Appendix D
Selected Points Raised in Written Comments of Workshop Participants1

Hugh Archer

Kentucky Department for Natural Resources

  • The vision for The National Map is, although not particularly new, quite inspirational. It embodies a direction that NMD and the many potential partners must incorporate and move toward. The vision, however, is not matched to the proposed timetable, realistic budget expectations, a rational implementation plan, and is particularly lacking in any plan to make the necessary partnerships a reality.

  • Most GIS users in the country can create useful base maps right now without the national program, although the National Map vision would certainly expand access to a better base map than many nonprofessionals might have access to today. Today’s broader range of users and possible sources for geospatial data merely complicate the institutional arrangements necessary to take advantage of the growing but disjunct data resources at some national seamless level. A growing number of different resolutions and scales are part of the data resources that would constitute and update The National Map in concept. Necessary standards



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Appendix D Selected Points Raised in Written Comments of Workshop Participants1 Hugh Archer Kentucky Department for Natural Resources The vision for The National Map is, although not particularly new, quite inspirational. It embodies a direction that NMD and the many potential partners must incorporate and move toward. The vision, however, is not matched to the proposed timetable, realistic budget expectations, a rational implementation plan, and is particularly lacking in any plan to make the necessary partnerships a reality. Most GIS users in the country can create useful base maps right now without the national program, although the National Map vision would certainly expand access to a better base map than many nonprofessionals might have access to today. Today’s broader range of users and possible sources for geospatial data merely complicate the institutional arrangements necessary to take advantage of the growing but disjunct data resources at some national seamless level. A growing number of different resolutions and scales are part of the data resources that would constitute and update The National Map in concept. Necessary standards 1   Full documents are available at <http://www7.nationalacademies.org/besr/National_Map_Participants.html>.

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of all types and classifications enumerated in many papers still are only concepts, not a reality of practice. When terrorism strikes again the best preparation (outside of counterintelligence efforts) will be to create a system of high-quality data that is created locally and data mined up through the states and into the federal network. Any value-added items and funding should be sent back down the network. To save lives this data must be sitting on both federal and local authorities’ desks, and they must have it in use. The effort needs to be recognized for how important to all forms of cooperation, communication, and cost-effective services it will be. Perhaps we will see the states, the utilities, the home security institutions, and the private sector associations standing together with USGS explaining how it needs to work to Congress and OMB in the near future. Ernest Baldwin U.S. Government Printing Office Keep the interface simple and readily available to the general public user. If possible, use a standard Web browser interface. To minimize undue complexity, maintenance, and expense, proprietary client software and other products with copyright-like barriers should be avoided. Design The National Map for full functionality over typical connection bandwidths and speeds. National Map designs should target “middle-of-the-road” personal computer, monitor, and printer hardware. Avoid the necessity for bleeding-edge technologies. A compromise may be to design tiered functionality, offering a basic set of functions to lower-end users. The National Map should be accessible to visually impaired users; i.e. (USGS should design in Section 508 compliance). The FDLP and the Cataloging and Indexing program work in concert to provide timely, permanent, no-fee public access to U.S. government publications. This is achieved through the operation of a network of libraries that contain collections of U.S. government publications and provide services to assist the public in using this material; creation and maintenance of tools to identify, describe, locate, and obtain publications; and maintenance of permanent collections of U.S. government publications. U.S. government maps are a significant component of the FDLP, and FDLP distribution of USGS printed maps is accomplished by USGS for GPO, operating under the terms of an interagency agreement. This

