NSDI program offers grants for local technology
The United States is currently undergoing a mapping revolution that rivals the efforts of the early explorers. County by county, city by city, even neighborhood by neighborhood, new maps that employ a full range of technological marvels are being created.
The White House, however, decided it was not enough to create this new geographical data on a piecemeal basis. So in April 1994, President Clinton issued an executive order in an attempt to create and coordinate the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), a vast network that would provide a pool of current and reliable data, partnerships among data producers and users and standards for sharing data.
NSDI fell into the arms of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), a group established by an Office of Management and Budget circular and chaired by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.
Recognizing that the federal government plays a critical role in developing NSDI, FGDC was charged with seeking out various federal agencies, state and local governments, private industry and academia to determine how a national geographic infrastructure would develop.
Initially, the key to its development would be the creation of “metadata,” information about a map – the stuff of which legends are made, so to speak – applied to a digital geospatial file. FGDC recently adopted content standards for metadata, and, under Clinton’s executive order, this month, all federal agencies will begin using the standards to document newly created geospatial data. And, because an enormous amount of federal data will be available in these standards, data managers from state and local governments and private industry will have an incentive to adopt them to document their own data.
To that end, FGDC created the NSDI Competitive Cooperative Agreements Program, which provides funding to state and local government agencies, institutions of higher learning and private organizations for cooperative agreements that result in resource-sharing projects and more efficient interagency coordination.
In September 1994, nine grants totaling nearly $225,000 were awarded. This year, the program will award $500,000 to groups of two or more organizations submitting proposals on the following NSDI elements:
* the development and implementation of the clearinghouse;
* implementation of FGDC-endorsed standards; and
* development of software tools or techniques to aid in the evaluation of geospatial metadata or data through the National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse.
The deadline for submitting grant proposals is February 21. For more information, contact the FGDC Secretariat, c/o U.S. Geological Survey, 590 National Center, Reston, Va., 22092; telephone (703) 648-5514; facsimile (703) 648-5755; or Internet gdc@ usgs.gov.