October 24 FGDC Steering Committee minutes




Opening Remarks:

Personnel Announcement - Rebecca Ferguson is now the permanent Government to Government e-gov portfolio manager at OMB, dealing with geospatial issues.  She was previously serving in this capacity through a detail.

FY 09 Joint Business Case – Thanks to the Geospatial Line of Business (LoB) Task Force for doing a great job on the Joint Business Case.  All but one agency has approved the business case.  Having every agency on same page of this effort is exactly how the LoBs should be managed.

SAOGI Representative Designation - The policy still stands for the Senior Agency Official for Geospatial Information (SAOGI) representatives. Any changes in agency SAOGI designation must be coordinated through OMB.  Rebecca Ferguson is the point of contact for any changes to SAOGI designation. 


FGDC Business Update – Ivan DeLoatch, FGDC Staff Director


Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) grants: 

The request for 2008 CAP proposals is out, and should be funded similarly to last year’s grants (we are currently in CR status). 

State strategic plans from Fifty States Initiative CAP recipients have been submitted by several states and are posted online. This category has been a success.   When the FY 08 grants are awarded we will have funded 38 states in the Fifty States category in only three years.  

NSDI CAP Achievements and Evaluations: http://www.fgdc.gov/grants/AchievementEvaluation#2007Key


Annual Report: 

The FY 06 report was probably the best we’ve ever put together -- thanks to the input provided by the agencies, especially your success stories. 

The FY 07 report will build on the success of last year’s report.  We will provide summary-level content and organize the report around the theme: “Spatially Understanding Our Changing World.” 

We will distribute the FY 07 annual report survey to the agencies within the next few weeks.  Coordination Group members have been asked to provide feedback on the content of the draft survey.


SAOGI Representatives:

We have had challenges determining the agency SAOGI representatives.  After the 2006 memorandum, OMB suggested that they have an opportunity to review your representatives to ensure the right level of agency representation.  If you have a change in SAOGI representation, please submit it to Rebecca Ferguson.  OMB will review and then send the revision to FGDC.  Following that administrative process, the name of the SAOGI will be posted on the FGDC website, which is administered by the FGDC Secretariat.  

Action:  Please contact Rebecca Ferguson (OMB) regarding any changes to your agency designations for the Senior Agency Official for Geospatial Information (SAOGI).   (rferguson@omb.eop.gov, 202.395.0346)


Imagery for the Nation Cost Benefit Analysis – Matt Olson / Frank Clarke, Perot Systems Corporation

[presentation] [handout]

In October 2005 the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) provided a proposal for the Imagery for the Nation (IFTN) initiative.  In November 2005 there was a meeting on the proposal, and a summary report was presented at the January 2006 FGDC Steering Committee meeting.  An Executive Committee was organized to review the proposed initiative, and requested a cost benefit analysis to be completed to provide more information.  U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Department of Agriculture jointly funded the eight-month study.

Perot Systems Corporation handled the study and identified four funding strategies.  During their data collection they examined 643 programs in Federal, State and local agencies, as well as with private users.  They conducted interviews, surveys and facilitated sessions, both in person and through conference calls. 

Life cycle costs were examined and benefits were estimated before the alternatives were compared. 

The study found a general lack of coordination – with agencies having overlapping imagery efforts.  State agencies have limited coordination and often don’t share their information or requirements with other organizations.

To improve business processes across the board we should concentrate on acquisition and standardization returns.  A national aerial program on a set schedule would be cost effective – 1 m, 1 ft and 6 in programs.  Federal, State and local partners cost share for any other requirements. 

The Cost Benefit Analysis document:  http://www.ndop.gov/pdf/Imagery_for_the_Nation_IFTN_CBA.pdf 

Although Alternative 1 and 4 tied – risk was the final determining factor.  Alternative 4 has the lowest risk to sustain so that is preferred.  It gives non Feds greater flexibility and assumes an adoption rate spread over several years. 

The main difference between the alternatives is the 1 ft program – who pays – full Federal, 50 % cost share, or as an optional program.  In Alternative 4, Feds would fund 50% for each state and any others (even private) would create a business plan about what parts of state to be flown – cycle and areas flown.  They could also pay for additional coverage if they have more funds.  A few states might not have means to do it but this alternative has more flexibility and less risk than the others. 


