April 7, 1998 FGDC Coordination Meeting Summary
Bruce Ambacher (Historical Data WG), Gerry Barton (NOAA), Jeri Berc (Earth Cover WG), Nancy Blyler (USACE), Angela Bottom (International Boundaries SC), Fred Broome (Cultural & Demographic SC), Kim Burns-Braidlow (FGDC Staff), Bob Dahl (Cadastral SC), Mark DeMulder (Base Carto SC), Alan Gaines (NSF), Richard Hogan (Standards WG), Millington Lockwood (Bathymetric SC), Nancy Lopez (USGS/WRD), Win Lyday (NACo), David Morehouse (DOE), Sheryl Oliver (NSGIC), David Painter (FGDC Staff), Tom Palmerlee (UCGIS), Barbara Poore (Communications WG & FGDC Staff), Milo Robinson (FGDC Staff), Bruce Spear (Ground Transportation SC), Gale TeSelle (NRCS), Gene Thorley (Chair), David Tullock (Rutgers University), Tom Usselman (Mapping Science Committee), Dave Wolf (EPA), Rick Yorczyk (Geodetic Control SC)
Outstanding action items were reviewed and discussed. No changes were requested of the March Coordination minutes. The Secretariat's office still needs 1997 NSDI Reports from Vegetation, Earth Cover and SIMNRE Subcommittees and Working Groups as well as the 1998 NSDI Work Plans from Vegetation, Clearinghouse, Earth Cover and SIMNRE. Chairs, please ensure these reports are submitted to Kim Burns-Braidlow by April 24.
- Action: Subcommittees and Working Groups who have not yet done so, please provide Kim Burns-Braidlow 1997 Reports of Accomplishments and 1998 Work Plans reports by April 24.
The Secretariat's office has received state GIS liaison points of contacts from: Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, EPA and NOAA. This information was due from ALL agencies in March. The FGDC Secretariat's office is getting requests for this information so please provide these contacts. The URL that has been established to collect this information is http://www.fgdc.gov/POC_Form.html.
- Action: Coordination Group members provide your agencies state GIS liaison points of contact to the above mentioned URL by April 24.
John Moeller was unable to attend today's meeting but did prepare a handout on updates items of interest to the group: FY2000 Budget Initiative discussions, Digital Earth, and the opportunity for involvement with Washington DC Geographic Information Coordination. These items were discussed:
FY2000 Budget Initiative - Mr. Thorley began this discussion by asking the non-feds to please be patient with the process. Because these discussions deal with budget issues, only feds may be present at these meetings. If this initiative is successful, we will all benefit. There has been one meeting with the federal Coordination Group members to discuss this initiative and the next meeting to is planned for Monday, April 13 from 1:00-3:00 in Room 7000A of the Main Interior Building. Mr. Thorley stated that no discussion of substance regarding this topic will take place at today's meeting because of the sensitive nature of the topic. The FY2000 Budget Initiative will be discussed at the next "Federal Agency Only" Steering Committee on April 23. John Moeller has requested action from the Coordination Group on preparing details for this initiative.
- Action: Coordination Group members identify top 5-7 priority data themes that are necessary for their agency to meet its mission needs. This list should take the Framework data categories as an assumed need and the 5-7 themes are other than the Framework. Please provide this information to Kim Burns-Braidlow by COB Tuesday, April 14.
Action: Coordination Group members identify their agency's mission programs that will be supported by the FY2000 Budget Initiative.
If you have questions or concerns and you are a federal agency, please try to attend the meeting on Monday, April 13 from 1-3:00 in Room 7000A of the Main Interior Building.
Digital Earth - Mr. Moeller met with Tom Kalil of the Executive Office of the President (EOP), National Economic Council to discuss the Vision for the Digital Earth. Mr. Kalil stated the speech was prepared for Vice-President Gore but it was not given, however, the content was given out as background. Currently the Digital Earth is still in the vision stage and the EOP is looking for ideas that can help transition the vision to a reality. Mr. Kalil is putting together a list of specific questions for the Coordination Group and is planning on attending the May Coordination Group meeting to discuss how we can move forward. If you haven't seen the Digital Earth paper, contact Kim Burns-Braidlow for a copy.
