Extra funds could help USGS map portal flourish

The U.S. Geological Survey could get an additional $2.5 million in funding to enlarge the government's interagency map Web site if Congress approves the House appropriations bill.

The program slated for a higher allocation is Geospatial One-Stop, a Web portal that combines thousands of geographic resources from federal, state, local and private entities. The government envisioned One-Stop as a tool that would allow organizations to share geographic information system data during emergencies.

However, a major complication in integrating all the data has been acquiring the data from localities. Some towns simply do not have any, and some areas are reluctant to share maps because they contain private information, such as home addresses. Also, the lack of interoperability among state, local and federal coordinate systems has hampered the portal’s growth.

The House report on the fiscal 2007 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill states that the extra money should be used to "improve the nation's geospatial data program and the Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) program by expanding the operational architecture of the GOS and integrating additional bureau and federal mapping enterprises in the GOS.”

USGS officials said they will not make plans for spending the possible funds until the fall, when the Senate is expected to vote on appropriations.

"It does not become an actionable item for us until we get the final appropriations law and the report language that comes from that," said Marty Power, regional officer for the USGS Budget and Performance Office.

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