January 2006 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

FGDC Steering Committee Meeting Summary
January 30, 2006


Chair:  Lynn Scarlett, DOI
Co-Chair:  Karen Evans, OMB

Federal Members:
Office of Management and Budget – Stacie Boyd
Department of Agriculture – Dennis Crow for Chris Niedermayer
Department of Commerce – Tony LaVoi for Margaret Davidson (NOAA)
Department of Energy – Guy Caruso
Department of Health and Human Services – Charles M. Croner
Department of Homeland Security – Daniel Cotter
Department of Housing and Urban Development – Jon Sperling
Department of the Interior – Tom Weimer, Scott Cameron, Karen Siderelis, Jason Peltier, Suzanne Acar, Michael Howell
Department of Justice – Bill Burdett for Ronald Wilson
Department of Transportation – Mary Hutzler
Environmental Protection Agency – Brenda Smith
Library of Congress – John Hebert
National Aeronautics and Space Administration – Myra Bambacus for Ronald Birk
National Archives and Records Administration – Nancy Allard
National Science Foundation – Thomas Spence for Margaret Leinen
Tennessee Valley Authority – Alan Voss

Other Organizations:
American Congress on Surveying and Mapping – Rebecca Sommers
Association of American Geographers – Ivan Cheung
Geospatial Information & Technology Association – Robert Austin
National Association of Counties – Kevin Neimond for Randy Johnson
National States Geographic Information Council –Tony Spicci, Gene Trobia, Stu Davis, Bill Burgess
Open Geospatial Consortium – Mark E. Reichardt
University Consortium for Geographic Information Science – Alan Falconer for Nina Lam
Urban and Regional Information Systems Association – Wendy Francis
Western Governors' Association – Dennis Goreham

FGDC Secretariat:
Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC
Leslie Armstrong, FGDC
Alison Dishman, FGDC
Bonnie Gallahan, FGDC
Alan Stevens, FGDC
Milo Robinson, FGDC
Billy Tolar, FGDC

Coordination Group and Others:
Leslie Wollack, USGS
Rob Dollison, GOS
John Mahoney, USGS
David Morehouse, DOE/EIA
Carol Brandt, USDOT/RITA
John Kochanowski, OSD/BEI – DISDI
David LaBranche, DOD/DISDI
Bob Harding, GSA
Ralph Crawford, USDA/USFS
Anne O’Connor, Census
Randy Fusaro, Census
Shirley Hall, USDA/FSA
George Rohaley, USDA/NRCS
Nancy Blyler, USACE
Michael Lee, DHS/GMO
Carol Giffin, USGS
Paul Rooney, DHS/FEMA
Joe Evjen, NOAA/NGS
Nora Rice, DOJ/OJP
Mario Lopez-Gomez, DOJ/CRT
Wendy Blake Coleman, EPA
K. Thirumalai, USDOT/RITA
John D’Alessandro, PBS GIO
Lisa Warnecke, GeoMgt Assts
Martha Lombard, URISA
Cindy Domenico, URISA
Ed Wells, URISA
Adam Thocher, AAG
Tricia Gibbons, LEAD Alliance
Pat Cummens, ESRI
Leron Dalby, AGO

Welcome and Introductions

Lynn Scarlett, Chair, welcomed the partcipants and commended the FGDC on the progress made on the Fifty States Initiative, the Geospatial Profile and the transmittal of the Framework Data Standards to ANSI-L1.  She stated that FGDC is critical in improving the acquisition and coordination of geospatial information. 

Karen Evans, Vice-chair, stated that she has taken to heart the recommendation that OMB needs a larger role in the Federal coordination of geospatial information.  She relayed that OMB is laying the groundwork to better coordinate the efforts of FGDC.

FGDC Business Update – Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC Staff Director

Ivan DeLoatch stated that the new FGDC website was being launched today and thanked member agencies for their input into the redesign.  He welcomed the American Association of Geographers, as the newest organization to join the FGDC. 

Ivan announced that the 2006 CAP program would close on February 1.  One of the CAP categories will support the 50 States initiative and the awardees will attend the NSGIC midyear conference.

The E-ballot for Recognition of Non Federal Standards was approved and the policy is now in place to consider standards developed outside the Federal sector.