Q:  Why is Congress more likely to approve Alternative 4?
A:  The Council of Western Governors supports Alternative 4 because it provides western states more choice in where they implement the program, since they have lower population areas.  It is not routed to population density – if there is an area with lower population, and they want 1 ft imagery, they can go with that.  Current users are more likely to adopt Alternative 4 and support it through Congress.  Total cost of existing programs will decrease over time with Alternative 4. 

Alternative 4 has a positive ROI and net present value.  For every dollar invested we get a .37 cent return.  This isn’t a revenue generating program so the positive value of ROI and NPV is positive – benefits are focused on operational cost savings over time.  It is actually cheaper than the current state. 

Q:  Alternative 1 was higher than .37 ROI – why didn’t your CBA consider it more attractive since it is a 7 times higher ROI?
A:  Other benefits – performance, risk and cost – the risk threshold for Alternative 1 was too risky to implement.  There is a chance it might not achieve that ROI if it is not adopted by everyone.  That is why Alternative 4 is more attractive even though it has a lower ROI.  Many times negative ROI investments receive funding.  ROI is an important metric for funding agencies themselves, not other users of program. 

Q:  What is the next step?
A:  To determine what direction the FGDC Steering Committee wants to go from here.  NDOP is putting together concept of operations to show how Alternative 4 would be implemented. 

Q:  All of the proposals look at a combination of 1 m and higher resolution data, varying coverage over same geography.  Did you look at other scenarios for 1 ft data available to whole country?  Would others really want 1 m data? 
A:  Two very different programs are being offered – 1 m is leaf-on program, for use by agriculture natural resources.  The high resolution program looks at the leaf-off program – there are different user groups and needs.  Each one is needed.  Leaf-on is acquired during the growing season and leaf-off during the early spring and late fall when the roads and buildings are more clearly visible that during the summer. 

Q:  Why the wall-to-wall coverage for the leaf-on program?  Can you provide an alternative with a percentage of the country covered by the leaf on-program?
A:  Current program is percentage of country, primarily agricultural areas.  But there are groups interested in other areas – such as tribal areas not associated with USDA programs.  DOI also administers a lot of Federal lands that are leased to private individuals.  Yearly imagery is very beneficial; you lose economy of scale if you don’t fly the whole country.  The larger the program the more economical it is – longer flight lines and can collect more imagery. 

Bill Burgess (NSGIC):  Congressional interest in funding Alternative 4 – looks better than 2 for cost.  States in Alternative 4 put cost share dollars into the program, it’s not a totally Federal funded program.  

Also – ROI and financial metrics calculated on 643 programs – but over 1300 programs gave a 75% confidence factor and if you figured them in then the ROI jumped 9:1.  We were extremely conservative in the ROI – taken to the real world it would go way up. 

Q:  Risk matrix – is there any one factor that stands out as higher risk overall?  Operational risk – is there a kind or size that the concept of operations is based on to mitigate those risks?
A:  The risk is associated with population model – it is a big determining factor.  

Q:  But operational risk definitions seem to apply to the process of implementing a program – does this lead to an idea of how to mitigate the risks in a concept of operations in a prospective organization?
A:  If you are concerned about states not buying in,,,  When you look at definitions of operational risks – that covers what is part of the business process.  To be able to put that in place you still need to be able to have buy-in from states and locals.  NDOP looked at this – contracting and managing the program – USDA and USGS could manage those things. 

Q:  How do we explain to legislator – where we achieve a convincing level of result – why we should go with Alternative 4?
A:  By the 2009 phase-in we would reach 100% capacity, with the 10% that didn’t adopt by 2012.   

Q:  What activities were undertaken to calculate opt-in and contributions to the various models?
A:  NSGIC asked the states if they would participate in cost share and what percentage they would do.  That information was provided to the study team. 

Action: Jim Cason will convene an Imagery for the Nation (IFTN) Executive Committee meeting to determine next steps on the IFTN initiative, including an evaluation of the four alternative funding options suggested in the IFTN Cost Benefit Analysis. 


Geospatial Line of Business (LoB) – Ivan DeLoatch


The LoB Program Management Office (PMO) contract was awarded to Grant Thornton LLP to provide management support services.  However we continue to require agency participation on the LoB working groups. 

