Appendix B. FGDC Structure and Membership


The explosive growth of technologies that produce and leverage geospatial information has created enormous opportunities as well as considerable challenges for the Federal Government.


The effective use of geospatial information requires close coordination among the many agencies involved in its development. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A–16 was originally issued in 1953, revised in 1967, and revised again in 1990 and 2002. It created the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) as the interagency coordinating body to promote development, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data. By Executive Order 12906 in 1994, the FGDC was charged to develop the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).


The NSDI encompasses the technology, policies, standards, and human resources necessary to acquire, process, store, distribute, and improve utilization of geospatial data for a variety of users nationwide. The FGDC’s leadership role is critical as the importance of geospatial capabilities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government is recognized.


OMB Circular A-16 (revised August 2002) incorporates Executive Order 12906 and reaffirms the FGDC’s role to provide leadership for the NSDI with the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of the Nation’s geospatial data. In 2008, the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) was established as a Federal advisory committee sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior.


FGDC Structure

The FGDC is governed by a steering committee that sets its high-level strategic direction. An Executive Committee of officials from agencies with a major geospatial component in their mission provides additional guidance to the steering committee. Advice and recommendations on Federal and national geospatial programs come from the NGAC. The Coordination Group advises on the FGDC’s day-to-day business, which is carried out by the FGDC Secretariat located at the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Va.


The FGDC infrastructure also includes committees, agency-led working groups and subcommittees, and collaborating partners representing organizations from State, Tribal, and local governments, as well as industry and academic and professional groups. All initiate and support the following activities crucial to expanding the NSDI:


  • Developing and establishing the National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse on the Internet.
  • Developing and implementing standards.
  • Creating a national digital geospatial data framework. The framework covers seven fundamental geographic themes: geodetic control, elevation, orthoimagery, transportation, hydrography, governmental units, and cadastral information.
  • Promoting collaborative relationships for sharing geospatial data among non-Federal partners.
  • Developing policies and processes to better harmonize collective action.




Chart showing the structure of the Federal Geographic Data Committee.


Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is the policy-level interagency group responsible for overseeing OMB Circular A–16-related activities and implementation of the NSDI. It provides executive leadership and establishes policy to coordinate geospatial activities between, among, and within Federal agencies. The Committee meets three to four times per year in Washington, D.C., and is composed of senior agency officials for geospatial information (SAOGIs).


The Secretary of the Interior or designee chairs the FGDC Steering Committee, which is composed of representatives from Federal organizations, including the Executive Office of the President and Cabinet-level and independent Federal agencies. The Deputy Director for Management of the OMB or designee serves as Vice Chair.


A subset of the Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, meets more frequently and is responsible for providing guidance and helping move forward critical decisions. The Executive Committee makes recommendations to the Steering Committee and provides a focal point for coordination with the NGAC.



2008 Steering Committee Members

Chair, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

?James E. Cason

Vice Chair, Administrator, Electronic Government and Information Technology (IT), Office of Management and Budget

?Karen S. Evans

U.S. Department of Agriculture

*?Charles R. Christopherson, Jr.

U.S. Department of Commerce

*?Joseph F. Klimavicz

U.S.Department of Defense

*?Steven P. Wallach

U.S. Department of Education

*Mark Schneider

U.S. Department of Energy

*Tom Pyke

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

*John L. Teetet

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

*Darlene F. Williams

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

*?Richard F. Mangogna

U.S. Department of the Interior

*James E. Cason

U.S. Department of the Interior

Tim Petty

U.S. Department of Justice

*Vance E. Hitch

U.S. Department of Labor

*Patrick Pizzella

U.S. Department of State

*Susan Swart

U.S. Department of Transportation

*Dr. Steve Dillingham

U.S. Department of the Treasury

*Peter McCarthy

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

*Mark Gorenflo

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

*?Molly A. O'Neill

Federal Communications Commission

Julius Knapp

General Services Administration

*Diane L. Herdt

Library of Congress

*Dr. John Hébert

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

*?Charles J. Gay

National Archives and Records Administration

*Michael J. Kurtz

National Science Foundation

*Jarvis Moyers

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

*Darren Ash

Office of Personnel Management

*Janet L. Barnes

Small Business Administration

*Michael P. McHale

Smithsonian Institution


Social Security Administration


Tennessee Valley Authority

*Roy Teal

U.S. Agency for International Development

*Michael Hess

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

James C. Dalton

*Designated Senior Agency official for Geospatial Information
?Executive Committee Members



Coordination Group

The FGDC Coordination Group advises on the day-to-day business of the FGDC, carrying out the interagency coordination and implementation of the NSDI at the operational level. It also facilitates and oversees the work of the FGDC subcommittees and working groups. The Coordination Group meets monthly in Washington, D.C., and is composed of representatives from Federal agencies and collaborating partners.



