June 2005 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

FGDC Steering Meeting Summary
June 23, 2005

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

Steering Committee Representatives:

Chris Niedermayer for Scott Charbo, USDA
Tony LaVoi for Margaret Davidson, DOC/NOAA
Donald Basham, DOD/USACE
H. Gregory Smith, DOD/NGA
Theanne Gordon for Rosita O. Parkes, DOE
David Morehouse for Guy Caruso, DOE
Charles M. Croner, HHS
Daniel Cotter, DHS
Jon Sperling, HUD
Tom Weimer, DOI
Edwin Zedlewski for Thomas Feucht, DOJ
David Smith for William Wood, State
William J. Chang, DOT
Brenda Smith, EPA
Bruce Franca, FCC
Kay McNew for Stan Kaczmarczyk, GSA
John Hebert, LOC
Myra Bambacus for Ronald Birk, NASA
Kenneth Thibodeau, NARA
Tom Spence for Margaret Leinen, NSF
Alan Voss, TVA

Coordination Group and Others:

Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC
Leslie Armstrong, FGDC
Alison Dishman, FGDC
Jason Freihage, OMB
Stacie Higgins, OMB
Scott Cameron, DOI
Karen Siderelis, DOI/USGS
Hank Garie, USGS/NGPO
Michael J Howell, DOI/FWS
Dave Zilkoski, DOC/NOAA
Laurence Socci, ACSM
John Wertman, AAG
Bob Samborski, GITA
Peter Gomez, GITA
Bob Austin, GITA
Bert Jarreau, NACo
Zsolt Nagy, NSGIC/NC
Tony Spicci, NSGIC/MO
Eugene Trobia, NSGIC/AZ
Mike Ouimet, NSGIC/TX
Stu Davis, NSGIC/OH
Joe Sewash, NSGIC/TN
Bill Burgess, NSGIC/DC
Mark E. Reichardt, OGC
Alan Falconer, UCGIS
Wendy Francis, URISA
Dennis Goreham, WGA
Randy Fusaro, DOC/Census
Donald Draper Campbell, FCC
Kevin Neimond, NACo
Brian Cullis, DOD
Nancy Blyler, HQ USACE
Dan Parr, URISA
Lisa Warnecke, GMA
Steve Potts, EPA
Roxanne Lamb, USGS
Milo Robinson, FGDC
Tara Conrad, DOI
Mario Lopez-Gomez, DOJ
Cheryl Murray, OMB
Hope Mentore-Smith, DOI/FWS
Doug Nebert, FGDC
Carol Ernst, USDA/FSA
Carol Brandt, USDOT/RITA/BTS
Stan Ponce, USGS/NGPO
Mike Howard, FEMA
John Clark, GSA
John Mahoney, USGS/NGPO
John Moeller, Northrop Grumman
Julie Maitra, FGDC
Leslie Wollack, GOS
Denver Makle, FGDC
Pat Cummens, ESRI
Carolyn Austin Diggs, Treasury
Bob Harding, GSA
Betty O’Connor, GSA
Colleen Cahill, LOC
Monica DeAngelo, FERC
John Steffenson, ESRI
Doug Vandegraft, DOI/FWS
Tricia Gibbons, LEAD Alliance
Bonnie Gallahan, FGDC
Lee Warren, NGA
John Palatiello, MAPPS
Pat Phillips, USGS

Welcome and Introductions – Lynn Scarlett, DOI

Chair, Lynn Scarlett, Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management, and Budget at the Department of the Interior (nominated by the President to become Deputy Secretary of the Interior), welcomed the Steering Committee and introduced Vice-Chair Karen Evans, Administrator for E-Government and Information Technology, Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Lynn Scarlett stated that she was looking forward to this opportunity to serve Chair of the FGDC Steering Committee and noted how pleased she was with the level of interest and the diversity of the meeting’s participants -- representing the Federal, state, local and private sector geospatial communities.

Assistant Secretary Scarlett noted that during the course of the meeting the Steering Committee would be asked to make decisions on recommendations stemming from the 50 States Initiative and the Governance Report developed as part of the Future Direction activity.

