June 2003 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

FGDC Steering Meeting Summary
June 6, 2003

Chair: J. Steven Griles, DOI
Co-Chair: Mark Forman, OMB

Action 1: If you would like to take part in the monthly intergovernmental teleconference hosted by GSA, please contact Lisa Nelson (202.208.2530 or lisa.nelson@gsa.gov) to be added to the mailing list for call-in instructions.

Action 2: In the next 4 to 8 months, the FGDC Staff Director will address FGDC future directions issues by hosting a planning workshop and establishing a validation group.

Action 3: From now until September 30, agencies with the lead in Geospatial One-Stop standards development should ensure that their employees involved in the standards efforts are free to complete their efforts.

Action 4: Milo Robinson will send out the table that was created from the USGS, FEMA, and Census geospatial investment data.

Welcome - J. Steven Griles, DOI & Mark Forman, OMB

Chair J. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary of the Interior, welcomed the Steering Committee and introduced Vice-Chair Mark Forman, OMB. The Deputy Secretary thanked the State, local, and private sector entities for their participation.

The Deputy Secretary congratulated Mark Forman on his appointment as OMB Administrator of E-Government and Information Technology, and stated that Forman’s title is an indicator of the Administration’s recognition of the importance of E-government. Geographic information is the key for local, State and Federal decision-making and the Federal government is working with the States and locals to make sure we are doing it right.

Mark Forman stated that everyone in the room is doing important work for their country. He mentioned the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office has created a Business Reference Model that identifies three business areas: services to citizens; support delivery of services; and internal operations and infrastructure (available at: http://www.feapmo.gov/feaBrm.htm). He wants to create a picture that shows where geospatial information is used. The CIO Council will examine the geospatial data that is available to them and then consolidate redundant spending and initiatives to provide leverage for initiatives like the Geospatial One Stop.

Mark Forman mentioned that Frank McDonough retired on June 1 from GSA’s Office of Intergovernmental Solutions. Mr. McDonough has worked with government IT for 23 years and has long espoused intergovernmental collaboration at all levels. GSA hosts monthly intergovernmental teleconferences on the 3rd Thursday of every month with participation from both State and local associations and IT officials.

Action 1: If you would like to take part in the monthly intergovernmental teleconference hosted by GSA, please contact Lisa Nelson (202.208.2530 or lisa.nelson@gsa.gov) to be added to the mailing list for call-in instructions.

Mark Forman mentioned a House Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and The Census hearing on Federal Geospatial Activities taking place on June 10 at which he, Scott Cameron and others would testify regarding the government’s use of geospatial data.

Geospatial Activities at DHS – Sue Kalweit, NIMA (detailed to DHS)

Sue Kalweit is a NIMA employee assigned to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is working with Ryan Cast in the Geospatial Management Office (GMO). Sue is the chief of the Interagency Geospatial Preparedness Team (IGPT) that will likely be merged into the DHS GMO. The GMO has inter-departmental personnel, as well as personnel from USGS, BLM, USFS, and NOAA. Steve Cooper, the DHS CIO, has three priorities: geospatial information, wireless technology, and first responders. The vision of the GMO is to spatially enable the business of homeland security; and the mission of the Office is to lead, direct, and manage the geospatial activities of the DHS as an enterprise asset. Geospatial capabilities are an enterprise issue and require an enterprise solution. Current initiatives for the Office include: a survey of existing geospatial capabilities in the DHS; incorporating the geospatial component to the DHS Enterprise Architecture Technical Reference Model; emergency management needs and capabilities assessment (originally an IGPT activity); and coordination between DisasterManagement.gov and Geospatial One-Stop.

Q: Who is involved in the emergency management needs and capabilities assessment?
A: The IGPT wants the emergency managers and responders, those with geospatial expertise, State coordinators, and the CIO office to all be sitting at the same table. To enable this the GMO is hosting in this Fiscal Year, three workshops in different locations - east coast, center of the country, and west coast - to allow for more diverse participation and to touch all regions.