2008 Coordination Group Members

U.S. Department of Agriculture

    USDA Geospatial Projects Manager

Dennis Crow

    Natural Resources Conservation Service

Marisa Capriotti

    U.S. Forest Service

Betsy Kanalley

    Farm Service Agency

Shirley Hall

U.S. Department of Commerce

    U.S. Census Bureau

Randy Fusaro

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Tony LaVoi

U.S. Department of Defense

    Business Domain

David LaBranche

    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Mark DeMulder

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Nancy Blyler

U.S. Department of Education


U.S. Department of Energy

David Morehouse

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Scott McAfee

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Jon Sperling

U.S. Department of the Interior

    Bureau of Land Management

Don Buhler

    Minerals Management Service

Jim Fulmer

    National Park Service

Joe Gregson

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Doug Vandegraft

    U.S. Geological Survey

Bob Pierce

U.S. Department of Justice

    National Institute of Justice

Lew Sanford
Alt: Rani Balasubramanyam

U.S. Department of Labor


U.S. Department of State

Ray Milefsky

U.S. Department of Transportation

Mark Bradford

U.S. Department of the Treasury


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Dat Tran
Alt: Pheakdey Lim

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Wendy Blake-Coleman

Federal Communications Commission

Donald Campbell

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Susan Tseng

General Services Administration

John D'Alessandro
Alt: Sandra Downie

Library of Congress

Colleen Cahill and
Jacqueline Nolan

National Academy of Sciences

Maria Uhle

National Archives and Records Administration

Brett Abrams

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Francis Lindsay

National Capital Planning Commission

Shane Dettman

National Science Foundation


Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Office of Personnel Management


Small Business Administration


Smithsonian Institution


Social Security Administration


Tennessee Valley Authority

Charles Smart

U.S. Agency for International Development




National Geospatial Advisory Committee

The National Geospatial Advisory Committee was established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is an advisory body that provides advice and recommendations on Federal geospatial policy and management issues and a forum to convey views representative of partners in the geospatial community. NGAC membership includes representatives from 28 Government and nongovernmental organizations. The NGAC holds public forums to discuss geospatial activities and solicits input from State, Tribal, regional, and local governments, academic institutions, and the private sector.


National Geospatial Advisory Committee Mission Statement

The mission of the NGAC is to provide advice on strategies regarding the creation, management, and dissemination of cohesive geospatial data, information, and knowledge to enable commercial, academic, and nonprofit organizations and all levels of government to more effectively—


  • Empower and serve the public
  • Protect the homeland
  • Foster economic growth
  • Advance science
  • Manage the Nation’s resources
  • Govern the Nation
  • Prepare for and respond to emergencies


2008 National Geospatial Advisory Committee Members

Anne Hale Miglarese, NGAC Chair

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

Steven P. Wallach, NGAC Vice Chair

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Sean Ahearn

Hunter College?City University of New York

Timothy M. Bull Bennett

North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges

Michael Byrne

State of California

Allen Carroll

National Geographic Society

David J. Cowen

University of South Carolina

Jack Dangermond


Donald G. Dittmar

Waukesha County, Wisconsin

Dennis B. Goreham

State of Utah

Kass Green

The Alta Vista Company

Randy Johnson

Hennepin County, Minnesota

Randall L. Johnson

Metropolitan Council, St. Paul, Minnesota

Jerry J. Johnston

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Barney Krucoff

District of Columbia

Timothy Loewenstein

Buffalo County, Nebraska

David F. Maune


Charles Mondello

Pictometry International

Zsolt Nagy

State of North Carolina

Kim Nelson

Microsoft Corporation

Matthew O'Connell


John M. Palatiello

Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors

Jay Parrish

State of Pennsylvania

G. Michael Ritchie

Photo Science

David Schell

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.

