Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Current Issues and Future Challenges
Congress has recognized the challenge of coordinating and sharing geospatial data from the local, county, and state level to the national level, and vice versa. The cost of geospatial information to the federal government has also been an ongoing concern. As much as 80% to 90% of government information has a geospatial component, according to different sources. The federal government's role has changed from being a primary provider of authoritative geospatial information to coordinating and managing geospatial data and facilitating partnerships. Challenges to coordinating how geospatial data are acquired and used -- collecting duplicative data sets, for example -- at the local, state, and federal levels, in collaboration with the private sector, are not yet resolved. The high-level leadership and broad membership of the FGDC -- 10 cabinet-level departments and 9 other federal agencies -- suggest that geospatial information is a highly regarded asset of the federal government. Questions remain, however, about how effectively the FGDC is fulfilling its mission. Has this organizational structure worked? Can the federal government account for the costs of acquiring, coordinating, and managing geospatial information? How well is the federal government coordinating with the state and local entities that have an increasing stake in geospatial information? What is the role of the private sector? State-level geospatial entities, through the National State Geographic Information Council, also embrace the need for better coordination. However, the states are sensitive to possible federal encroachment on their prerogatives to customize NSDI to meet the needs of the states.
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