[ PowerPoint 422KB ]

Future Directions of the NSDI – Ivan DeLoatch, Acting FGDC Staff Director

In October 2002, Ivan DeLoatch came from the EPA to serve as the Acting FGDC Staff Director. In the past year, there have been discussions regarding the history of the FGDC and the directions the FGDC should be pursuing now. These discussions give us an opportunity to evaluate where we are. The drivers for the future directions activity include: the revised OMB Circular A-16; the E-Gov Act of 2002-Section 216 (regarding geospatial information); and stakeholder concerns regarding the various Federal geospatial initiatives. Future directions activities to date include identifying interested participants from the Federal government and stakeholder groups. A focus group of senior managers and advisors met during two facilitated sessions occurred in April and June 2003, and facilitated sessions with stakeholder groups occurred at the March 2003 NSGIC Midyear Meeting and the May 2003 URISA Summit to Promote National Data Partnerships and Collaboration. It is possible that the FGDC may need to be restructured to become more effective. The FGDC needs to focus on improving coordination, communicating with stakeholders, implementing the revised OMB Circular A-16 for greater accountability, maximizing funding opportunities, and leveraging Geospatial One-Stop activities and the Homeland Security business case. In a 4 to 8 month timeframe the FGDC will address these future directions issues. The FGDC will host a planning workshop to develop a future directions project plan and products, and will also establish a validation group of senior managers to provide feedback.

Action 2: In the next 4 to 8 months, the FGDC Staff Director will address FGDC future directions issues by hosting a planning workshop and establishing a validation group.

[ PowerPoint 950KB ]

Geospatial One-Stop
– Scott Cameron, DOI & Hank Garie, GOS

Scott Cameron is the DOI Deputy Assistant Secretary for Performance and Budget and is the Managing Partner for the Geospatial One-Stop. He introduced Hank Garie, the new Executive Director of the Geospatial One-Stop. Hank Garie has 20 years of GIS experience and ran the New Jersey State GIS Program prior to coming to his new position about 6 months ago.

Scott Cameron stated that there has been an intense effort to fully involve the State, local and tribal governments into the Geospatial One-Stop development process because they have 2/3 of the data and we need to ensure that we are serving their interests and needs. Mr. Cameron requested that in the next 3 months those in senior level agency positions please allow their employees involved in the Geospatial One-Stop standards development to have the required time to complete their efforts. Steve Cooper (DHS CIO) has requested that the 7 Framework Standards be available in the draft form by September 30, and we need to ensure this happens.

Action 3: From now until September 30, agencies with the lead in Geospatial One-Stop standards development should ensure that their employees involved in the standards efforts are free to complete their efforts.

The most challenging module of the Geospatial One-Stop has been the posting of planned Federal data acquisitions. The FY05 passback language will state that agencies must post data buys in the Geospatial One Stop portal. FGDC Steering Committee Chair and Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Steve Griles, wrote a letter to the President’s Management Council regarding the need for agencies to report their geospatial data buys. The letter was effective, and the President has informed the Deputy Secretaries that they will be responsible for this reporting.

Scott Cameron concluded his remarks by noting a decision made by the Geospatial One Stop Board of Directors at the June 4 meeting to move forward with a Portal implementation strategy. The Geospatial One Stop Portal will launched at an OMB planned event scheduled for June 30, 2003.

Hank Garie, Executive Director of the Geospatial One-Stop, stated that we should all convey the same statement regarding this initiative: “The purpose of the Geospatial One-Stop is to make it easier, faster and less expensive for all levels of government and the public to access geospatial information.” It is important to convey the Geospatial One-Stop’s role in supporting the business of government and decision-making. We need to develop standards to make it easier and faster to use and exchange data. The portal will be an Internet-based way to access data (including inventories of existing and planned data acquisitions). This project is a National initiative – not just a Federal initiative. The project is built by partnerships across the Federal government, with stakeholder groups helping to move the Geospatial One-Stop towards being driven by the community.

Hank Garie has met with a variety of Federal agencies and is looking forward to meeting with all representatives. Mark Forman has already given the “when” regarding the development of the Geospatial One-Stop, and that was yesterday. Draft standards are available on the Geospatial One-Stop webpage (http://www.geo-one-stop.gov/Standards/index.html). Our goal is to bring the standards together in harmony and roll them up as a single base standard for ANSI by September 30. Between now and September 30 we must do the crosswalk between standards and look for common business cases, and it would be helpful if those involved could be freed up to work on this high priority activity. It is important that the standards not be viewed as Federal-centric.

