Anne Hale Miglarese, Principal with Booz Allen Hamilton and chairperson of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) provided an assessment as to where she believes progress has been (or not) made to date in establishing a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The NGAC is an independent group established to advise the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) on the needs of public and private entities responsible for creating and supporting the nation’s digital geographic infrastructure. She presented her findings at the 2010 Intergraph Users Conference in Las Vegas this week.
Miglarese parses the NSDI into four key areas and for each she assigned a grade:
- Technology = "A minus" an indication that problems associated in establishing and NSDI area really not technological in nature.
- Data = "C minus" which is an acknowledgment that over the course of NSDI progress the role of the federal government has changed from that of one supplying the data to state and local entities to one nearly reversed where the states have taken it upon themselves to acquire better data and in some cases establishing statewide SDIs.
- People = "C" and indication of some dissatisfaction in an area that is fundamental to moving NSDI forward
- Policy and institutional arrangements = "C minus minus" – “We have not been able to fund and coordinate [NSDI],” said Miglarese who also said she would have given it a “D” but didn’t want to hurt the feelings of her friends in the government. It’s an acknowledgment of near failure and the inability to make progress by the FGDC. In the meantime private corporations have filled a leadership void like Google and Microsoft who have bought innovative companies to help them create a “de facto” national map. And truly, how does the FGDC make progress. Have you taken a look at the number of agencies and departments represented on that body? How any decision is made approaches the miraculous.
Miglarese commented on the trends facing the geospatial technology industry in particular in the area of crowd sourced data. She believes that data crowed sourced data will be the most “authoritative data” around.
And progress by the NGAC? Miglarese points to the endorsement and recommendations on Imagery for the Nation; approval of the “Changing Geospatial Landscape” White Paper” (download from FGDC website); Approval of Administration Transition Recommendations to support the change in federal administration; Endorsement and Recommendations on National Land Parcel Data Study; Approval of Economic Recovery “lessons learned” paper; Approval of Geospatial Policy Benefits Paper. Most can be downloaded from the FGDC website.
Miglarese also suggested that the new Geospatial Platform Initiative is the next step for the NSDI. “it is the technology that will help us get around some of our policy issues,” said Miglarese. In addition, she sees large emphasis on cloud computing and guidance from OMB’s Vivek Kundra to do so.