May 1, 2008 FGDC Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

Opening Remarks: Jim Cason, DOI Chair

It was announced that the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI), Dirk Kempthorne, and Deputy Secretary, Lynne Scarlett has designated James Cason, Associate Deputy Secretary as Chair of the Federal Geographic Data Committee Steering Committee. Mr. Cason brings numerous qualifications and experience to this position of leadership as well as a unique combination of vision and management skills.

In his opening remarks Mr. Cason asked how many members of the Steering Committee are serving a political appointment. The transition into the next administration is inescapable, however, this committee is focused on working on important issues designated by the agencies and the public for which we serve and this current meeting agenda reinforces these thoughts.

Tim Young is representing Karen Evans today. Tim congratulates Jim on this new position. The Geospatial Line of Business is doing a lot of interesting work that has contributed great value to the geospatial field and it is very much appreciated, however, the work groups need more agency participation. Recently, Tim represented the United States in a meeting with 30 other countries. One of the topics discussed was the work of FGDC and Geo LoB. He was asked how FGDC gets agency participation. His response was that the groups thrive since it is ensured that the issues worked on benefit all agencies. If this is not the case, Tim would like to hear from the members.

Roll call was taken – Jim asks to have greater participation and attendance from the principles of the Steering Committee and asked members for their thoughts on ways to re energizing the group. We would like this meeting to be a shared process.

Executive Committee meeting update – Jim Cason, Chair FGDC

[Executive Committee Charter] [Imagery for the Nation]

The Executive Committee met for the first time on April 11. This committee is a smaller group that is comprised of Senior Agency Officials for Geospatial Information (SAOGI’s) from agencies with a major geospatial component in their mission. This Committee makes recommendations to the Steering Committee and provides a focal point for FGDC coordination with the National Geospatial Advisory Committee. The Committee discussed Imagery for the National during the first meeting.

Q. Are there any issues or comments about the Committee Charter or the meeting itself?

Comment: The Committee was well run and it was very easy to discuss IFTN.

If there are no other comments, the Charter will be endorsed.

Action: The Executive Committee Charter is endorsed.

Imagery for the Nation, Jim Cason, DOI


The concept of the Imagery for the Nation (IFTN) is to collect aerial imagery at one meter resolution at a national level excluding Alaska. Other target areas would be collected at a six inch resolution. All the imagery would be available in the public domain and there are provisions for users to cost share in the production.

This IFTN presentation is a proposal for the Department of Agriculture and the USGS, not a commitment. It was proposed that one agency would be responsible for each resolution of data. Neither DOI nor USGS has available funds to take all of this on so we are looking at options to leverage existing federal expenditures. The FGDC Executive Committee has divided the proposal into seven activities:

  • Technical plan
  • Funding Alignment
  • Contracting Center(s) of excellence
  • Hosting and archival capabilities
  • Agreements with partners
  • Guidance and direction
  • Communication strategy

A question to ask yourselves, are your agencies currently doing anything that can contribute to the production of the IFTN concept? How can we spend the resources more effectively? Can we cut out redundancies and look for champions for each of the activities? Are there organizations in this room that will be willing to take on any of these activities?

If no one wants to take on these activities then maybe we don’t have the commitment for IFTN? Do we want to embrace this, does it help our mission? We can dispense this issue if the group does not want to go forward.

Comment: OMB will commit to this; it’s not fair to put the entire burden on USGS.

Action: The Library of Congress is interested in the archival activity and perhaps the National Archives and Records Administration is as well.

Action: Agriculture will lead the development of the technical plan and commit to working with USGS.

Let’s have a show of hands for support of IFTN. Most approve. Any opposed, no.

We have presented the IFTN concept and the Steering Committee agrees that this is an important thing to do.

Action: The Steering Committee has endorsed the IFTN concept.

Announcement: Vicki Lukas, Chief Partnerships and External Coordination, USGS, was introduced as the IFTN project manager and point of contact. Vicki can be reached at (703)648-4242 or

FGDC Business Update, Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC


  • In February, the NSDI Cooperative Agreements Program announced 23 awards for $1.1 million.
  • The FGDC Standards Working Group met in February and voted to approve a proposal for development of the Cultural Resources Data Standard. This group also voted to recommend that the FGDC Coordination Group approve public review of the draft Federal Trails Data Standards and to discuss the address standards.
  • The 50 States Initiative is important and can help with the IFTN concept. The 50 States Initiative kick-off meeting this year was held at the NSGIC mid-year conference in Annapolis on March 9. The states demonstrated how they have initiated their plans. Currently 35 states are in play, eight additional grants were awarded this year. The goal is to have all 50 states done by 2009.

Geospatial LoB Update,  Ivan DeLoatch, USGS; Matt Leopard, EPA


One of the key outcomes of the Geo LoB activities is the completion of the strategic plan as asked per OMB passback (completed March 14, 2008) and the development of SmartBUY that Matt Leopard will talk about next.