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partnership began in the mid-1980s. Since 1996 GPO has been acting under congressional direction to emphasize the use of online information in the FDLP, and today over 60 percent of the new titles in the program are disseminated on the Internet. There is considerable demand for cartographic products in the FDLP. Many depository libraries have deep historical collections of USGS printed maps. The National Atlas maps were selected by over half of the libraries, so it is reasonable to assume that The National Map will receive considerable use from this sector. Yves Belzile Natural Resources Canada The Canadian GeoBase initiative suffers from an “an all things to all people” flavor that generates both unreasonable expectations with the users and skepticism from the suppliers. The access to The National Map data and functionalities need to be easy if we expect the users to accept the operating environment and work from within. The advantages of joining the crowd are undeniable as long as you are capable and can afford doing so. Hugh Bender Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) One issue to bring forward for this summit is that The National Map in concept has been occurring for a number of years within many states. The question is whether the federal government capitalizes on these efforts and assumes a cooperative leadership role in the development of data and coordination of data assimilation. An important change associated with The National Map is that the USGS as the national lead reorganizes itself into an organization that supports the efforts of other agencies, especially federal, in this complex web of coordination and partnerships. In the 21st Century Volunteer Support for the National Map of Texas comes [in the] form of two organizations associated with TNRIS. The first is the Texas Geographic Information Council (TGIC), a group of 40+ local, regional, and state and federal agencies coordinating the development and use of geospatial data and technology in Texas. The second group is the recently created nonprofit corporation, Texas

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Geographic Society, or TxGS. This public-private society is the catalyst for a number of essential elements of The National Map. Technical issues will not decide the success of The National Map, as these are rapidly being resolved throughout this country. Success on a federal level will be achieved through attitudes of cooperation, shared responsibility, and shared or match funding. If the federal government is serious about homeland security then it requires The National Map. Ironically, the best justification for The National Map comes from the sudden interest in homeland security and the obvious benefits for disaster response and prevention. The intelligence community, with the best data at its disposal (local) will prevent many events as it has in the past. The National Map is a chance to increase its success rate by providing higher-quality and consistent data themes at its disposal. Technical challenges include cooperation and partnerships but understanding your customer and consistently making the data easier to use will make the map successful. The experience and approach taken by TNRIS technical staff is based on everyday experience with thousands of regular and new users that cover the spectrum of experience and knowledge of GIS and computers. Recognizing the exponentially growing need by an ever-varied segment of the population means that the time for a National Map has come. Society today is accustomed to receiving accurate information with the click of a mouse 24–7–365, and they assume it is current. Scott Cameron U.S. Department of the Interior Biggest challenges will be (1) coordination among hundreds (thousands) of participants, and (2) developing incentives for state and local governments to share/contribute their data. The Geospatial One-Stop project’s “data acquisition bazaar” may be a useful mechanism by creating a national market for data acquisition, encouraging the economically most efficient allocation of federal, state, and local financial resources.

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Donald Cooke Geographic Data Technology (GDT) It is worth noting that the requirement for getting new addresses into master street address guides, for dispatching emergency services, is within 48 hours of the phone being hooked up. While the technical chores (identifying the fire, police and ambulance zones for a new structure) are simpler than adding a new street to a vector database, this requirement has been routinely achieved for years. As Jack Dangermond said a couple of years back, “We’re moving from months and years (of currentness) to minutes and seconds.” You can’t keep a spatial database updated by replacement and expect the kind of currentness today’s applications require. You have to use transactions. The GIS software folks will have to implement this part of the vision. This is a big deal and won’t be easy; we’ve got to do it. More GIS users need current data than most people believe: Fedex and UPS deliver to contractors on building sites. Waste Management delivers and picks up the dumpsters. Sears Logistics delivers and installs the dishwashers. Workers sustain injuries and require ambulance services. All of this happens before anyone moves in on a new street. This isn’t some future vision; this has been common GIS usage for years. Feature-level metadata is more of a “footnote” metaphor: data about data down at the feature, or attribute, level. The node coordinates at one end of a street vector may have been GPS’ed to 1-meter accuracy, while the coordinates at the other end may have come from a 1:100,000 DLG. This is crucially important information, which must be stored for each node. We’ve been doing this for years at GDT, and I don’t see how we could function without our “confidence codes.” William Craig University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) It is clear that significant coordination and cooperation will be required to weave this data into a whole cloth. One of the major challenges facing this effort is getting the enthusiastic cooperation of state and local government to share their data, especially data they are now licensing and selling to provide income to cover the costs of data collection and maintenance. State and regional coordinating bodies can assist with this effort, but challenges remain.