He thanked the agencies that had submitted their input for the 2005 FGDC Annual Report – and requested that those that had not already done so to please take this opportunity to submit their inputs.  The resulting report will be organized, printed and submitted to OMB.

FGDC has completed the process on Framework Data Standards.  The standards are currently in INCITS L-1 process, undergoing a 30-day review.  Comments will then be adjudicated, the standards revised and submitted to ANSI for national approval.

Governance – Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC and Scott Cameron, DOI

The FGDC may need to utilize an incremental approach, with near term administrative changes along the way, before achieving the governance model recommended by the FGDC Future Directions Governance Team.   We believe that it is important for state and local partners to participate in our decision making, and critical for non-governmental sectors to participate.  Any assembly that gathers non-governmental agencies must adhere to FACA.  There is a process and procedure to go through that – and such a body has its challenges.  We need to explore whether a FACA or other intergovernmental body could further develop the work of the FGDC.

Scott Cameron:
Intergovernmental collaboration is a fast breaking topic of discussion inside the administration.  GOS had an intergovernmental board of directors – an 11-member board representing state, local and tribal government and geospatial organizations. It was very effective and valuable to bring that group together.  How can we capitalize on this intergovernmental board of directors model?  An intergovernmental group created to further the development of the NSDI will be supported by this administration. 

Karen Evans:
A policy memo coming from OMB could serve as a short-term step.  The memo, to be released in February, will request that agencies designate a senior official for geospatial information.  It’s time that Circular A-16 designates a specific person with clear and specific roles and responsibilities to represent and make contributions on behalf of their agency. 

The President’s budget will be released next Monday.  There will be prebriefs on Hill this week regarding E-Gov and highlighting an initiative that will deal specifically with geospatial information.  This effort will help to address the appropriate issues so decisions can be made in a timely manner.

Comments from non-federal members: 
We want to understand the issues and transition.  We like the idea of creating expanded representation and are interested in seeing how industry can be involved.

NSGIC is supportive of this effort and would like to be a partner in helping it move forward quickly. 

Scott Cameron:  What are the next steps to keep the ball rolling on this incremental approach?  The GOS Board was established simply.  One possible scenario might be that Lynn Scarlett or Secretary Norton prepares a letter of invitation to participate in yet to be titled NSDI Board.  Then one possibility might be amending the Executive Order for NSDI to recommend a framework with greater state and local participation.  We could also take a look at revising Circular A-16.  Imagery for the Nation would be the sort of topic might be a possible agenda item on the intergovernmental board.  We need more direct involvement of non-governmental organizations.  A FACA committee, although we haven’t developed that concept very thoroughly yet, would provide formality and regularity for the NSDI that might be useful. 

Comment:  Please allow non-feds to be part of the solution when you develop the best way to move forward.

Scarlett:  The FACA limits the ability of non-governmental entities to participate in government decisions.  This is why formal participation in some group is something we can’t do because it would require a FACA to do the FACA.  But please submit your ideas and convey your thoughts.

Q:  No one has discussed what this intergovernmental group would do.  Will there be any restrictions?

Cameron:  Legal contextual things – FACA doesn’t apply to discussions involving federal, state, local and tribal governments.  The appointments clause prohibits federal agencies to allow a non-federal party to bind them (control their decision making).  This intergovernmental board would be a forum to discuss common concerns to create consensus.

Scarlett:  The same limitation would apply to a FACA dealing with non-governmental participation.  Although their can be deliberation be considered when making common recommendations.

Evans:  Information sharing is relative to this body and the President’s Initiative on Health IT.  We as an administration have embraced efforts to agree how you will move forward on investments.  This board makes recommendations but the intent would be that you would intend to implement these recommendations that you are putting forward.  It has to be in a framework that is practical that your agency can implement – not pie in the sky.  Whatever governance structure we take – you need to implement these recommendations within your agency.

Geospatial Profile – Brenda Smith, EPA

Ivan DeLoatch and Brenda Smith were co-leads in the development of the Geospatial Profile for Enterprise Architecture.  This will provide a blueprint for data sharing and interoperability – and is supported by the FGDC and Federal CIO Council.