Eugene A. Schiller

Southwest Florida Water Management District

Christopher Tucker


Ivan B. DeLoatch, NGAC Designated Federal Officer (DFO)

Federal Geographic Data Committee


Secretariat Staff

The FGDC Secretariat Staff provides support for the FGDC subcommittees and performs the following tasks:


  • Administers the FGDC standards program.
  • Initiates and participates in FGDC Subcommittees and working groups.
  • Drafts policies and procedures for consideration and approval by the Coordination Group, Steering Committee, and Executive Committee.
  • Provides support to the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC).
  • Administers the NSDI Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP).
  • Administers the FGDC International Spatial Data Infrastructure program.
  • Manages the NSDI training and outreach program.
  • Maintains the FGDC web site.
  • Manages all administrative requirements associated with scheduling and conducting meetings.
  • Undertakes staff analysis, technical development, and other activities on behalf of the Coordination Group.


2008 Secretariat Staff

Staff Director

Ivan DeLoatch

Deputy Staff Director

Kenneth Shaffer

Senior Advisor to Staff Director

John Mahoney

Senior Program Analyst

Lew Sanford

Program Assistant

Carol Greenough

Program Assistant

Vanessa Hardnett


Arista Salimi Mahar

Clearinghouse Coordinator

Doug Nebert

FGDC Interagency Liaison

Patricia Phillips

Framework and Cooperating States Coordinator

Milo Robinson

Metadata Coordinator

Sharon Shin

Standards Coordinator

Julie Binder Maitra

Training and Education/Tribal Liaison Coordinator

Bonnie Gallahan

NSDI CAP Coordinator

Brigitta Urban-Mathieux


Vaishal Sheth

Program Analyst

Roxanne Lamb


Thematic Subcommittees

OMB Circular A–16 enumerates 34 data themes of national significance and assigns responsibility for each of the themes to one or more Federal agencies. FGDC thematic subcommittees are established for nine of the data themes.


Federal agencies lead the thematic subcommittees; each subcommittee focuses on a particular NSDI spatial data theme. Lead agency responsibilities and new data themes may be added or altered by FGDC recommendation and OMB concurrence.


Definitions of the nine active thematic subcommittees appear in the table to the right.



Thematic Subcommittees by Lead Agency and Definition

Thematic subcommittee

Lead agency

Definition of spatial data theme



The geographic extent of past, current, and future right, title, and interest in real property; the framework to support the description of that geographic extent. Geographic extent includes survey and description frameworks.

Cultural and Demographic Statistics


Geospatially referenced data that describe characteristics of people: nature of structures in which they live and work; economic and other activities they pursue; facilities they use to support their health, recreational, and other needs; environmental consequences of their presence; boundaries, names, and numeric codes of geographic entities used to report information collected.

*Geodetic Control


Common reference system for establishing coordinates for all geographic data. All NSDI framework data and users' applications data require geodetic control to accurately register spatial data. The National Spatial Reference System is the fundamental geodetic control for the United States.



Geologic mapping information and related geoscience spatial data that can contribute to a National Geologic Map Database as pursuant to Public Law 106-148.

Marine and Coastal Spatial Data


The subcommittee, through its member agencies and the FGDC, develops strategic partnerships, relevant standards, collaborative tools, and outreach that will enhance access to and utility of coastal and ocean framework data.

*Spatial Water Data (Advisory Committee on Water Information)

Co-leaders: DOI USGS and USDA NRCS

The Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) advises the Federal Government, through DOI USGS, on the coordination of Federal water information programs. The purpose of ACWI is to represent the interests of water information users and professionals on activities and plans related to Federal water information programs and the effectiveness of those programs in meeting the Nation’s water information needs.



Used to model geographic locations, interconnectedness, and characteristics of transportation systems in the United States; includes physical and nonphysical components representing all modes of travel that enable movement of goods and people between locations.


USDA Forest Service

Collection of plants or plant communities with distinguishable characteristics that occupy an area of interest. Existing vegetation covers or is visible at or above land or water surface and does not include abiotic factors that tend to describe potential vegetation.



Provides classification, location, and extent of wetlands and deepwater habitats; no attempt is made to define the proprietary limits or jurisdictional wetland boundaries of any Federal, State, or local agencies.

* Indicates framework theme.
Note: Abbreviations are defined in the glossary in Appendix D.


FGDC Working Groups

Working groups crosscut the subcommittees and focus on infrastructure issues common to many of the NSDI data themes. Descriptions of the active working groups are listed in the table below.



FGDC Working Groups by Lead Agency and Description

Working group

Lead agency


Biological Data


The Biological Data Working Group promotes development and coordination of standards for biological data in order to increase compatibility in the development, use, sharing, and dissemination of biological data among government agencies and other interested institutions. The working group develops means to facilitate the sharing and consistent use of biological data standards and protocols, and encourages interagency partnerships in developing and implementing these standards and protocols. The working group helps integrate biological data standards activities into the National Spatial Data Infrastructure and the National Biological Information Infrastructure.



