Restructuring of the FGDC to have it report to the Director of USGS, evaluate and modify the current subcommittee structure and responsibilities, and focus FGDC staff on interagency non-partisan brokering with federal agencies;
Establishing management and oversight accountability that must involve OMB.
The committee is fully supportive of these recommendations, but disappointed that—as a consequence of its mandate—the design team could not focus on the role that the private sector potentially could play in furthering the goals of the NSDI.
The establishment of a single portal for coastal geospatial data, together with a series of support tools for data transformation, processing, and integration, will go a long way toward addressing many of the concerns of this committee and the user community. Such tools and databases must also be supported by education and training, so that the user community understands and appreciates the limitations of the various datasets and their appropriate application. Documentation describing the data collection methods and processing tools used (beyond the brief descriptions provided by metadata) must be made available to the community. For example, the USGS Seafloor Mapping Group Web site3 provides excellent background information on the various acoustic methods used to collect mapping data offshore. The new Oregon Coastal Atlas4 has similar information about data collection and processing, in addition to providing data.
Training courses and workshops for users are also essential, and agency efforts should be expanded to provide users of their information with the knowledge and tools necessary for intelligent application of the data. The CSC has paved the way in providing these services to users, and these services should either be utilized more effectively by other agencies or be used as a model for other agencies to emulate in transforming their data into useful information.