Administrator Karen Evans stated that she was pleased that Lynn is serving as Chair of the FGDC Steering Committee.

State of the FGDC – Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC Staff Director

Ivan DeLoatch welcomed the 20 Federal agencies and departments and the 10 stakeholder organizations present at the meeting. He named the new members -- in the past year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) joined the FGDC and the Geospatial Industry Technology Association (GITA), the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) requested membership as FGDC collaborating partners.

Accomplishments of FGDC member agencies include:

Department of Defense (DoD) – Col Cullis supports FGDC activities and has facilitated changes within DoD by encouraging the creation of a unique portfolio for geospatial information resources within their broader enterprise information investments. The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition has sponsored the development of a robust spatial data infrastructure and mandated that all geospatial data must have metadata. The Defense Installation Spatial Data Infrastructure (DISDI) employs the FGDC metadata standard profile for all data used in decision support and has been leveraged to address recent strategic basing decisions worldwide, including military base realignment and closure.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) – In order to enhance its contribution to homeland security, the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the USDA Office of Homeland Security have created a mission critical prototype application called ClearView. The Forest Service (USFS) is collaborating with the US Geological Survey (USGS) to display Forest Service data (boundaries, roads & trails data and recreation sites) as part of The National Map. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Rural Development (RD) continue to coordinate geospatial data through distributed data warehouses and web services, customized analytical tools, the National Agricultural Image Program, and RD address data quality improvements.

Department of Commerce (DOC)/NOAA – The Administration's U.S. Ocean Action Plan, in response to the U.S. Commission for Ocean Policy, calls for improved coordination of federal and federally-supported coastal and ocean mapping activities – including an inventory of "Federal, Federally-funded, and non-Federal governmental ocean and coastal mapping and charting programs, operations, and prioritized needs." A programmatic inventory will likely be developed through the FGDC and the version 2 implementation of GOS of a "Coastal and Oceans Channel".

Enterprise Architecture – FGDC/NGPO in collaboration with the AIC of the Fed CIO Council is providing the leadership in developing the geospatial profile for enterprise architecture. A new FGDC working group has been chartered to support this initiative, aligning our common business areas and relative investments.

FGDC Homeland Security Working Group completed the Homeland Security Working Group's "Guidelines for Providing Appropriate Access to Geospatial Data in Response to Security Concerns". Your coordination group member has received an e-mail ballot for your consideration to adopt the guidelines

Version 2 of the Geospatial One-Stop portal, geodata.gov – Version 2 will have many improved features including: enhanced ease of use, new search capabilities, greater interoperability to facilitate information sharing from multiple sources, and new subject communities highlighting innovative Web services and information sources in specific subject areas. Advance information on geospatial investments available through the GOS portal "Marketplace" will facilitate collaboration and intergovernmental partnerships.

International Coordination

Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) – FGDC members actively participated in the development of the 10-Year Implementation Plan that incorporated NSDI principles and practices and focused on societal benefit areas.

Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) –Ivan DeLoatch was elected as a member of the GSDI Board of Directors.

UN Commission on Cartography – FGDC is taking the lead on compiling and submitting the US Report to the United Nations Commission on Cartography.


National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) – FGDC is entering into a formal agreement with NSGIC to champion the coordination efforts for all of the States to provide a mechanism for Federal agencies to explore partnership opportunities to address mission needs.

Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) - FGDC and URISA signed an agreement to work as strategic partners. URISA will lead the development of the Street Addressing Standard under the auspices of the Cultural and Demographic Sub-Committee.

Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) – Continues to work on collaborative standards and specifications and supports our Geospatial Enterprise efforts.

Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) - Overlaid geospatial information to identify issues using geospatial information for critical infrastructure protection.


Two interagency agreements are in place with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Train 41 Tribes in the past two sessions. We are currently working on agreement with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as well.

