June 5, 2008 FGDC Steering Committee Minutes


Opening Remarks: Jim Cason, FGDC Chair

Jim Cason, Associate Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior, welcomed the Steering Committee members and the audience to the June 5 FGDC Steering Committee meeting. Mr. Cason introduced Jeff Koch from the Office of Management and Budget, E- Government office.  Jeff was sitting in for Karen Evans. Mr. Cason gave an overview of the agenda.

Jeff commented that OMB had recently signed the FGDC Executive Committee Charter. He also congratulated the National Geospatial Advisory Committee for their recent start up. The FY07 FGDC Annual Report final draft is complete; guidance will come out soon for the FY 08 Annual Report.

Mr. Cason brought attention to the Steering Committee member’s bios and photographs that were prototyped on the screen from the FGDC website. One of the things that we wanted to accomplish is to profile this group. It serves as a resource for the public to tell who in the Federal government is leading in the geospatial field.

Action 1: SAOGI’s please send your photograph and bio to Pat Phillips at paphillips@usgs.gov

Executive Committee Meeting Update: Jim Cason, FGDC Chair


The FGDC Executive Committee is a small group of SAOGIs from agencies with major geospatial responsibilities.  The group was established to initiate action and coordinate on complex issues. The meeting on May 30 dealt with establishing the Executive Committee Charter.

Action 2: If you would like a copy of the signed Executive Committee Charter, contact Ivan DeLoatch at ideloatch@fgdc.gov

Executive Committee champions for the seven IFTN activities were defined. A champions meeting will be held on June 23 at the Department of the Interior. Vicki Lukas has graciously volunteered to serve as IFTN project manager and has developed an initial draft project plan that the Executive Committee has endorsed.

The Executive Committee discussed near term priorities and opportunities. They agreed to actively interface with the National Geospatial Advisory Committee, to have dialogue and coordinate as much as possible. Other priorities for the Executive Committee include:

  • National Land Parcel Data study
  • Grants and Contract outcomes from the Geo LoB
  • Technology transfer
  • Information sharing with stakeholders
  • Homeland Infrastructure Foundation – Level Data (HIFLD)
  • Future of the National Map

The group will address strategies to integrate these diverse activities.

Action 3: The next Steering Committee meeting is in October. Mr. Cason asked the Steering Committee members to come back with clear ideas on activities and priorities for the committee.  For this group to be effective, it will take active involvement from the members.

Q. Will the IFTN Champion list be available on the website?

A. Yes, it will be available with the Steering Committee minutes.

Geospatial LoB Update: Michael Thieme, USGS


Michael Thieme is the new acting program manager for the Geo LoB within the USGS. Michael discussed OMB Memorandum 06-22 requesting all E-Gov Line of Business initiatives to submit funding strategies for the FY 2010 budget cycle by June 6.

The recommendation from the Geo LoB team is to continue the current funding algorithm at a slightly lower funding level for FY 2010.

Action 4: SAOGI’s were asked to concur with the FY 2010 funding strategy for the E- Gov Line of Business initiative in order to secure funding in the budget.

Michael summarized the activities of the Geo LoB including the Common Services Work Group. The Common Services WG recently held a full day off-site SmartBuy workshop. The SmartBuy will allow multiple agencies to use common acquisitions of geospatial tools and services. At the workshop they also discussed a prototype of a new geospatial software repository.

Q. Will the SmartBuy be in place by September?

A .That is the target date we are working on with GSA.

Lifecycle Management Work Group: Wendy Blake–Coleman, EPA


Wendy Blake-Coleman provided an overview of recent milestones and next steps within the Lifecycle Management work group.

Action 5:  Wendy requested feedback on upcoming products and next steps of the lifecycle work group.

There are 30 members from 10 federal departments or independent agencies belonging to the life-cycle work group.  The work group has three sub-groups:

  • OMB Circular A-16
  • Lifecycle
  • Theme Content

National Land Parcel Data:  Dr. David Cowen, University of South Carolina


Members of the Steering Committee were provided with copies of the NRC Report, “National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future.”  Dr. Cowen led the team that developed the report.

Dr. Cowen provided an overview of the report and raised a number of provocative questions for the Committee to consider.

Often I don’t have the housing or home ownership data I need to make decisions. I have assumed parcel level data is being maintained since this is a very important theme.

What do Americans pay for not having parcel data? The National Academy of Sciences has called for multipurpose cadastral data.

Who in the audience uses Zillow? AT & T has produced cadastral data for the States of Nevada and California. Cadastral data is also available for all of Australia in Google. The public is going to demand that this be captured. The federal government has not embraced the collection of land parcel data because of a “1:24,000-scale map mentality.” Don’t think 1:24k, think parcel level.  HUD defined parcel data in New Orleans 10 months after Katrina.