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A few [research issues] are critical to the success of this effort. Spatial Data Acquisition and Integration…are at the heart of the concept, yet continue to need research and development to yield the desired product. Geographic Information Engineering…includes interoperability and mobile computing, issues that are cutting edge for industry, government, and this initiative. GIS and Society…includes the institutional aspects that are the basis for sharing data. UCGIS scientists have already made significant progress on many of these issues. We are excited by the prospect of having our work contribute to the realization of The National Map. Patti Day American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee USGS should work with the FGDC and Geospatial One-Stop to facilitate the alignment of roles, responsibilities, and resources at the state and local levels. USGS should work with Geospatial One-Stop and I-Teams on multisector coordination, development, and implementation of standards to create the consistency needed for interoperability. Shoreh Elhami Delaware County Auditor’s Office, Ohio There isn’t enough mention of local government’s role in general. Even the previous meetings and workshops have not included as much local government representation as it should have…. Since there will be a lot of requests made to local governments for datasets, as customized data and applications become available, would the locals have to pay for those add-on services? It would make sense to make these services available to them free of change as an incentive so they would continue their cooperation with USGS…. Why not use the state or regional consortiums instead of adding another level of bureaucracy…. Generally, the question is, what is USGS’s strategy when it comes to changes in government (as a result of elections) and its impact on cooperative agreements?

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Jeanne Foust Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) The National Map will be the foundation on which a number of additional data layers are built that are vital to the private sector. For example, the flood plain maps produced by FEMA are directly based on the digital elevation data created by topographic map series from USGS. Insurance companies use the flood plain plus topographic data for insurance underwriting. Banks must include a flood plain data marker for every building mortgage they fund. Census geographic and associated demographic data for retail site selection and market area planning are also tied to a national base map. Dennis Goreham State of Utah, Automatic Geographic Reference Center The National Map must have measurable outcomes/performance measures that include consequences for nonperformance. To encourage broad-based participation, The National Map must be easy to understand, easy to participate in, and have obvious benefits for all stakeholders. Charles E.Harne Bureau of Land Management A necessary part of these [National Map] partnerships will be acknowledging local requirements and specifications, at the expense of a national standard. Because of different requirements and budgets, datasets resulting from these partnerships will be an eclectic and overlapping assortment of elevation data and of imagery data…. It will be tempting to normalize raster coverages so that they offer a more manageable serving environment. With this approach overlapping coverages would not be supported…. It may be preferable to store all coverages at full resolution and retain their unique attributes. Likewise, overlapping coverages should be available to provide the user the ability to specify their data preferences…. Exactly how this capability can be developed requires additional investigation. Nothing described above is beyond the capability of existing technology. Various strategies, such as cascading servers

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could be employed to distribute “on-the-fly” processing. In any case The National Map program will have to evaluate user requirements for serving raster data from different sources and multiple coverages and arrive at a serving strategy that emphasizes the user and not the system. Mike Mahaffie Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination An uncoordinated approach to the development and use of spatial data wastes taxpayer money and reduces the value of information generated by the use of that data. It is wasteful and duplicative for different agencies and levels of government to invest time and money in the creation and maintenance of the same datasets. It is important that The National Map effort tie in closely with the conceptual approach of the NSDI and of state-level Framework efforts. In that regard The National Map and NSDI must maintain a strict focus on those data sets that are truly needed for Framework. There is a tendency for Framework efforts to become somewhat side-tracked into including datasets that are easy, politically popular at the moment, or otherwise “of the moment.” While the current focus on homeland security is laudable, necessary, and important and will provide some impetus for data collection and maintenance, our long-term focus on Framework data should not be lost. Nor should it be side-tracked into only security-related data. A key to making The National Map work will be ensuring that data stewardship is established at the lowest practical level of government. Robert Marx U.S. Bureau of the Census Only with a willingness on the part of every organization to “give a little” can the nation achieve this highly desirable objective. This project is large enough that if each organization adopts the “give a little” mentality, the benefits, direct and indirect, to it and the nation will be enormous. The concepts documented in the report are worthy and attainable (with the possible exception of the goal for seven-day vintage on a national scale). Others have raised the issue of “currentness” being the source of “value” to some potential data suppliers. In the context of adopting the “give a little” mentality, this is an issue on which compromise

