denver. There is an on-line NSDI curriculum.

Comment: This research was designed and specially geared towards practitioners and higher education. We were trying to see the gap and how to teach undergrads and graduate students. If someone would like to take this a step further and expand this, you are welcome to.


The next Coordination Group meeting will be held on February 5, 2008.

The Cadastral Working group will meet on 1/30-31 at the US Bureau of the Census in Suitland, Maryland. The group may also meet at the Department of the Interior the following day. For more information go to the FGDC cadastral website and down load agenda and register www.fgdc.gov

For Service Level Agreement information, contact Mathew Lethius from Grant Thornton about what licenses can/should be used. (202) 566-1709