Ivan provided an overview of the recent activities and upcoming milestones of the following LoB workgroups:

  • Lifecycle Management Work Group lead: Wendy Blake-Coleman.
  • This work group completed a draft lexicon of geospatial terms which is key in discussing issues with our partners.
  • Performance Management Work Group lead: John Mahoney
  • Grants and Contract Work Group Lead: Lew Stanford
  • This work group developed draft contract language and is in the process and getting it approved to add to FAR/DFAR language.
  • Technical Architecture Work Group lead: Doug Nebert
  • Distributed draft revision of the geospatial profile which is expected to be published by the summer 2008.
  • Common Services Work Group lead: Matt Leopard

Matt  leads the Common Services Work Group  and would like to ensure that  large and small agencies pull together a common SmartBUY portfolio of the best geospatial tools, data, software and services, which in turn saves money.

There is a geospatial software repository workshop planned for May 21 and everyone is encouraged to attend. Vendors will also attend this workshop. The work group has begun collecting licensing requirements from 34 agency participants. They are looking at many licensing models to decide what kind of capabilities are needed. The plan is to fully deploy a prototype repository by September 2008.

We are going to share tools, software, and data in the largest SmatBUY portfolio ever seen.

Statement:  For those that cannot attend the May 21 meeting, WebEx will be available.

National Geospatial Advisory Committee meeting update- John Mahoney, USGS

[presentation] [ Letter]

John provided an overview of the initial first two meetings of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) and reported that the meeting was very successful and good discussions came from them.

The purpose of the letter to Anne Miglarese, Chair NGAC from Jim Cason, FGDC SC Chair (see above) was to provide guidance to the NGAC and to identify key issues to address over the coming months.  We see the NGAC as a partnership to have an ongoing dialog between Federal, State, local and tribal governments; the private sector; academia; and non-profit organizations.

NGAC meeting summary: Draft Action Plan

  • Draft a NGAC mission statement
  • Develop a “Changing Landscape” white paper
  • Review data initiative and develop efficient prioritizations
  • Review the FGDC Annual Report
  • Develop an administration transition plan
  • Design a 12-18 month National Geospatial Strategy

 This is the suite of issues and we were pleased with the progress.

Framework Data Standard, Ivan DeLoatch


The Framework Data Standard is one of the robust standards we have worked on.  Standards facilitate the development, sharing, and use of geospatial data, it’s how we talk to our partners and this is some of the most important work we do.

There have been eight standards so far endorsed through the Steering Committee and there are many more in development. The FGDC Standards Working Group is the focal group to forward the recommendation of endorsement to the Steering Committee. This Framework Standard has taken 6 years of hard work; we’ve invested a lot of time on this. The standard was initially established in 2002 through the Geospatial One-Stop initiative to help create common geographic base data and was intended to establish common requirements to facilitate data exchange for seven geospatial data themes.

Why endorse this standard? FGDC endorsement makes standards freely available to the public at no charge. ANSI hold a copyright and charges $30.00 per standard. Users are obligated to purchase American National Standards even though the development was funded by the federal government.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology states the “because the FGDC standards already undergo an extensive public/private sector review process, NIST has decided to declare the FGDC standards as already validated by the FGDC process without having to go through an additional NIST evaluation panel process.” Validated FGDC-endorsed standards will be listed on the NIST E-Gov standards pages at and the webpages.

Comment: OMB gave one million to validate standards, possibly this should be incorporated into the A-16 process.

We are excited to get this standard endorsed, nearly 2 to 3 hundred people have been involved in this process and nearly 100,000 professionals have been involved in the review process.

Comment: This standard will be submitted to ANSII but it goes thought the FGDC process first so that it does not have to be purchased. It is freely available to the public.

FGDC Steering Committee Roll Call Vote to endorse the Framework Data Standard

Per Steering Committee Charter, a 2/3 quorum of voting members must be present (quorum = 19 out of 28 voting members)

Vote requires a majority of a quorum (minimum = 10 votes out of 19)

19 “yes” endorsed the standard

0 “no”

1 deferred

8 absent

Action: The Framework Standard is endorsed.

Wrap-up, Jim Cason

That concludes formal meeting, are there any other comments?

Comment: there is a concern about IFTN; we should have a holistic view.

Comment: NSGIC thanks Mr. Cason for taking on the IFTN issue.

Mr. Cason would like to see presentations on the agenda from the agencies, subcommittees and working groups at each Steering Committee meeting. Take a look at ongoing activities and prioritize those that may have the most robust presentation and product. Look at transferable applications, there is a lot of creativity among the groups. Please share thought provoking ideas and share why you think it is provocative.  In our budget environment there isn’t enough to go around that we have to be recreating the wheel.

Action: Agencies, subcommittees and working groups are to make presentations at  Steering Committee meetings.

The next National Geospatial Advisory Committee meetings are scheduled for June 3 and 4. The next Steering Committee meeting is June 5. All three meetings will be held at The American Institute of Architects building.