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clearly is needed. Federal agencies, and I suspect most state/local/tribal agencies governed by open records statutes, generally cannot abide requests for licensure/copyright/royalties. The concept of “update only” databases likely is technically possible, but will require much work on the part of data producers, data users, and software vendors. Implementation of the concept requires rigid adherence to some sort of “time stamping” mechanism on the part of every data provider, similar time stamping on the part of every data user (to know when they last acquired updates from a data provider), and software that uses both items of information to determine which specific changes qualify for transfer. Simple in concept, probably not simple in execution. Anne Hale Miglarese National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Ocean Service) The National Ocean Service strongly supports The National Map vision and is eager to see this initiative succeed. Several ongoing federal initiatives are working toward similar goals [as The National Map], such as the Geospatial One-Stop initiative. It is not clear how The National Map will coordinate with this effort. The fact that The National Map has an almost entirely terrestrial focus raises concerns for the National Ocean Service. Because U.S. resource jurisdiction extends to the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, a National Map should include data that describe ocean resources and boundaries. Has the USGS given consideration to the fact that The National Map may significantly alter and potentially expand their customer user base? Redefining the primary customer could help to identify which data products to include in The National Map. The next step in moving forward with The National Map vision would be to develop an implementation strategy or business plan to help clarify some of the issues described in subsequent sections, as well as outline areas for partnership participation. It would also be helpful to prioritize tasks and provide a timeline for each component in order to make the transition from vision to reality. While it is possible to merge data of various sources and types to a common form, the term “high resolution” should be defined as well as

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the definition of the resolution of the data for various types (urban, rural, hydrology). If the system is to be distributed with updates provided from remote servers, how will the USGS mandate and enforce data quality and accuracy? A detailed maintenance plan should be developed that creates an established protocol for data updates, verification, and maintenance and assigns responsibility for the completion of each task. Developing a national land-cover classification scheme that is useful to a wide customer base will be difficult. Scott Oppman Oakland County, Michigan A successful National Map proposal must include local governments in its primary mission, not as a secondary partner. The following tenets, or principles, of local government further support this premise: Local governments manage the most accurate and current source of information, whether it’s automated or in a hardcopy format. Local governments are always the first responder to an emergency, natural disaster, or public inquiry. Local governments have an in-depth knowledge of the customer, constituents, and local politics. In addition, customers or constituents generally rely on local governments to resolve specific issues affecting them. John Palatiello Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors There is an extraordinary untapped private sector that can contribute to The National Map and help the USGS [achieve] its national mapping goals. James Plasker American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing This is a massive undertaking! The very core concept of The National Map requires the full participation of tens of thousands of

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individuals and organizations, their managers and employees, and even members of the public as a whole, in a carefully choreographed effort that will maximize access to the best and most recent data while providing an adequate, if intangible, return to the collaborators so as to retain a sufficient level of interest and commitment to ensure continuing data flow. This is likely to be much more of a social engineering challenge than a scientific or technical challenge, and will require a complete overhaul of the current USGS executive and managerial mindset. USGS prides itself on being a science agency; their motto is “science for a changing world.” Yet there is very little traditional “science” in The National Map concept in the way most USGS executives and managers understand earth science. Without a changed mindset from top to bottom at USGS it will not be possible to obtain or sustain the necessary fiscal, technical, human, and political resources that will be critical to achievement of this vision. One only must ask the question “How will The National Map be prioritized within internal USGS funding requests?” to understand the most elemental of challenges. If there is no clear evidence that participation in The National Map will yield immediate or short-term program benefits to that organization, then the chances of partnership participation dwindle significantly. For the concept to work, every organization with relevant data must think first of the greater good to be derived from The National Map, rather than what their small piece of that map is worth to them. Clearly the benefits of The National Map far outweigh the investment necessary to accomplish the concept. Clearly the vision is stimulating and exciting, and probably even doable. However, without adequate investment in this endeavor, the nation will not see those benefits. J.Milo Robinson Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) The key to realizing this simple but powerful vision is coordination. Unfortunately geographic data coordination is a difficult problem. It is a problem that has long been recognized and dates back to the 1840s. The 2002 revision of Circular A-16 contains many changes from the previous 1990 version. Some of the key changes are that the circular expands responsibilities to include more government programs, not just the traditional mapping programs…. Perhaps more importantly, a new

