integration; (7) focus on data content; and (8) show potential for early, visible success. These prioritization criteria led to the committee’s recommendation for CEGIS’s initial general areas of research and guided subsequent recommendations for detailed research within these areas.
RECOMMENDATION 2: The three priority research areas for CEGIS should be (1) information access and dissemination, (2) integration of data from multiple sources, and (3) data models and knowledge organization systems.
Investigating New Methods for Information Access and Dissemination. Access to information content by users is a key success factor at many levels for The National Map. The USGS disciplines need effective data access to carry out their missions. Other federal and state agencies need effective interfaces to The National Map content so that their organizations can maximize productivity when working with national and local data. This priority also supports society in general, since citizens need access to a trusted, up-to-date source of geospatial data for the nation that is easy and flexible to use. This diversity of users, from government agency experts to ordinary citizens, represents a significant challenge for effective information access and dissemination. In addition, this is an area with potential for visible early success enabling interim milestones in CEGIS’s longer-term research agenda.
Supporting Integration of Data from Multiple Sources. Given the diversity of source data from state and local agencies as well as many add-on themes and the desire for multidisciplinary research across USGS, achieving efficient and accurate data integration is fundamental to the effectiveness of The National Map and will be a unique feature of The National Map relative to other online geospatial data sources. Within USGS, researchers in the biology, geography, geology, and water disciplines will need to find common reference data in The National Map and be able to load and share their thematic layers. Furthermore, the types of models and forms of spatial analysis that are increasingly needed to solve social and environmental problems will require that spatial data sets can be integrated in real time. CEGIS will have to find solutions to integrating data with widely varied quality, scale, and resolution.
Developing Data Models and Knowledge Organization Systems. To support society in general, The National Map will need both the semantic flexibility of a well-designed framework and models that enable a variety of user queries. This research will transform The National Map database into a comprehensive geographic knowledge base enabling knowledge discovery and analysis far beyond the typical mapping portal. This objective will likely require the most research effort, but will deliver enormous power to The National Map application and lead to its clear differentiation from other web-based products.