Brenda acknowledged the work of all individuals who participated in the development of this profile including Doug Nebert (FGDC Clearinghouse Coordinator) who was instrumental in the whole process.

For more information please view the PowerPoint presentation

The next phase of development for the Geospatial Profile is about validating its usefulness for geospatial efforts. 

Action:  If you would like to participate as a pilot project for the geospatial profile development  – please contact Brenda Smith (Smith.Brenda@epamail.epa.gov), Ivan DeLoatch (ideloatch@fgdc.gov) or Doug Nebert (ddnebert@fgdc.gov). 

FGDC Charters – John Mahoney

[One Pager] [Steering Committee Charter] [Coordination Group Charter]

Scarlett:  Since the June Steering Committee meeting the FGDC Steering Committee and Coordination Group charters were revised to enhance the role and function of FGDC and the role of Federal programs.  John will discuss these revisions and then we will vote.

John Mahoney:  The revised drafts were submitted and reviewed at October’s Steering Committee Meeting.  The final drafts were submitted for electronic vote – six in favor, one against – but we lacked a quorum.  Some last minute comments have been incorporated into the drafts.  (DOE requested language indicating that FGDC Steering Committee decisions should be consistent with Circular A-16; the solicitor’s office at DOI added language to say these were public meetings out of FACA concerns; and OMB requested language changes stating that FGDC didn’t have authority or oversight.) 

Evans:  A lot of these committees say they are making policy level decisions but they are really making policy recommendations that either the president accepts or not.  All these committees are set up the same way across the government – they make recommendations to director of OMB.

Guy Caruso: Karen’s comment assuages DOE’s concern that their CIO doesn’t have the central control of DOE’s geospatial activities or commitment of resources.

Decision:  There was a show of hands to approve the FGDC Steering Committee and Coordination Group charters.  All were in favor, none opposed.  A quorum present was present -- the charters were approved.

Imagery for the Nation – Shirley Hall and Bill Burgess

Shirley Hall, Chair of the National Digital Orthophotography Program (NDOP) and Bill Burgess, Washington Liaison for National States Geographic Information     Council (NSGIC) are co-chairs of this initiative. 

Please see attached flyer and presentation for more detail. 

Resolution:  The Imagery for the Nation Task Force recommends that the FGDC Steering Committee adopt and support implementation of the current Imagery for the Nation proposal as an innovative program that will provide orthoimagery to meet the Geospatial Information System needs of local, state, regional, tribal and federal agencies.  The program will limit overall costs, provide consistent product quality and standards, and reduce duplication of effort.  It requires two separate, but well coordinated acquisition initiatives that include a one-meter resolution imagery program for the entire country, and a higher resolution program over densely populated areas. The proposal advocates new federal funding with fiscal year 2008 line-item budget allocations.

Decision:  Approve further development of Imagery for the Nation. There was no action taken on the resolution.

Lynn Scarlett thanked Shirley Hall and Bill Burgess for their work on this collaborative process.  We should consider if we should establish a policy level steering group to look at a business and investment strategy to support this proposal. 

Comment:  MAPPS (representing the private sector) is in favor of this proposal.

Q:  Would imagery in the public domain have no limitations for use and reuse?
A:  Yes.  It would be available online and would be archived for later use.

Dennis Crow – Shirley and Bill did an incredible job in a short time.  USDA Steering Committee representative Chris Neidermayer has been briefed and is supportive of this initiative.

Q:  Why was GAO included on the taskfoce?
A:  There was a belief they would have something to bring to the table.

Scarlett:  There are some logistical issues regarding next steps that need to be discussed and refined.  It might not be appropriate to have GAO on a taskforce -- they have a particular function.  The Federal family will not be in the position to vote on a resolution on the FY08 budget.  An executive steering group charged by the FGDC could be created to review the business plan and the budgeting dimensions in order to recommend the next steps.  We can’t commit to dollars at this point but we need to get that executive group together to examine this issue.

Action:  Ivan DeLoatch is charged with organizing an Executive Steering Group to further develop an investment strategy for the Imagery for the Nation initiative.  If your agency or department is interested in participating on the group please contact Ivan (ideloatch@fgdc.gov).

Our next meeting will take place on April 17 from 2-4 pm.