Marine and Coastal Spatial Data Subcommittee Charter

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I.             Purpose

This exhibit addresses the lead agency responsibilities for the coordination of publicly available marine and coastal spatial data and related activities among Federal agencies. This exhibit establishes a mechanism to coordinate the acquisition, development, use, sharing, and dissemination of marine and coastal spatial data financed in whole or in part by Federal funds.


II.             Authority

Under the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-16, revised 2001, responsibility to coordinate bathymetric and nautical charting activities is assigned to the Department of Commerce (DOC). This departmental government-wide leadership for marine and coastal spatial 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 the DOC and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) enabling authorities, regulations, Memoranda of Understanding, and other relevant national and international responsibilities.

This authority is contained within the following statute: 33 U.S.C. 883a, et seq - "To conduct bathymetric surveys, to process and publish nautical data and information."


III.       Lead Agency

The lead agency responsible for the coordination, management, and dissemination of marine and coastal spatial data is the DOC/NOAA. This organization will develop and implement a plan to coordinate marine and coastal spatial data-related activities among Federal and non-Federal agencies and will report on its activities to the FGDC. In carrying out its government-wide leadership in marine and coastal spatial data coordination, the DOC/NOAA is directly responsible to the FGDC and ensures compliance to the objectives and guidance provided by the FGDC.

Within the DOC, the agency with this responsibility is NOAA, National Ocean Service, Coastal Services Center.


IV.             Subcommittee

A Subcommittee on Marine and Coastal Spatial Data (hereafter called the Subcommittee) will be established to promote standards of accuracy and currentness in marine and coastal spatial data financed in whole or in part by Federal funds; to exchange information on technological improvements for collecting marine and coastal spatial data; to encourage the Federal and non-Federal community to identify and adopt standards and specifications for marine and coastal spatial data; and to collect and process the requirements for Federal and non-Federal organizations for marine and coastal spatial data.  The Subcommittee on Marine and Coastal Spatial Data was formally called the FGDC Subcommittee on Bathymetric and Nautical Charting Data.  Although the name has changed, the primary membership has not.  The new name more closely reflects the Subcommittee’s activities and will garner more state, local and outside interest.


V.             Membership

The Subcommittee shall consist of representatives designated by the Federal agencies that collect, or finance the collection of marine and coastal spatial data as part of their mission or have direct application of these data through legislated mandates. Each member agency of the Subcommittee shall designate its representative, an alternate if necessary, and changes thereto, by memorandum from that agency to the FGDC Executive Secretary (hereafter called the Executive Secretary). Other Federal organizations may be added with the concurrence of the Subcommittee Chairperson. Federal organizations can request membership by writing to the Executive Secretary.

The Subcommittee will be chaired by the National Ocean Service, Coastal Services Center.

The Subcommittee may also invite non-Federal participation, on an ad hoc basis, to provide information and briefings as determined by the needs of the Subcommittee.


VI.             Responsibility

Responsibilities of the Subcommittee include the following:

A. Facilitate the coordination of agencies' activities and the exchange of marine and coastal spatial data, by formal and informal means.

B. Collect and compile information on Federal agencies' marine and coastal spatial data activities.

C. Participate in the development and evaluation of data definitions and standards used by United Nations' and other international organizations, and make recommendations for their inclusion in marine and coastal spatial data activities as appropriate.

D. Determine which categories of marine and coastal spatial data are to be included as FGDC framework data sets, and recommend the addition of other categories of marine and coastal spatial data not currently being collected.

E. Assist the DOC/NOAA in establishing and publishing standards and specifications for marine and coastal spatial data, and assist in establishing priorities for marine and coastal spatial data collection, processing, and dissemination.

F. Develop and adopt standards of content, format, accuracy, and currentness for use by all Federal agencies and to encourage use by non-Federal organizations.

G. Promote government-wide use of defined and published spatial data transfer standards for marine and coastal spatial data.

H. Establish and maintain mechanisms and reports to interface with databases of other agencies participating in the National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse.

I. Facilitate the economic and efficient application of marine and coastal spatial data through the sharing of experiences.

J. Support higher-order or cross-cutting activities established or recognized by the FGDC.

K. Ensure that the disposition of marine and coastal spatial data is carried out in coordination with Federal data archives in order to provide for the preservation of historically valuable data.

L. The following data are currently under the purview of the subcommittee: hydrographic data, including all nautical charting and bathymetric data; shoreline data; marine cadastral data; coastal remote sensing data; and benthic (ocean floor data).  The following data will not be the responsibility of the subcommittee: data outside of the landward limit of the coastal zone, as defined in the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972; and data seaward of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).  The above list is considered to be flexible―other data can be added as seen fit.


VII.             Procedures

Subcommittee meetings shall be held at the call of the Subcommittee Chairperson, and shall be held at least semi-annually. Normally, notification of meetings will be distributed to members of the Subcommittee and to the Executive Secretary 30 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 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.


VIII.             Subgroups

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 sub-group requires the approval of the FGDC. Participation in these groups may be drawn from its member organizations, other Federal agencies, state agencies, and academia, as appropriate.


IX.             Coordinating Mechanisms

The Subcommittee will employ those tools that are best suited to meeting its responsibilities, such as 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 Coordination Group.


X.             Reports

The Subcommittee shall report to the FGDC annually, by December 31, describing the accomplishments regarding the collection, processing, and availability of marine and coastal spatial data. This annual status report shall be submitted to the Executive Secretary, and shall contain:

·        accomplishments for 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 the annual FGDC report to the Office of Management and Budget; and

·        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 information on the use and availability of marine and coastal spatial 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 Chairperson, the Executive Secretary, and the chairperson of the FGDC Coordination Group, Subcommittees, and working groups.

XI.             Termination

The Subcommittee shall remain in existence until terminated by the FGDC. At that time, a new exhibit shall be developed by the DOC/NOAA describing how the coordination for marine and coastal spatial data will be undertaken.

(Revised August 25, 2000;  reviewed August 18, 2005)


Definition of marine and coastal spatial data -- For the purposes of the Subcommittee, the definition will be broken into data that exists within our nations' coastal zone, and data that exist within our nations' marine environment.  Coastal spatial data are data that exist within the coastal  waters and the adjacent shorelands, strongly influenced by each other and in proximity to the shorelines of the several coastal  states, and includes transitional and intertidal areas, salt marshes, wetlands, and beaches.  The zone extends, in the Great Lakes waters, to the international boundary between the United States and Canada and, in other areas, seaward to the outer limit of the United States territorial sea.  The zone extends inland form the shorelines only to the extent necessary to control shorelands, the uses of which have a direct and significant impact on the coastal waters (CZMA, 1972).

For the purposes of this subcommittee, marine spatial data are data that exist seaward to the extent of U.S. jurisdiction.