Activities in progress…

FGDC leadership is committed to employing Project Management Strategies. These actions are focused on accountability and collaboration among the Federal community and its partners. By August 1, 2005 all subcommittees and working groups will submit updated charters and annual work plans. Through an analysis of subcommittees and working groups conducted this spring, working groups have been retired, revitalized and initiated. Charters are being developed for the Steering Committee and Coordination Group to better define member roles, responsibilities and goals. In addition, the FGDC Annual Report to OMB will be analyzed and revised so that it provides a better way to measure performance and outcomes of FGDC member activities.

Geospatial Grants Programs – FGDC took the first steps towards developing a unified approach to collaborating on grant programs by holding a two-day grants workshop this month. Over 30 representatives from Federal, state, and local government attended the workshop.

Framework Data Standards – Framework Data Standards are in the final stage of editing and will be formally submitted to INCITS L1 in July-August.

National Geospatial Programs Office – The geospatial activities and responsibilities of the FGDC Secretariat, Geospatial One Stop, The National Map and Interior Enterprise GIS are being aligned and coordinated under the NGPO.

Challenges ahead include accelerating the standards process, documenting our geospatial activities, and monitoring our geospatial investments. To help the FGDC in its efforts, you can support an investment strategy; implement accountability measures; document geospatial activities; build NSDI/FGDC/A-16 performance measures into your staff performance plans, evaluations, and work plans; and develop an internal strategy to track investments.

Lynn Scarlett comment: It is important that we enhance our performance and hold ourselves accountable through clear performance goals.

NSDI Future Directions –

Last year we presented you with the national strategy – three focus areas and 13 objectives. The Steering Committee asked us to accelerate the timelines. We made revisions to the dates in the areas we could accelerate the work. More than, 100 people were involved in the 12 action teams – we thank them for their involvement.

Future Directions Presentation [PowerPoint]

50 States Action Team Recommendations – Bill Burgess

The Goal of the Fifty States Initiative is that by 2006, 50 State Coordination Councils are in place and routinely contributing to the governance of the NSDI. FGDC worked with National States Geographic Information Council to create this initiative as a component of the NSDI Future Directions planning process. The Fifty States Initiative would coordinate the way governments work together to build the NSDI and will emphasize strategic and business planning with specifically targeted implementation grants, performance measures and incentives.


  • Federal grants are conditioned to require state participation in the Fifty States Initiative
  • Federal agencies establish assistance programs to meet targeted state and local needs, including support for strategic and business plan development
  • FGDC coordinates the grant programs of its member agencies to meet the identified business needs of federal agencies and Statewide Coordination Councils
  • NSGIC and federal agencies draft letters of support to other organizations, to each Governor, and to state CIOs requesting their participation in the Fifty States Initiative
  • FGDC replaces previous cooperating partner agreements with new agreements (cooperating partners) based on states that are conforming to these initiatives
  • New cooperating partners are invited to regular governance meetings
  • NSGIC and the FGDC advocate that the Fifty States Initiative become the standard for state surveys on geospatial activities
  • Periodic Strategy Meetings<
  • FGDC and NSGIC develop appropriate “PR” materials and guidance documents
Decisions: The Fifty States Team recommends the following.
  • Approve the Fifty States Initiative Action Plan. (It was approved by the NSGIC Board of Directors in December 2004, and reviewed and accepted by the FGDC Coordination Group in February 2005.)

50 States Presentation [PowerPoint] | 50 States One Pager [Word] | 50 States Flyer [PDF]

This is a decision item – we seek an approval of the 50 States Action Plan and funding of its critical components. We need 50 statewide councils in place by 2006 and routinely contributing to the NSDI. This team did a great job putting this action plan together in two and a half months.

We have to remember that each of the statewide councils will be a unique entity – different issues drive each state and we need to respect the differences of each area.

We need to engage other organizations in implementing the plan. Federal grants need to be conditioned on participation. We are also going to need letters of support from Federal agencies like DHS and DOI to be sent to the governor and other agencies in the state stressing the importance of this initiative.

