Interior, GSA plan on geospatial BPA
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Oct 14, 2008
The Interior Department and the General Services Administration plan to set up a means of consolidating technology purchases under the Geospatial Line of Business.
In the works is a multi-vendor blanket purchase agreement — potentially the largest in history — that will provide small, medium and large government users a common collection of geospatial technology choices, Interior officials said in an announcement today.
Similarly, GSA issued a request for information Oct. 8, seeking information from contractors on the information technology Multiple Award Schedule about their software and products related to geospatial data.
The Geospatial Line of Business is a governmentwide initiative aimed at streamlining how agencies buy and use geospatial information. Officials want agencies to collaborate on investments and standardize services for using the data.
Officials say the BPA will lower prices and boost discounts through buying volume. It will also centralize operations and maintenance duties and reduce duplicative efforts by agencies.
“This consolidated purchase of geospatial technology will help reduce costs and greatly improve the government’s access to high-quality commercial geospatial software, data, and other products,” said James Cason, associate deputy interior secretary and chairman of the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s steering committee.
Today, agencies use many of the same commercial products for work, such as producing maps and conducting geographic analysis, but they use different contracts to buy the software and services.
Officials say it costs more money and forces commercial companies to invest greatly in coordinating separate accounts within an agency or department. As a result, many agencies don’t have access to other services the commercial sector might provide, such as training and technical support, according to Interior.
The Geospatial Common Services Work Group, composed of representatives from various agencies, is working with GSA’s SmartBuy program to create the BPA for any agency to use. There are different types of software within the current scope of the BPA, including computer-aided design, imagery analysis and geospatial analytics, Interior said.
According to GSA’s notice, the SmartBuy BPA would have a 12-month base period and four 12-month option periods.
Officials are hosting a vendor day on Oct. 21 in Washington.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.