The development of the FY09 JBC was easier than last year’s effort – we had a better understanding of the issues, redefined and focused our tasks, and achieved a high degree of agency consensus.  All MOUS are in place – thanks for all your help making this a success. 

A memorandum will be issued by Lynn Scarlett (DOI) communicating key areas of focus for the transition of the Line of Business Task Force (TF).  It will describe the next phase of LoB – support for the common solutions, sunsetting the TF and transferring their responsibilities to the Coordination Group (CG).  Day to day oversight of the PMO will be handled by the FGDC Secretariat. 

The memorandum will ask that you redesignate your CG representatives – they will have new responsibilities with the merging of the two groups.  In some cases the agencies have been represented on the TF and CG by two different representatives.  

The Joint Business Case (JBC) team was led by Michael Thieme from Census and reorganized tasks and desired accomplishments.  The JBC has been approved by all but one agency.  

Next steps include:
Revising the 300 for OMB passback
Identify CG members and work group participants
Validate timelines and deliverables
Workplans developed for each work group
PMO to align activities
TF transition to the CG
Performance management plan finalized 

Q:  Is participation on LoB working groups open to those outside the Federal establishment?
A:  Geo LoB is a Federal only enterprise to align ourselves.  But we see other collaborative opportunities through the FACA. 

Q:  Are supporting documents like the JBC being made public? 
A:  The FY 2008 JBC is available on the DOI website but MOUS are not public. 

Q:  Will IFTN be folded in as a working group? 
A:  There is an opportunity to do that but the Steering Committee will make a decision on next steps.  We will establish an executive committee to examine the IFTN CBA.  IFTN work can dovetail the work of the LoB. 

Q:  When will guidance for A-16 data themes be available?
A:  The task has been accelerated and will be available from the working group this year. 

Action:  Ivan will communicate to the Geospatial Line of Business Task Force (TF) members the working groups where agency representation is needed - including the level, skill set, and time requirements.

Q:  Will working group participation be full time or part time?
A:  It is dependant upon the task and will be determined on a case by case basis.  That point will be made in the memo being sent out by Lynn Scarlett. 

National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) – John Mahoney, USGS


NGAC membership will be announced very soon.  The DOI White House Liaison’s office granted final clearance to list of nominees.  It will be a large, exceptionally well qualified committee to assist moving the FGDC initiatives forward.  

We are awaiting sign-off from the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, which should occur in the next couple of weeks.  Appointment letters will then go to the panelists and we will issue a press release.  The charter will be filed with GSA and we will post a notice in the Federal Register formally announcing the committee.   The NGAC cannot meet until at least 15 days after the Federal Register notice. 

We were happy to have received over 110 nominations.  We’d like to thank the review panel, six panelists from various federal agencies who met several times in August and then forwarded their recommendations to Secretary of the Department of Interior’s office in late August.  

The committee will reflect the balance of the geospatial community nationwide, with accomplished representatives representing multiple sectors.  

The first NGAC meeting will discuss bylaws and other administrative issues and won’t be public.  The NGAC meetings should be open to the public in early 2008. 

Action:  Please send John Mahoney (jmahoney@usgs.gov) suggestions on issues to be brought before the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) -- for example, agency responsibilities pursuant to OMB Circular A-16. 

Action:  The FGDC Steering Committee will be notified via email when the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) selections are made official.  


Jim Cason:  What topics would you like to address at our future Steering Committee meetings?  How can we steer the LoB more effectively meet everyone’s needs?  What would you like brought to the table?  (This can be an agenda item for our next Steering Committee meeting) 

Suggestion:  It would nice to have a discussion on how the LoB can support human geography, not just physical geography.  There is interest in human geography across many agencies. 

Suggestion:  Another agenda topic could be activities underway in Federal agencies topical to LoB.  Presentations on how the agencies are geoenabling their business intelligence to make agency performance more efficient. 

Action:  Upcoming Steering Committee presentations on agency efforts geoenabling their business to provide greater efficiency (with a focus on human geography), will include:  Randy Fusaro – Census geospatial database; David LaBranche -- DoD’s real property asset management; Dennis Crow -- USDA’s rural development business processes; and David Paschane -- VA tracking health care and economics. 


The next Steering Committee meeting will occur in the February / March timeframe.