Costs: NSDI Liaison Staff – to represent all Federal agencies we will need base funding of $40,000-50,000 per state and also public relations materials. FGDC needs to become the single voice for all Federal agencies.

Lynn Scarlett: This effort will serve the public by enhancing coordination and decision-making. DOI is supportive of the 50 States Action Team’s recommendations.

Tom Weimer: Those that worked to put this initiative together did a great job. DOI strongly supports it and believes that the FGDC Steering Committee can bring the budget together to support this. The FGDC is the entity to serve as the Federal voice. DOI also hopes the Federal partners in the community will support this initiative.

Scott Cameron: The GOS Federal Partners will be meeting in late July and will discuss these issues that are relevant to GOS.

Karen Evans: This initiative requires commitment on funding issues. Don’t approve this unless you can support it because this falls under discretionary funding and there are no new funds to support this activity. If you as Federal agencies approve this you will have to show where the money is coming from your agencies’ existing funds. And this is not just a Federal piece, this is also applies to state and local jurisdictions who would have to re-channel their funds as well.

Lynn Scarlett: USGS will steer existing dollars to this activity. NGPO is prepared to fund the first 10 of the 50 state councils and I encourage all of us to find the money we need to put forward in future years.

Q: What kind of incentives are there for non-Feds to adopt standards?
A: An incentive is partnering to save money – we will be able to fund some of these activities through cost efficiencies in the future.

Q: When you speak about conditioning grants in action item #1 - what kind of grants are you talking about?
A: We are referring to any grants relying on geospatial data – all Federal agencies should direct those grant funds to build the NSDI and to align the grants with the statewide councils’ business plans. We are looking for efficiency.

Q: But what kind of grants are we talking about? Even grants for school lunch programs?
A: This issue needs to be clarified. There are several alternatives – strengthening the single point of contact in each of the states is one, in order to determine which state activities should be funded.

Q: How would agencies independently measure whether a state was doing what it should? Would they look to FGDC to let them know who should receive grants?
A: This would be done centrally – the states would have action items that they are supposed to do, with resulting performance metrics.

Q: It looks like we are talking $2.5 million to get started in FY06?
A: Financially, you would recognize this as a need for your agency and embrace it in your budget and show it to OMB. If you think it’s a good idea to have the state councils then you are willing to invest. Is this something your agency is willing to invest in?

Comment: It is scalable – DOI is willing to invest in 10 states initially. It is a rolling effort – doesn’t need to be done all at once.

Scarlett: It sounds as if here and now we are not in a position to bring total effort to this. Is there further interest in pursuing this action plan?

Comment: DOC is in favor of this but has a question -- Is in-kind support something NSGIC would entertain?
A: Yes, NSGIC will help – that’s what partnerships are all about.

Clarification: This is an FGDC Future Directions activity that NSGIC participated in – it’s not a NSGIC activity, but an FGDC activity.

Q: Regarding the future directions of government models - what would happen if the Federal model shifted?
A: I think most of us feel we need some changes in how we govern the NSDI. We encourage and welcome changes that will enable us to work together more effectively.

Comment: The states are not just sitting around waiting for this to happen -- this is not holding states back from moving forward. However, the FGDC adopting the 50 States Initiative recommendations will help harness the activity that is already taking place at the state level. If we wait 5 years it may be too late, we may have lost the momentum.

Comment: EPA supports this effort. Did you have discussions on how much it would cost to maintain the state councils or was your focus solely on establishing them?
A: Our focus up to now has been on establishing them. We haven’t done long-range forecasting. But there is already a huge investment on the landscape.

Scarlett: Please give me a show of hands of support for demonstration of continued interest in moving this effort forward. If the interest is there we will work with you to see if you can put money on the table in this effort.

Eight hands were raised among the 20 Federal representatives.

Scarlett: There looks to be enough interest to continue. USGS/DOI will do our part and we will talk with you to get the ball further rolling.


The FGDC will continue to pursue funding the recommendations stemming from the Fifty States Initiative. More details will be covered at the next Steering Committee meeting.

