February 15, 2007 FGDC Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

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Tom Weimer, Chair: 

The Geospatial Line of Business was formally released in the President’s 2008 budget.  Thank you for your participation and support on the LoB task force.  The Steering Committee’s ongoing leadership and guidance will be critical to the success of this activity as we move into the implementation phase. 

Karen Evans, Vice-Chair: 

The Geospatial Line of Business requirements were included in both the House and Senate versions of the Continuing Resolution.  OMB’s notification report on the E-Gov initiatives was passed to Congress on February 2 and has been provided to the oversight committees, appropriations committee and subcommittees.  The Geospatial LoB is listed in Section 938 and is detailed as a planned investment strategy.  

Agencies without notification requirements in last year’s appropriations bill should begin implementing the LoB, provided an operating plan is in place.  We need to include this information in your agencies’ operating plans.  It is reflected in your 08 congressional justifications.  From a budgetary standpoint we should not have any issues.  Your agencies already signed off on these activities before the proposed plans went to the Hill. 


Implementation of the Geospatial Line of Business – Ivan DeLoatch, Geo LoB Managing Partner and FGDC Staff Director  


After the Joint Business Case for the Geospatial Line of Business was submitted to OMB in September the task force work groups continued to lay the groundwork in preparation for the February 5 launching of the President’s budget.   

Geo LoB Implementation:

  • Initiate and complete the BDR process & analysis – include qualitative web-based survey
  • Complete the MOU and IA process
  • Complete the PMO Con Ops
  • Organize A-16 reporting task (Passback requirement)
  • Establish the PMO
  • Complete Transition activities
  • Organize the new Workgroups
  • Develop LoB Performance Management Strategy and Plan
  • Develop FY 09 Joint Business Case 

OMB 2007 Budget Passback Language Guidance

  • Define a common set of investment definitions by December 30, 2006.
  • Agencies should update and report to OMB by March 30, 2007, their inventories of geospatial data and systems – the Budget Data Request
  • NSDI data theme steward agencies, as identified in OMB Circular A-16, should also provide a status and planned development baseline for each of the 34 A-16 datasets, including establishment of target dates, costs, and tasks for completing each dataset. (milestone TBD)
  • Agencies should continue to support the development of the Geo LoB in FY07 and FY08 at the funding levels described in the Joint business Case.   

Program Management Milestones:        

  • Execute MOUs/Interagency Agreements – need MOU Contact -- Jan 2007, all MOUs must be in place by March 30
  • Final copy of FY 08 Geospatial JBC (Exhibit 300) submitted to OMB -- Jan 16, 2007
  • FY 08 Geospatial JBC (Exhibit 300) made public – redacted version -- Feb 20 2007
  • PMO Support Contract Award -- late Feb/March
  • Begin FY09 Geospatial LoB JBC (Exhibit 300) Development -- Feb/March, 2007
  • PMO Operations Begin -- April/May, 2007  -- will focus on performance management and investment planning

Q:  How will data layers not traditionally maintained by the government (like cadastral and roads) be handled?
A:  BLM manages the cadastral data theme.  It will be up to the data theme lead listed in OMB Circular A-16 to determine the best approach. 

Q:  Is the consolidated template for the BDR now available?
A:  Yes, BDR Dat set validation went to all of the LoB Task Force members on Feb 13, with their comments due by Feb 19.  I’d like to thank EPA for providing us with the first iteration.  The template will be revised and sent to the SAOGIs for review in the next week or two.

Q:  Your BDR slide suggests a focus on archival services.  What do you have in mind – how would that play out?
A:  Archiving is important – we will look to the agencies with that mission responsibility to provide us with guidance on how to orchestrate the archival process.  


Establishing the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (FACA) – John Mahoney, DOI / USGS 

[presentation] [charter draft] [implementation schedule] [draft call for nominations]

In 2005 the Future Directions Governance Team developed a report of recommendations to the FGDC Steering Committee.  A key recommendation in the report was the establishment of a national coordination group to allow non fed stakeholders a voice in the decision-making process. 

At our October FGDC Steering Committee meeting we held an advisory vote regarding moving forward with the FACA. 

October Vote tally:

  • 19 in favor
  • 4 against – wanted more information and details
  • 6 did not respond  

The draft FACA charter was reviewed by the FGDC Coordination Group and stakeholders in December and their comments helped clarify approaches in the committee.    

General theme of the FACA comments: 

  • Must achieve a balanced membership between public and private sector and also geographically
  • Concern with ethics language -- the charter follows a generic format used by DOI for FACA documents 
  • Would organizations that receive federal funding be restricted from membership?  The answer is no – there are no restrictions unless a member (not the organization they represent) has a direct interest in the decision being made.  In that case they would recuse themselves.
  • There were also concerns regarding federal members serving on the FACA.  However DOI committee management strongly recommends including at least one or two federal members at the table to give perspective on federal rules and regulations. 