FGDC is tasked by Executive Order 12906 to develop procedures for and assist in the implementation of a distributed discovery mechanism for digital geospatial data. Using the data elements defined in the FGDC Metadata Standard, governmental, nonprofit, and commercial participants publish their geospatial resources to the Clearinghouse Network.

Geospatial Enterprise Architecture Community of Practice


The primary objective of the Geospatial Enterprise Architecture Community of Practice (COP) is to improve the understanding and integration of geospatial concepts by mainstream governmental business planners and technical practitioners through a variety of outreach mechanisms. The COP was convened through the request of the Architecture and Infrastructure Committee of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council and FGDC to develop guidance known as the "Geospatial Profile of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA)."

Historical Data


The Historical Data Working Group promotes an awareness among Federal agencies of the historical dimension to geospatial data; to facilitate the long-term retention, storage, and accessibility of selected historically valuable geospatial data; and to establish a mechanism for the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of historically valuable geospatial data that have been financed in whole or part by Federal funds.

Homeland Security


The Homeland Security Working Group ensures that the NSDI supports the preparation for, prevention of, protection against, response to, and recovery from threats to the Nation's population centers and critical infrastructures that are of terrorist, criminal, accidental, or natural origin and related adverse events.

Marine Boundary


The Marine Boundary Working Group fosters integrated approaches to the legal and geospatial descriptions of marine boundaries and mapping of marine boundary features within the territorial waters of the United States. The goals of the working group are to make maximum use of public resources to avoid duplicating efforts; provide a venue for communicating and coordinating on marine boundary activities; and to use standardized methodologies to produce more complete and usable marine boundary data, metadata, and charts.



The Metadata Working Group promotes and coordinates geospatial metadata activities among FGDC member agencies in support of the NSDI. The Metadata Working Group promotes awareness among FGDC member agencies of the metadata dimension to geospatial data; facilitates the evolution and revision of the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata; and establishes a mechanism for the coordination, development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial metadata among FGDC member agencies.



The FGDC Standards Working Group (SWG) actively promotes and coordinates FGDC standards activities. The SWG provides guidance on FGDC standards policy and procedures, facilitates coordination between subcommittees having overlapping standards activities, and reviews and makes recommendations on the approval of standards proposals, draft standards for public review, and draft standards for FGDC endorsement.

Note: Abbreviations are defined in the glossary in Appendix D.



Collaborating Partners

The FGDC involves public interest groups who participate within the committee structure to ensure that their needs are included in developing the NSDI. These collaborating partners include State, Tribal, and local governments; academic institutions; and a broad array of private sector geographic, statistical, demographic, and other business information providers and users. NSDI strives to build upon local data wherever possible.


Collaborating partnerships are open to public, private, and nonprofit organizations with missions complementary to the FGDC. Organizations interested in becoming partners are invited to send a written request to the FGDC Chair. Current non-Federal collaborating partners include the organizations listed to the right.



Collaborating Partners and Descriptions



American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM)

A nonprofit educational organization that advances the sciences of surveying and mapping and related fields to further the welfare of those who use and make maps.

Association of American Geographers (AAG)

A scientific and educational society whose members share interests in the theory, methods, and practice of geography and geographic education.

Cartographic Users Advisory Council (CUAC)

An organization of representatives from national and regional library organizations, dedicated to cartographic interests.

Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA)

A nonprofit educational association serving the global geospatial community.

International City/County Management Association (ICMA)

A professional and educational organization for chief appointed managers, administrators, and assistants in cities, towns, counties, and regional entities throughout the world.

National Association of Counties (NACo)

Advances issues with a unified voice before the Federal Government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money.

National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO)

Represents State CIOs and information resource executives and managers from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 6 U.S. territories.

National League of Cities (NLC)

Strengthens and promotes cities as centers of opportunity, leadership, and governance.

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC)

Provides a unified voice on geographic information and technology issues, advocates State interests, and supports its membership in their statewide initiatives.

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® (OGC)

A nonprofit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization of more than 365 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities; leads the development of standards for geospatial and location-based services.

University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS)

A nonprofit organization of more than 50 universities and other research institutions.

Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)

Facilitates the use and integration of information technologies to improve the quality of life in urban and regional environments.

Western Governors' Association (WGA)

Addresses important policy and governance issues in the West, advances the role of the western States in the Federal system, and strengthens the social and economic fabric of the region.

Note: Abbreviations are defined in the glossary in Appendix D.


Main Report

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D