OMB revises geospatial-systems circular

OMB revises geospatial-systems circular

The Office of Management and Budget last week released a revised OMB Circular A-16 that sets new guidelines for agencies that collect spatial data.

The revision has been in the works for two years. The changes accommodate online spatial data collection and the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s e-government initiative, known as Geospatial One-Stop. This is the first update to the circular, which dates back to 1953, in a dozen years. It was updated once prior to that in 1967.

Geospatial One-Stop is one of OMB's 24 Quicksilver initiatives. Through this Web portal, users will be able to find unclassified spatial information collected by the federal government.

The 1990 revision to A-16 created the interagency Federal Geographic Data Committee. It is composed of representatives from 17 Cabinet and independent agencies.

The revised circular also integrates the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, which will serve as the basis for agencies to establish programs to “acquire, process, distribute, use, maintain and preserve spatial data,” said Milo Robinson, a staff member in the Geographic Information Office at the Geological Survey. Agencies can build archival and retrieval systems on NSDI so data is accessible from a common pool, he said.

The changes to A-16 align the circular with the Geospatial One-Stop effort and 1994’s Executive Order 12906, which established NSDI.

“There was a lot of duplication of effort, and we tried to leverage the fact that Geospatial One-Stop is one of OMB’s e-gov initiatives,” Robinson said.


The revision also “links the management of geographic assets to budget and performance, and assigns lead agencies for specific data layers of NSDI,” according to an OMB statement.

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