The Future Directions Governance Committee developed membership recommendations – and we followed that approach in the charter -- including state, county and regional governments, as well as city and municipal governments, tribal governments, the private sector, and academia. 

Q:  Is there some reason the charter proposes federal voting members as opposed to non-voting?  They could represent the federal government without having voting status.
A:  The sentiment from DOI FACA committee management was that a FACA should have federal representation but it can be voting or non-voting.  Federal members can have non-voting status on the FACA if there is a strong sentiment in that direction. 

Q:  The charter should better define how county membership will be determined. Are you considering the size and geographical location of the counties?
A:  We would look to NACo to nominate the appropriate mix to represent their membership. 

It will be a challenge to identify 20 – 25 representatives -- we still have room to make changes and improvements to the documents as we move on. 

Comment:  The ethics clause in the guidelines needs a clear explanation of what is going on with the nonFed agencies and associations – what is permitted and what is not. 

Action 1:  John Mahoney will speak with Ed Wells (URISA) about clarity needed in the FACA Charter’s ethics clause. 

Q:  Is there a connection between the FACA and the evolving relationship of the Coordination Group to the FGDC Secretariat?
A:  The Coordination Group will be federal only and the FACA will consist of stakeholders.  The timing is tricky -- we want to maintain communication with stakeholders. 

Comment:  If FGDC continues to operate as body of federal officials – the FACA should only have participation from nonFeds or we aren’t accomplishing the governance goal we set out with in the Future Directions report.  Also, the charter has the different levels of government broken down but not the different parts of the private sector.  We need to know the number of private sector individuals that will be included in the committee. 

Action 2:  John Palatiello (MAPPS) will provide comments to John Mahoney regarding the breakdown of private sector membership in the FACA charter. 

Comment:  You have increased subjectivity on how you select FACA participants but the mission isn’t tightly defined.  Will it address data, technical, and infrastructure issues?  Or will it be used as a means to address governing functions – such as increasing efficiency and effectiveness of data calls that are so expensive and difficult to interpret?  Please address the committee’s governing function and intergovernmental membership.  

Response:  The charter is meant as a brief overview of the committee’s primary responsibility – the committee itself would then establish the bylaws and provide information on the committee’s function.  The DOI solicitor’s office recommended against having specific numbers in the FACA charter.  If you have specific numbers and someone resigns, then you could be in jeopardy of being out of the scope of your charter.  That is why we took the numbers out of the draft charter but the general approach is to stick closely to recommendations of intergovernmental Future Directions group. 

Comment:  Academia has both research and workforce development issues.  Different sectors of academia address different issues.  What do you want out of the academic community?  We don’t want the academic member to be a wild card choice. 

Action 3:  Alan Falconer (UCGIS) will speak to John Mahoney about academia’s representation on the FACA. 

Q:  New council – how will the FGDC subcommittees and working groups continue to function?  Will there be similar groups supporting the new structure?
A:  The existing subcommittees and working groups will continue to function as they are.  A benefit of the new committee is that it could establish subcommittees to address specific issues. 

Q:  Will non feds continue to be involved in the working groups?
A:  The FGDC Subcommittee and Coordination Group membership will be fed only.  But other working groups without policy or budgetary discussions can have broader participation.  The FACA will decide which subcommittees they want to put in place.  The current FGDC subcommittees and working groups shouldn’t be changing until we see the issues the FACA would like addressed. 

Tom Weimer:  This has been a good discussion.  There are still issues to be addressed.  The Secretary of the Interior will not approve the charter until he has the nominations for membership.  Please provide John Mahoney will additional input on the draft charter. 

The charter, by law, must be updated every two years.  You will also have an opportunity to include lessons learned in subsequent versions of the charter. 

Action 4:  Please provide John Mahoney (jmahoney@usgs.gov) with your comments and any additional information to be included in the FACA charter. 


FGDC Business Update – Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC Staff Director 

[presentation] [sc and wg reports received]

2007 Goals: 

Imagery for the Nation is the first pilot cross-government collaborative activity to support the goals of the LoB.   We will coordinate IFTN with the BDR – dovetail with the LoB work.  It will be a great opportunity to use this data layer to show how we can do this work intergovernmentally. 

Comment:  IFTN should be a task within the LoB because their goals are so closely aligned. 

Action 5:  Ivan DeLoatch will follow up regarding including IFTN as a task within the LoB. 

Action 6:  The executive oversight committee will reconvene to determine its role in the LoB.   

Comment:  Are you aware of the workplan being developed for the national LIDAR initiative?  Will you be integrating these initiatives?  You don’t want to have nonproductive competition.  

Response:  Yes, it is critical for data stewards to have responsibility of the data layers in the LoB – we haven’t reached out yet because the LoB wasn’t formalized until last month.  The information exchange component is critical – it makes sense to take advantage of the work that has already been done. 

The 50 States Initiative will play into the LoB – we are making investments in the state and county governments.  We will consider further investment opportunities.   The ROI and outreach material is being developed to supplement the business and strategic plan templates.