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General Meeting - Annual Federal Agencies Presentations




General Meeting


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May 4-5, 2006

George Washington Carver Center/USDA

Beltsville, Maryland





CUAC Members:

Joe Aufmuth, University of Florida, MAGERT

Michael Fry, University of Maryland, WAML

Katie Lage, University of Colorado at Boulder, WAML

Mary McInroy, University of Iowa, GODORT

Clara P. McLeod, Washington University, GSIS

Bruce Obenhaus, Virginia Tech, SLA Social Science Division, G&M       

Anita Oser, SLA, Social Science Division, G&M

Daniel T. Seldin, Indiana University, NACIS

Joy Suh, George Mason University, GODORT

Thelma Thompson, University of New Hampshire, NEMO

Linda Zellmer, Indiana University, GSIS



Agency Presenters:


Christine Clarke, introductory remarks

George Rohaley, National Remote Sensing Leader, USDA-NRCS

Susan J. DeLost, Program Manager, Geospatial Services, USDA Forest Service

Dr. Brett L. Abrams, Electronic Records Archivist (NARA) and Chair of the Historical Data

  Working Group/FGDC

Bob Bewley, Senior Geographer, Bureau of Land Management

Carol Brandt, Geospatial Information Program Manager, Bureau of Transportation


Gregory J Allord, Science Information and Education Office, Geological Survey

Michael P. McDermott, National Coordinator, Natural Science Network, Geological  


William R. “Bill” Effland, Soil Scientist, USDA/NRCS Soil Survey Division

Tim Trainor, Assistant Division Chief for Geographic Areas and Cartographic Data Products,

  Geography Division

Robin L. Haun-Mohamed, Director, Collection Mgmt & Preservation, GPO

Ted Preibe, Director, Library Planning & Development, GPO

Dr. John R. Hébert, Chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress



Submitted Written Agency Report:

            Department of Energy


Federal Agency Presentations Schedule


Thursday PM, 4 May, beginning 1:15 PM

1:15—Welcome, introductions, (remarks by Christine Clarke, NCRS)

1:30-- Remote sensing/NRCS, George Rohaley

2:00--USFS, Susan DeLost

2:30--NARA, Brett Abrams

3:00--BLM, Bob Bewley

3:30, closing remarks and thank yous to agencies


Friday, May 5, 2006, beginning 9AM

9:00-- Welcome, introductions, last-minute preparations

9:15-- BTS, Carol Brandt

9:45—USGS, Greg Allord and Mike McDermott


10:45--Soil Survey/NRCS, Bill Effland

11:30--CENSUS, Tim Trainor

LUNCH—USDA cafeteria

1:00--GPO, Robin L. Haun-Mohamed and Ted Priebe

1:45--LC/G&M, John Hébert

2:30, closing remarks and thank yous to agencies

Introductory Session Remarks: Christine Clarke, NCRS.

Chris begins by explaining that she is with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), one of roughly 27 organizational units in the USDA.  USDA has over 100,000 staff and NRCS, Farm and Service Agency and Rural Development are considered the 3 field based agencies, meaning that they have staff in almost every county in the nation.  NRCS changed its name from the Soil Conservation Service in 1994, and before that they were the Soil Erosion Service (1935) under the DOI. Their purpose at that time was to mediate and minimize the negative impacts of the dust bowl and wind erosion. Today, the agency focuses on land management, conservation, and working with farmers, ranchers, and land owners at the local field level.  They have approximately 150 GIS specialists in the field.  Some staff are district conservationists that are using a Customer Service Tool kit (CST), which is an application built on top of ESRI products like ArcMap.  This is a user friendly interface that can be used in all fifty states to develop farm plans, view DOQs, or aerial photos. Other GIS users work more with raw data and support CST users. The agency is also involved in the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Geo-spatial One Stop, and the Geo-spatial Line of Business (GeoLOB).


Brief Q&A period:

1. Do you think that the government will go to a more centralized funding system?

Answer:  That’s a possibility, but it’s a challenge to compare GIS activities across disciplines.  Christine welcomes help in building a foundation for GIS use with standard data sets and infrastructure.


Question:  Has the USDA Geospatial Data Gateway limited access to data to non .gov users?

Answer:  Yes, The Gateway was developed to deliver authoritative data to USDA agency field staff.  Due to the convenience of the data access via the Gateway, non federal use increased substantially over time.  To ensure non-federal users acquired the most up to date data from the appropriate sources, outside users are now redirected to the authoritative data source.  In doing so, USDA does not incur distribution responsibilities for data of which we are not the authoritative source and users are ensured the most current information. They only turned off those layers for which they were not the authoritative source for the data sets (for example, data kept by USGS).