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section incorporating the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) has been added. Circular A-16, as well as activities surrounding e-government provides policy guidance to The National Map. The characteristics of spatial data need to be so well known that they can be run independently by different organizations, yet yield the same basic information in an easily understood manner both to people and computers. The National Map must drive the development of geospatial primitives like clocks help us to tell time. Web mapping services (WMS) offer great potential to simplify the organization of spatial information in a meaningful way…. FGDC is working closely with the Open GIS Consortium to implement WMS in the Geospatial One-Stop initiative. The National Map has implemented some WMS with success. This approach should be accelerated. Circular A-16 identifies two themes, geologic and biologic, that are not specifically included in The National Map. This could be an oversight in promoting integrated science within USGS. The USGS needs to provide national leadership. The United States lacks a strong mapping authority. This is evident by the 1998 NAPA recommendations for consolidation of basic mapping functions into a single agency. Leadership can stimulate coordination between the disparate efforts of multiple agencies resulting in a virtual consolidation of agencies and a strong multipurpose spatial data infrastructure that is needed for The National Map as well as the NSDI. The National Map calls for a federal advisory committee—a new committee. Perhaps USGS efforts in The National Map could make use of FGDC. Should specific limitations of a current FGDC be problematic, then USGS should work to change them. Recently OMB has urged the creation of joint business plans using OMB Circular 11 Exhibit 300 submissions…. A joint business plan involving multiple federal agencies, that complements the e-government initiative Geospatial One-Stop as well as individual agency mission needs, would clearly be well received by OMB. This is a new opportunity to advance The National Map and NSDI In addition to the National Map state liaisons, USGS should look to develop a network of State data advisors in collaboration with FGDC agencies. Several FGDC agencies have state presence…NGS, NASA, USDA, and BLM. The National Map will need to develop certification procedures, processes, and roles that foster a coordinated spatial data infrastructure. It is possible that state spatial data advisors could work with state and

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local partners, as well as volunteers, so they become certified providers of National Map data or services. Enterprise architecture should play an important role in the development of The National Map as well as the NSDI. Currently OMB is working to develop reference models for federal enterprise architecture (FEA). The National Map is predicated upon the FEA. It is time to transform USGS’s National Mapping “from a mapping service organization to the federal agency responsible for structuring and coordinating the geographic or spatial component of the national infrastructure.” (From Spatial Data Needs: The Future of the National Mapping Program [NRC, 1990]). Curt Sumner American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, Inc. (ACSM) ACSM contends that any data collected should include metadata acknowledging how the data is collected and to what standard of accuracy. This is a critical element for any body of data so that users will know what level of confidence to place in it. The most common datum utilized is geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) that can be easily converted to state plane coordinate system values. The National Spatial Reference System provides a network of highly accurate horizontal and vertical reference points on which positions should be based. Standards for data collection also help to eliminate duplication and allow for multiple use of geographic data. ACSM would very much like to assist USGS in developing these standards for The National Map. Partnerships with the public are discussed on page 15 of the [vision] document. This section proposes the use of a volunteer force predicated on the “anticipated widespread availability of Global Positioning System capabilities in personal devices,” and a training program for that force. ACSM feels that further discussion of this concept is warranted with regard to the anticipated accuracy of data collected and the potential end use of the data. Liabilities associated with unintended, and even unauthorized, collection and use of data such as that to be depicted on The National Map need to be considered. In fact, some states have developed rules that outline what types of GPS data collection must be conducted by licensed professional surveyors because of incorrect data provided by well-meaning individuals.

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Eugene Trobia National States Geographic Information Council Build partnerships to utilize states as area integrators (concept from the NSDI Framework). Update The National Map based on transactions, not snapshots. Ian Von Essen Washington State Geographic Information Council The events of September 11th only underscore that all of us have a real need for a consistent, accurate, and reliable set of geographic data that is readily available and accessible to all levels of government. It is imperative that our first responders have a single consistent mapping framework, ensuring rapid deployment in emergency situations. We need to be proactive in minimizing the confusion that our first responders often face with the current state of incompatible maps and data. For us to serve the needs of the twenty-first century, we need a USGS-supported National Map, just as the USGS’s topographic maps aptly served the needs of the past century. John Voycik Greenhorn and O’Mara, Inc. Digital data sources are extremely useful for many applications. There is now and will be in the foreseeable future an ongoing reliance on the paper (lithographic) USGS quadrangle map sheets.