Grants seed mapping projects

The Federal Geographic Data Committee has released applications for $1 million in grants to help organizations work toward making digital geographic data consistent and accessible.

Teams of organizations awarded money in the fiscal 2001 National Spatial Data Infrastructure Cooperative Agreement Program will develop projects to further the NSDI effort. That effort is aimed at improving the ability of disparate organizations nationwide to produce, share and use geographic data.

"The idea is to stimulate actions that will hopefully keep going within organizations" after a project's one-year funding is used up, said John Moeller, staff director of the FGDC. He described the grants as "seed money to encourage organizations to build partnerships toward implementing the NSDI—to find out what works."

Teams of federal, state and local governments, academic institutions and regional, tribal, for-profit and nonprofit organizations may apply. Applications must be filed by March 14, and the FGDC will notify winners in July.

The FGDC will award projects in four categories, two of which deal with geographic metadata—data describing geographic data—which the FGDC says "is a basic first step in implementing the NSDI." A third addresses Web mapping that is compliant with Open GIS Consortium Inc. standards, and the last, with more stringent requirements, involves supporting a framework—data sets of common geographic features—that can be shared by U.S. and Canadian organizations.

The FGDC expects to award about 40 metadata projects, 10 Web mapping projects and two framework projects. Moeller said he expects the FGDC to receive 70 to 100 applications.

Since the program's inception in 1994, the FGDC has awarded grants for more than 300 projects, he said.

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