Governance – Alan Voss/Dennis Goreham

The goal of the governance action plan is that by 2005, options for restructuring the governance model of the NSDI to make it more effective and inclusive are identified, evaluated, and acted upon. In 2004, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Geospatial Programs Office (NGPO) jointly established an action team to develop recommendations for the future governance of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The team included broad representation from federal, state, and local governments; from the private and non-profit sectors; and from academia. The team reviewed previous reports and recommendations on the NSDI and examined effective cross-jurisdictional governance models that oversee geospatial data and also conducted focus group discussions and interviewed key stakeholders to gather input and recommendations. The team has developed consensus on a set of recommendations for consideration by the FGDC Steering Committee and other major stakeholders. The report includes both actions that may be taken immediately and other recommendations that may require further consideration by the Steering Committee.

Actions: The report identifies the following steps for implementing the recommendations of the team:

Recommendation 1: Enhance Role and Functions of FGDC

  • Ensure strong and active leadership; resume quarterly FGDC Steering Committee meetings
  • Develop an updated strategic plan
  • Accelerate standards development
  • Create, revise, and update charters for the Steering Committee, Coordination Group, subcommittees, and working groups (discontinue sub-groups as needed)
  • Strengthen and formalize the roles of NSDI liaisons
  • Revise the FGDC annual reporting process to focus on results
  • Develop a communications and outreach strategy
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate with NASCIO and the Federal CIO Council
  • Implement “Fifty States Initiative” Statewide Coordination Councils
Recommendation 2: Establish a National Geospatial Coordination Council (NGCC)
The team, through consultation with multiple sources, found wide agreement that NSDI governance requires strong national leadership and participation from multiple sectors. This recommendation is an initial proposal to address this need.
  • Ensure broad membership representing all sectors, consisting of approximately 25 members
  • Initially establish the NGCC through administrative action, and ultimately through legislation
  • Establish a Presidentially-appointed director for the NGCC
  • Implement an enhanced geospatial grants program
Recommendation 3: Improve Management of Federal Geospatial Programs
  • Create a geospatial investment analysis capability within FGDC
  • Re-establish geospatial leadership functions within OMB
Decisions: The Governance Team recommends the following:
  • Approval of Recommendations 1 and 3
  • Additional feedback and guidance on Recommendation 2, including approval to continue study and analysis. Final decision on #2 to be made at subsequent FGDC Steering Committee meeting.

Governance Presentation [PowerPoint] | Governance One Pager [Word]

The governance action team would like approval of Recommendations 1 and 3 today, and would also like to have approval for the concept of the NGCC today so that we can move forward with additional studies with a more detailed implementation plan.

Scarlett: I like that the Federal, state and local agencies would work together. Within the DOI there has been talk that the guidance should shift from the Policy, Management and Budget office to the Assistant Secretary of Water and Science.

Scarlett: Regarding Recommendation 2: DOI wouldn’t be prepared to dive in and endorse it. The hard work and thinking that went into the recommendation is appreciated, but it would require further deliberation.

Evans: I also agree - OMB is not prepared to approve Recommendation 2.

Evans: Regarding establishing a geospatial position within OMB - Chairman Putnam’s position was not that there should be a position established inside OMB, but his question was whether there should be Chief Geospatial Information Officers within the agencies. OMB said yes, there should be a focus in Federal agencies on geospatial info – but it is just one of many types of info that belongs in a CIO’s portfolio. There was a lot of push-back from the agencies in designating a person to represent geospatial data. OMB can commit to investment strategies and partnering better and reestablishing leadership within OMB, but the policy letter was floated to the agencies after the hearing and OMB did not get concurrence from the federal agencies -- that is why that Chief Geospatial Information Officers were not established in each agency.

Comment: The governance team researched 15 years worth of studies on the governance of NSDI. The body of literature calls for governance of NSDI by partnership of stakeholders. We need to keep that in mind – in making it more equitable across the board – especially looking at geospatial funding across the state and local levels.