Washington DC Geographic Information Coordination - Mr. Moeller attended a meeting hosted by the National Capital Planning Commission in which the Washington Geographic Information System (WGIS) partners discussed the development of an organized WGIS consortium to coordinate geospatial data activities in the Washington DC area. Mr. Moeller suggested that FGDC agencies with field operations in the DC area should actively encourage and support the participation of their agencies in this consortium. Mr. Moeller listed 3 benefits in agencies participating: 1) an effective data coordination mechanism will help the DC area organizations do a better job and be more cost efficient; 2) provide opportunities for agencies not now involved in FGDC at the national level, such as GSA, to become involved; and 3) give the national level offices of some agencies a chance to become more familiar with issues of data coordination at the field level. If you are interested in participating, contact Dave Nystrom with the National Capital Planning Commission at 202/482-6774 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Base Carto Subcommittee Report:
Mark DeMulder distributed copies of the Subcommittee on Base Cartographic Data's (SBCD) 1997 Report of Accomplishments and the 1998 Work Plan. Mr. DeMulder stated the SBCD is beginning to wrap up the Subcommittee's efforts in developing key standards that support Framework themes and ideas: The National Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy (NSSDA), Content Standard for Digital Elevation Data, Content Standard for Digital Orthoimagery, and the SDTS Part 5: Raster Profile and Extensions. The NSSDA is expected to go before the Steering Committee for approval in the next couple of months. The Digital Elevation Data and Digital Orthoimagery Standards have gone through the public review and the adjudication process and are being prepared for the final approval process. And the Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS), Part 5: Raster Profile Extended will be released for public review very soon.
Mr. DeMulder stated that Base Carto is now at a transition point. They expect approval of their standards by late fall, now they are asking "what's next". Mark said one possibility the SBCD may look at is intergrating the seven isolated Framework themes of data. The Intergrated Features Registry activity is also something Base Carto is interested in continuing in pursuing. It was suggested that Base Carto look at the content and subject matter of on-going base cartographic feature activities, and also look at representing FGDC in the LandView and the National Atlas programs. Mr. DeMulder agreed to investigate how the Subcommittee could participate in these programs. Mr. DeMulder asked the Coordination Group to review the 1998 SBCD Work Plan and, in light of the transition in the type of work the SBCD will be performing in the coming year, reassess who from their agencies should be representing them on the SBCD. Mr. DeMulder stated that 4 to 8 people typically attend the SBCD meetings and he would like that to increase attendance.
Report from Standards:
Richard Hogan distributed the Status of FGDC Standards document and stated that the Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standards and the Metadata standard are targeted to go before the Steering Committee for approval at the first meeting following the April 23rd meeting. Mr. Hogan also handed out the Other Information Relevant to the Status of FGDC Standards document and stated that there is an increased need for FGDC to be linked to international activities. At the international level (ISO) Mr. Hogan identified a couple of activities we should be aware of: 1) the proposed Reference Model standard will standardize high level concepts of digital geographic information which will be the basis for all other ISO geographic information standards. To remain consistent with the emerging ISO standards in the field of geographic information, FGDC standards will also have to comply with this model. 2) At the ISO level, work is underway on adoption of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) as the standard method of describing ISO geographic information standards. If approved, this is significant to the FGDC because it would strongly suggest that FGDC adopt UML so we can measure the compatibility of FGDC specifications with the emerging ISO standards for geographic information. 3) The FGDC is playing a major role in forming the US national body comments on the international Metadata standard. This is very important to us because of our desire to keep the international standard compatible to the FGDC standard. 4) Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) was introduced internationally and ISO is looking at how SDTS is divided into modules and profiles. ISO already has a concept of profiles and chances are good that current SDTS implementations will be highly compatible with ISO specifications. 5) FGDC should review its image and raster standards proposals for compatibility with the draft ISO Basic Image Interchange Format (BIIF). In at least one case, SDTS Part 5, Raster Profile with Extensions, the BIFF has been taken into consideration. Mr. Hogan also mentioned that the SDTS is about to be adopted as an ANSI standard. Withdrawal of the FIPS version of the SDTS will follow formal ANSI approval.