The Geospatial One-Stop now has a portal that includes the ability to view map services across servers (pulling information in seamlessly) and to search for existing and planned data. It also allows publishing and searching for planned data acquisitions. The portal will be available after the June 30 launch event.

We need to define our expectations for partnerships to adopt the standards and comply with metadata. The Federal agencies should provide meaningful incentive to our partners through grants and the like. We would like to see States manage their own Clearinghouse and have compatible portals. We could coordinate through councils, and at the Federal level can streamline our grant opportunities by posting them at the Geospatial One-Stop portal. We can use Geospatial One-Stop money as seed grant funds – the return on investment would be a dramatic move forward for partnerships.

Q: Drawing on dispersed servers is an ambitious goal. Is there an interim solution?
A: Metadata is the key for us to mine and determine the existence of data. But when standards are adopted and the data is available on the web, then it can be used and visualized immediately on the web. Within 1 year we can grow the portal at a tremendous rate because it is built to be user friendly and inclusive.

Q: How do we take advantage of legacy data not collected to standard?
A: Much of the data can be downloaded and accessed but requires backend work. The National Map and local State GIS coordinators are already doing this type of work to integrate data seamlessly.

Q: Will it be possible to look at geospatial data over a 5-10 year time period to see changes, or will we just see a snapshot in time?
A: If metadata documents data over time it would work, but if it doesn’t do that then it would be more challenging.

[ PowerPoint 75KB ]

Geospatial Investments Review – Jason Freihage, OMB & Milo Robinson, FGDC

OMB has an interest in maximizing our geospatial investments. OMB realizes that we need to be more strategic in our interagency partnerships. There have been efforts to avoid duplication of mapping efforts dating back to 1906. In 1992, about $4 billion was spent on mapping activities, which indicates a need to improve coordination and efficiency in this area. A review team involving USGS, FEMA, Census, and FGDC has looked at their geospatial investments for FY 03 for elevation and roads. The pilot effort defined 4 principle categories (data collection, data integration, archiving, and public access) and developed definitions for these through the FGDC Coordination Group. The table developed in this exercise shows where agencies have priorities – where they acquire data and how they leverage data. Is this a valid tool for collecting information on geospatial investments? Should OMB request that agencies use the table to report investments with 2005 budget submissions, focusing on Framework themes?

[ PowerPoint 463KB ]

Comment: The definitions need to be very, very clear.

Q: Was this exercise intended to catch every nickel?
A: Yes.

Q: What is agency confidence in these budget numbers?
A: The budget information may have been too broad, and acquired too quickly.

Q: What degree of requirement of request should OMB ask for when agencies at the table submit their budgets in September?

Comment: There are 2 kinds of agencies – those who became proficient at GIS early in the game, and those that are just getting started. The questions may need to be geared towards the early adapter agencies. You could say, “We are doing this to see your GIS investments and if you are not investing, how do you have a geo-enabled agency?”

Information gains more value as more people have access. We need to look beyond the Federal government to the State and local architecture. Homeland Security will give this more focus. So many of the Federal Agencies have core missions that depend on geospatial information.

Mark Forman stated that the Architecture Committee of the CIO Council is meeting in late June. Please make sure your CIO is involved and if they are not, please contact Tony Frater (anthony_frater@ omb.eop.gov). State and local participation is hoped for at an ex officio level.

Mark Forman stated that the vast majority of IT funding is not explicitly appropriated and he has a suspicion that this is also how geospatial data is purchased.
Q: Do we need to take a look at this? Is it appropriate to ask what agencies are spending?
A: OMB should ask for information about geospatial spending now if they are going to ask for it, but they should be as specific as possible in their instructions.

Action 4: Milo Robinson will send out the table that was created from the USGS, FEMA, and Census geospatial investment data.

[ PDF 44KB ] [ MS Excel 25KB ]

Bill Chang, Associate Director for Information Systems, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, congratulated Scott Cameron and Hank Garie on the Geospatial One-Stop portal. He then passed out a handout detailing the Geospatial One-Stop Transportation Pilot Portal and thanked Carol Brandt for her efforts towards this accomplishment. The portal resides within a firewall presently, but will be moved to larger servers. The portal allows users to render maps with data from State and local governments.

Mark Forman thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

Please submit corrections to Alison Kiernan (akiernan@fgdc.gov).