Interior moves forward with Geospatial One-Stop

Interior moves forward with Geospatial One-Stop

The team working on Geospatial One-Stop intends to push ahead with development of the spatial data portal despite agencies’ slow cooperation with the initiative, the project’s chief says.

“We will have a number of the features up and running by February,” said Scott Cameron, managing partner for the portal and the Interior Department’s deputy assistant secretary for performance and management. A full version will go live by the end of next year, he said.

Geospatial One-Stop, one of the Office of Management and Budget’s 24 e-government initiatives, will provide a single online face to the government’ spatial information databases via the FirstGov portal.

“We’re not talking about one humungous database,” Cameron said. “We’re talking about a series of distributed databases.”

For the project to work, each participating agency’s database must classify spatial data the same way so that searches will retrieve data correctly. Agencies now use varying terms for similar data, Cameron said. For instance, some agencies classify a stream as a creek or a highway as a parkway, he said.

Working with the Federal Geographic Data Committee, a board of directors for the Geospatial One-Stop project is creating a list of standard terms for data collection and classification in seven categories: government boundaries, hydrography, elevation, digital orthoimagery, transportation, cadastral data and geodetic control.

The board expects to finish standards for the transportation layer this fall, Cameron said, with the remaining standards completed by year’s end.

But convincing agencies to reclassify their spatial data and put their information online are the biggest barriers to the portal’s development, he said.

“The challenge is intergovernmental coordination, getting agreement on these standards and getting main players to spend time and effort to characterize data, and to get people one by one to make their data accessible online,” Cameron said.

To get a handle on the amount of data the portal must consolidate access to, FGDC is asking agencies to include any spatial data collection plans with their fiscal 2004 budget plans, which are due at OMB Sept. 9. The committee said it would post the agencies’ plans on its Web site, at www.fgdc.gov.

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