Mr. Hogan was asked to explain the relationship between the national and international committees on information technology standards and the National Standards Institute of Technology (NIST). Mr. Hogan explained that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a large administrative body that accredits standards efforts and organizations and adopt other committees standards. There are no ANSI standards committees. The National Committee for Information Technology Standards (NCITS) is an ANSI accredit organization and is recognized as a Standards Development Organization (SDO). NCITS has subcommittees for various types of standards development, L1 is the NCITS GIS subcommittee. FGDC is not an accredited standards organization and the Chair of NCITS has suggested a MOU between FGDC and NCITS to define a process for mutual processing adoption of GIS standards. This is a recognition that many of the specifications being developed by the FGDC are suitable for consideration as American National Standards and could be processed for approval by both communities at the same time provided FGDC follows ANSI and NCITS procedures. This also recognizes that some of the FGDC specifications (e.g. Metadata) are suitable for adoption or adaption by the ISO community for which L1 serves as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group. ANSI accredits NIST, but NIST is no longer a standards setting body itself. ANSI uses NIST to provide guidance for the coordination of Federal, State, and local standards activities with the private sector. OMB Circular A-119 makes NIST, not FGDC, the responsible party for coordinating the Federal and private sector standards activities. The revised A-119 is on the OMB web page. Mr. Hogan highlighted the following changes significant to the FGDC: 1) the revision states that the policies of A-119 apply to ALL policy objectives and activities of federal agencies, including procurement and regulatory activities, 2) a modification directing greater coordination among federal agencies prior to their participation on technical committees of national and international voluntary consensus standards bodies.
Mr. Thorley added an editorial note. The NAPA report lacked the recognition of the rather unique roles the different communities play in a coordinated community endeavor. The fact that only certain people can participate in ISO standards is a stark reminder that the average city cannot do that. Cities can do very important things but there is a need for our community to operate coordinated at different levels within all of our somewhat unique roles. Mr. Hogan's comments are an important reminder that there is a very important interface to the world, at the national level, that even FGDC and its colleagues are simply participants in. We need to track these activities because of the policies coming out of these international standards. They are the ones that are going to be used, at least at the Federal level. Someone is working on the FGDC behalf to ensure FGDC interests are being covered, particularly in the case of NACo, NSGIC and others. It is important for these groups to participate in the FGDC process which is one way for them to make sure their needs are known at the national and international level. Win Lyday has information on who from NACo will be working on the FGDC Subcommittees and Working Groups.
Update on Spatial Water Data Subcommittee Meeting:
Nancy Lopez reported on the Spatial Water Data meeting March 20th. Items on the agenda included a briefing on the National Hydrography Dataset which is a collaboration between the EPA and USGS, the Corps of Engineers gave a briefing on their proposal for Data Content Standard for Coastal and Inland Waterways, Millington Lockwood also talked about shoreline data and standards, many interactions were identified. Ms. Lopez said there is a lot of work that needs to be done and interagency cooperation needs to happen. There will be a meeting on April 15 from 9:00am to Noon, the location will be determined at a later date. The discussion will focus on spatial data needs for watershed assessment and elevation data.
The New Web Look:
Barbara Poore discussed the new look of the web page. We are now on version 3 of the web page and have hired a designer to give us a more professional look. The content is reorganized to more easily find information and a professional search engine will be installed for user's convenience. The Communication Working Group is meeting Arpil 14 and a topic for this group will be working with the Subcommittees and Working Groups to help them create a common FGDC look and feel with their web pages. FGDC Secretariat's office recently purchased a software package called WebTrends that analyzes the web log files. This software can tell you information about who the customers, what they are looking for and where they are being referred from. This packages presents the information in a graphical form.
Upcoming FGDC Meeting Agendas:
The agenda for the May Coordination Group meeting is quickly filling up. Several of the proposed topics are project demonstrations and data access items. It was suggested that there be a special meeting, possibly following the next Coordination Group meeting, that showcased these items. The Secretariat's office will send notification when a determination has been made on the date and location for such a meeeting.
Framework Focus Group Meeting will be held Monday May 4, 1998 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. This meeting will be held at the National Archives - Room 410, 8th and Pennsylvania NW, Washington, DC. The agenda includes: Framework Survey Presentation By Hank Garie - Cooperative Agreement between FGDC and NSGIC; Group Discussion on Framework Survey; and a summary of Framework Plans & Group Discussion "What's Next for Framework Focus Group".
Next Coordination Group Meeting:
The next meeting is schedule for May 5, 1998. The location has not yet been determined.