We are not asking the federal government to collect the parcel data; we are asking to have a process in place to enable parcel data to be collected. We make nine recommendations (see presentation above).

FGDC Cadastral Subcommittee Presentation: Bob Ader and Don Buhler, BLM


There are eight members on the Cadastral Subcommittee. The vision is that users should be able to quickly acquire parcel data from multiple sources and easily use it to meet their business needs. We envision two types of data:

  • Parcel data
  • Common referenced data (Public Land Survey System)

Successful coordination and cooperation happens when we relate cadastral to a set of common business needs, for instance, wildland fires, energy security, hurricanes.

The subcommittee contacted every county in the western United States and was able to share parcel data in more than 400 counties when it related the data call to wildland fires.

The Cadastral Subcommittee needs the support of the Steering Committee in three areas:

  • CAP grant funding
  • Designation of the subcommittee as the national coordinator for a period of five years.
  • Report to FGDC and OMB quarterly to review successes and identify  duplicative efforts

Q. Have you had any concerns from private industry?

A. We are not competing with private industry; we would like to partner with them. Private industry has been very supportive.

Q. The Western Governors Association has endorsed improving the Public Land Surveying System. If the Steering Committee endorses this program, how will it improve parcel data in the west?

A. We would work with the private sector on issues with the reference system.

Q. Has this presentation been given to the Federal Real Property Council?

A.  No.

Action 6:  If you have interest and need for parcel data contact Don Buhler at don_buhler@blm.gov.

Statement: Mr. Cason asks what actions the Steering Committee should take with Land Parcel data. We have the options of:

  • Doing nothing
  • Tasking the Executive Committee
  • Have Steering Committee to read the Land Parcel book and take a course of action at the next Steering Committee meeting
  • Ask the Cadastral group to make recommendations

What is the feedback, what should the Steering Committee recommend?

Action 7: Mr. Cason suggests reading the National Land Parcel Data book and to think about what the role of the Steering Committee should be and if this program should be pursued. Mr. Cason asked the committee members to come prepared to discuss this issue in greater detail at the next Steering Committee meeting.  The Steering Committee could also task the NGAC to review the appropriate public/private roles in addressing these recommendations.

National Geospatial Advisory Committee:  Anne Miglarese, NGAC Chair

Ms. Miglarese provided a summary on the two-day meeting of the NGAC on June 3-4. Ms. Miglarese recognized the FGDC staff for doing a great job in organizing the meetings.

The 27 NGAC members had tremendous discussions and debates, and concluded with a common vision to advance the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.

They adopted the NGAC bylaws and mission statement. The Geo LoB presentation was fascinating; everyone learned a tremendous amount about the activities going on in this area.

Ms. Miglarese discussed the interest of the NGAC members in the results of the recent Geo LoB budget data calls. The group expressed concern about the completeness and accuracy of agency reporting in response to the data calls.  The NGAC encouraged FGDC to continue to track agency geospatial expenditures and to pursue strategies to ensure more complete and accurate reporting.

Ms. Miglarese discussed the NGAC’s development of a Transition White Paper with recommendations on geospatial programs for the new Administration.  An NGAC subgroup will develop a draft transition paper over the summer and the NGAC will finalize the paper at the next NGAC meeting in October.

The NGAC received an outline of a paper on the “changing landscape” of geospatial programs and technology from David Cowen.  The changing landscape paper will serve to inform many of the NGAC’s deliberations on recommendations for more effective geospatial programs.

The NGAC had a robust discussion of the IFTN initiative.  The NGAC passed a resolution endorsing the IFTN and identifying a number of issues that need to be resolved before the program is implemented..

The next meeting of the NGAC is scheduled for October 15-16, 2008

National Ocean and Coastal Mapping Inventory: Roger Parsons, NOAA


There is a common user need for a consistent spatial framework for coastal data. The biggest challenge in the development of an ocean and coastal mapping inventory is accessibility; there is no single place to go for access. We approached Geospatial One-Stop to make it a GOS Community and to use the GOS Marketplace to reduce redundancies. We would like to be as inclusive as possible and to make the inventory discoverable.

Included in the presentation is a memo to the Steering Committee from the Co-chairs of the Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Mapping. We would like you to have you distribute this memo within your organizations.

Comment: Currently at the Department of the Interior, we are doing a cross-cut budget. DOI is primarily a land management agency, however, we have some funding for ocean and coastal activities.

Wrap-up: Jim Cason, FGDC Chair

Are there any ideas or suggestions on technology transfer presentations for the next meeting in October? If so, send suggestions to Ivan.

The next Steering Committee meeting is October 17 from 9:00- 11:00 at the American Institute of Architects building

The next FGDC Coordination Group meeting is on Tuesday, July 1 from 9:00 – 12:00 at the National Capitol Planning Commission

There is an IFTN Champion meeting on June 23 at DOI.

The next NGAC meeting will be on October 15-16.