Recommendation 1: To strengthen the leadership of the FGDC. Is there any reason not to endorse that particular recommendation? It doesn’t change any existing authorities.

Comment: Implementing the Fifty States Initiative is the last bullet in Recommendation 1, which we just tabled. So we would really be endorsing the remainder of Recommendation 1.

Comment: The Governance Action Team went through an extraordinary effort in reaching out to the MAPPS membership. MAPPS is present today because it’s the first time they’ve been invited to a Steering Committee meeting. The lack of private sector participation is a concern. If you adopt Recommendation 1 without adopting Recommendation 2 you haven’t fixed the governance structure regarding private sector participation. He would prefer that the NGCC to replace the FGDC. So action on Recommendation 1 may be immature until those issues are worked out.

Scarlett: There are internal policy issues presented with the Recommendation 2 – constraints within the Federal government works (FACA would have to be pursued). With Recommendation 1 – regardless of what ultimate governing entity is agreed upon – there is nothing lost by strengthening the leadership of this committee itself, meeting more regularly – taking up these tough issues. Is there any downside in strengthening this committee?

Comment: There is also no downside to continue looking at the NGCC and 50 States Initiative. It would be healthy to adopt Recommendation 1. The NSGIC Board of Directors endorsed movement to move forward with Recommendations 1 and 3 and further investigate Recommendation 2.

Scarlett: The Wildland Fire Leadership Council is a similarly structured group that meets three to four times a year to talk about difficult issues. The FGDC Steering Committee might be able to achieve stronger results if we look into that sort of enhancement. We can gain from such further and frequent dialogue.

Evans: Ivan laid out specific things that need to be accomplished in the action plan. We are in our 07 budget cycle, by the time we get together again we will be in 08 going on to 09 – we don’t need a national council in place to do a lot of this work. Recommendations 1 and 3 are offering an alternative to the way we are doing our work. The purpose would be to put these action-oriented issues on the table to move forward, come together and connect.

Scarlett: Any other observations or objections to our trying to move forward in adopting Recommendation 1 and then reconvening to address the more ticklish issues?

The majority of the group raised their hands for Recommendation 1.

Not quite as many hands were raised for Recommendation 3.

Q: DOC questions the geospatial investment capability within FGDC staff – would it be appropriate for FGDC staff to be reviewing the budgets of other federal agencies?

Evans: OMB sees the geospatial investment piece as being a part of meaningful metrics. A similar situation is already going on with Health IT – looking at different agencies. She is assuming FGDC would follow the same type of process being used with Health IT.

Comment: The Governance group met with OGC. We should look at changing the subcommittee or working group structure as a way to continue the dialogue with the private sector.

Evans: That is a policy decision that needs to be revisited. We are not in a position to make that kind of announcement.

Scarlett: There is no problem with continued discussion – this topic be continued as we move forward.

Recommendation 3 – is there a general support for proceeding with the caveats Karen described


The FGDC Steering Committee gave general approval to move forward with the Governance Team’s Recommendation 1 (excluding implementing the Fifty States Initiative, which needs to be further examined) and Recommendation 3.

The FGDC Steering Committee will continue the discussion and examination of Recommendation 2 at the next FGDC Steering Committee meeting.

Scarlett: Due to the lengthy discussion stemming from the recommendations of the Fifty States and Governance reports we will postpone the GOS and NGPO presentations for another time.

Scott Cameron: I would like to close with a couple statements. Thank you to everyone from the Federal, state and local government agencies that helped the standards go forward to ANSI. Federal agencies should anticipate that we will be exploring ways to use the Federal procurement and grant system to track investments. We will hold a GOS Federal Partner meeting soon to look at the FY07 budget. NACo has invited Hank Garie and me to present on the geodata.gov version 2 portal at NACo’s annual meeting in Hawaii this July, so feel free to attend that meeting for the portal demonstration!

Karen Evans thanked the group for the good progress that was made today. She expressed appreciation for the time and effort that was invested by so many into the Future Directions activity over the past year and stated that we would not have had such great discussion without everyone’s hard work on this effort.