Geologic Data Subcommittee Charter

Exhibit A -- FGDC Geologic Data Subcommittee

This exhibit addresses lead agency responsibilities for the coordination of geologic data-related activities among Federal agencies and establishes a mechanism for the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geologic data financed in whole or in part by Federal funds.

Under the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-16, revised 1990, responsibility to coordinate geologic data-related activities is assigned to the Department of Interior. This departmental governmentwide leadership for geologic data coordination is carried out under the policy guidance and oversight of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (hereafter called the FGDC).

Pertinent enabling authority also resides in the language of enabling authorities of the U.S. Geological Survey, including 43 U.S.C. 31(a), The Organic Act of 1879; 42 U.S.C. 5845(c) The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et. seq. The National Environmental Policy Act; PL 94-579, The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976; and PL 102-285, The National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992.

As used in this exhibit, geologic data refers to geographically-referenced data pertaining to the origin, history, composition, and structure of the solid Earth, both onshore and offshore, and to the processes that act on the Earth's surface and within the Earth. The data include (1) geologic maps, which record the spatial distribution, composition, and structure of rocks and sediments at the Earth's surface, derivative maps that show the distribution of selected elements from the geologic map or characteristics pertaining to those elements, such as thickness, facies, or engineering properties, and geologic (structure) sections; (2) geophysical maps, which describe Earth materials in terms of their physical properties such as gravity, magnetic susceptibility, and seismicity, and derivative maps such as mathematical derivatives for gravity and magnetic anomaly data and travel-times for waves propagating through earth materials; (3) geochemical maps which describe the distribution of amounts of chemical elements in Earth materials; and (4) textual information and digital data relating to such map information and to ancillary fields of investigations including, but not limited to, stratigraphy (the definition and description of rock units), paleontology (the description, interpretation, age determination, and geographic and stratigraphic distribution of fossils), geochronology (the study of geologic time by the application of methods based on radioactive decay), and isotope geologic (the description and interpretation of radioactive and stable isotopes in Earth materials). Also included are maps, geographically-referenced textual information, and digital data pertaining to mineral and energy resources, natural hazards (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, coastal erosion, and landslides) and the resulting geologic changes, and other topics involving the acquisition, interpretation, or application of geologic data.

The lead agency responsible for the coordination, management, and dissemination of geologic data is the Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. This organization will develop and implement a plan to coordinate geologic data-related activities among Federal and non-Federal agencies and will report on its activities to the FGDC. In carrying out its governmentwide leadership in geologic data coordination, the U.S. Geological Survey is directly responsible to the FGDC and ensures compliance to the objectives and guidance provided by the FGDC.

A Subcommittee on geologic data (GDSC) (hereafter called the Subcommittee) will be established to assist the lead agency to coordinate Federal and non-Federal interests in geologic data, including the facilitation of exchange of information and transfer of data; the establishment and implementation of standards for quality, content, and transferability; and the coordination of the identification of requirements and the collection of spatial data to minimize duplication of effort where practicable and economical.

The Subcommittee shall consist of representatives designated by the Federal agencies that collect, or finance the collection of, geologic data as part of their mission or have direct application of these data through legislated mandate. Each member agency of the Subcommittee shall designate its representative, an alternate if necessary, and changes thereto, to the Subcommittee Chairperson. Other organizations may be added with the concurrence of the Subcommittee Chairperson.

The Subcommittee shall be chaired by the member from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Responsibilities of the Subcommittee include the following:

A. Facilitate the coordination of agencies' activities related to geologic data and the exchange of geologic data, by formal and informal means.
B. Facilitate collection and compilation of information for geologic data activities.
C. Participate in the development and evaluation of data definitions and standards used by United Nations and other international organizations and make recommendation for their inclusion in geologic data as appropriate.
D. Identify ways in which geologic data from any sources may be included in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.
E. Recommend any changes in the definition of geologic data to more accurately describe its scope.
F. Assist the U.S. Geological Survey in establishing and publishing standards and specifications for the data (for example, incorporating conversion to metric units), and assist in establishing priorities for geologic data production.
G. Assist in the development and adoption of common standards of content, format, and accuracy for geologic data for use by all Federal agencies and to encourage use by non-Federal organizations, to increase its interchangeability and enhance its potential for multiple use.
H. Promote governmentwide use of defined and published spatial data transfer standards for geologic data.
I. Facilitate the economic and efficient application of geologic data through the sharing of experiences involving applications.
J. Support higher-order or crosscutting activities established or recognized by the FGDC.
K. Encourage agencies to schedule the disposition of geologic data in coordination with the National Archives and Records Administration in order to provide for the permanent preservation of historically valuable data.

Subcommittee meetings shall be held at the call of the Subcommittee Chairperson, and shall be held at least quarterly. Normally, notification of meetings and an agenda will be distributed to members of the Subcommittee and to the FGDC Executive Secretary 10 Federal working days in advance of the meeting.

All decisions shall be on the basis of consensus agreement. Where agreement is not reached, the issue will be promptly referred to the FGDC Executive Secretary to be scheduled for resolution.

The Subcommittee Chairperson shall consult with the Chairperson of the Coordination Group to determine the need for further coordination prior to implementing Subcommittee decisions that impact the FGDC or its other subcommittees or working groups.

The Subcommittee may establish additional rules and procedures for conducting business.

The Subcommittee may create work groups or task groups, or further subdivisions, at the discretion of the Subcommittee Chairperson, as appropriate to carry out its activities and meet its responsibilities. The establishment of subgroups of more than 12 months duration that are in addition to any specified in this exhibit and the abolishment of any such subgroup requires the approval of the FGDC. Participation in these groups may be drawn from its member organizations and from other organizations, as appropriate.

The Subcommittee will employ those tools that are best suited to meeting its responsibilities, such as subcommittee meetings, national user forums, annual requirements solicitations, user surveys and analyses, spatial data user workshops, research initiatives, and cooperative ventures.

The Subcommittee Chairperson will coordinate the Subcommittee's activities with other FGDC subcommittees, working groups, and other components by participating in the FGDC's Coordination Group.

The Subcommittee shall report to the FGDC annually, by December 31, describing the requirements for, production of, and availability of geologic data. This annual status report shall be submitted to the Executive Secretary, and shall contain

  • accomplishments of the past calendar year,
  • an operating plan for activities planned for the upcoming year,
  • photographs, diagrams, and other materials that may be of value for inclusion in FGDC reports,
  • a brief discussion of problems encountered and other matters of interest.

The Subcommittee shall submit the operating plan for the upcoming year for FGDC review and concurrence.

Special reports and technical papers also may be requested by the FGDC during the reporting period describing special projects, coordination with other subcommittees, and the development of status graphics or catalogs and informational or educational brochures on the use and availability of geologic data.

The Subcommittee Chairperson shall provide a draft report of Subcommittee meetings, including Subcommittee recommendations and action items, to all Subcommittee members for review prior to approval.

The Subcommittee Chairperson shall provide the final report of Subcommittee meetings to all Subcommittee members, the FGDC Executive Secretary, and the Standards Working Group Chairperson.

The Subcommittee shall remain in existence until terminated by the FGDC.