Groups request consolidated oversight of geospatial IT
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 09, 2009
Geospatial professionals and industry groups today asked Congress to
designate two or more subcommittees in the House and Senate as having
explicit jurisdiction over federal geospatial activities.
about 40 federal agencies are involved in geospatial activities,
according to the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations, which
represents 15 professional societies and trade groups. More than 30
congressional committees participate in evaluating regulation and
procurement of federal geographic information technology, the coalition
“We are not attempting to create new stand-alone
committees, but we want to make certain that Congress has an effective
structure for oversight and legislation over the increasing federal
government activity in geospatial technologies, and its relationship
with state, regional, local and tribal government, universities and the
private sector," Cy Smith, the coalition's chairman, said in a news
Smith is the immediate past president of the National
States Geographic Information Council, which represents geospatial
information-technology managers in state agencies.
recommended, as the “logical” home for geospatial jurisdiction, the
House Natural Resources Committee or the House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
or the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
1993, the federal government was spending about $4 billion on
geospatial IT, but there are no more recent figures available on such
spending, Smith wrote in a Jan. 6 letter to the leaders of the House
In 1994, President Bill Clinton named the Interior
Department as the lead federal agency on the Federal Geographic Data
Committee. In 2008, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne named a National
Geospatial Advisory Committee. The Office of Management and Budget
initiated the SmartBuy geospatial line of business to consolidate
procurement of geospatial IT.
Other coalition members include
American Congress on Surveying and Mapping; Cartography and Geographic
Information Society; and Geospatial Information and Technology
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.