Question:  Is there state-wide aerial photography available on the USDA site?

Answer:  The most current aerial photography available from USDA can be found at  http://www.apfo.usda.gov/

(submitted by Clara McLeod)



George Rohaley, NRCS-Remote Sensing Leader

George Rohaley’s talk, “Use of Remote Sensing in USDA and NRCS,” included a brief overview of the use of remote sensing in NRCS, imagery sources, applications of imagery, USDA image archive and distribution, and USDA NAIP (National Agricultural Imagery Program), which is one of the biggest imagery programs in USDA. He also discussed smaller projects that are specific for NRCS and showed more than 100 slides in the presentation.


The mission of National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is to help people conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment. In short, NRCS mission is “helping people help the land.”


Most of NRCS’s acquired imagery comes from three sources: Satellites, High and Low Altitude Airborne cameras and digital sensors. NRCS acquires imagery for it’s people who work on the ground at the USDA county service centers (about 3000 offices). The Service Centers have converted from using analog data to mostly using digital data today. The centers have ArcGIS and use agency business-oriented tools called “Customer Service Toolkit.” Orthoimagery is used as a base map for all GIS data layers at the Service Centers.


Most of the imagery NCRS uses comes from airborne system (film or digital). Typically the Service Centers prefer airborne images with natural color because it is visually more relatable to actual ground situations. Recently, however, USDA contractors are flying more imagery with digital sensors. We have been told that digital imagery cannot be used in court, attorneys account for a small demand for film images.


Along with Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Forest Service (FS), NCRS is one of top four imagery users in USDA. (Others include National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).)


Applications of imagery within USDA include agricultural competitiveness, agro-terrorism, base map, carbon synthesis, compliance, base area, crop monitoring, crop condition assessment, soil survey, disaster monitoring, drought monitoring, earning warning, environmental monitoring, fire suppression, homeland security, resource inventory, invasive species, land use conversion, and yield monitoring. NRCS focuses on soil survey, crop monitoring, environmental monitoring, and resource inventory.


Satellite images that NRCS uses primarily come by FAS. FAS has contracted with companies such as Digital Globe, Earthsat, Eurimage, GeoEye, Space Imaging, and SPOT to get world wide images. NRCS can gain access to FAS images (Rohaley showed several slides for 03, 04, 05 LANDSAT acquisitions showing good coverage of US area and 06 AWIFs acquisition). The FAS Web site, Crop Explorer (http://www.pedcad.fas.usda.gov/cropexplorer), provides image and data services for weather, soil moisture, crop, and vegetation conditions.  One can pick up a region, browse, and download MODIS images. These satellite images (250-m) are in JPEG 2000 and GeoTiff formats and can be imported into GIS.  2006 acquisition will include commercial satellite imagery for Pacific region (Hawaii) and Alaska.  These satellite images will be accessible to the public at a degraded resolution.


USDA Image Archive and Distribution:

 All aerial photographs and digital imagery acquired by NRCS must be contracted by the USDA Aerial Photography Field Office (APFO).  Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, APFO provides contracting support for the department’s aerial photography needs. It has one of the largest collections of historical aerial photos dating back to the mid 1950’s. It provides a centralized photo and imagery archive library (55,000 rolls of film and 84,000 photo indices). The system has been automated, cataloged, and is easily retrievable. Custom scanning of historical images are available. Films, photos, CDs, and DVDs are stored in controlled environments.


USDA Aerial Contract Awards:

Most of these image acquisitions are done based on contract awards.  FY2005 contract awards are over 30 million ($ 33,455,497).  The contract awards have substantially increased in the last three years. Most of the funding (71 %) goes to USDA NAIP. See the Aerial Photography Field Office (APFO) Web site (http://www.apfo.usda.gov/) for image status, contracting services, and any other information.


USDA Small Area Photography Contracting:

NRCS has been involved with a small area photography and aerial photographic contracting project. This project is a five-year contract to acquire very high resolution imagery (1:4000 to 1:15,840 scale) under a  indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract and for specific task orders in smaller areas such as National Resource Inventory (NRI) sites, which acquires imagery resolution that results in a ground resolving distance of 2.5 inches. Why is such high resolution required? Each year, NRI acquires approximately 70,000 sites a quarter acre in size to do as inventory.  In the past, inventory was site specific, but now it is done primarily by photographic interpretation techniques. NRCS has specific photographic periods, mostly in growing seasons. The NRCS contractors update their projects status every two or three days through the web.  Data collection will be done using remote sensing techniques at three remote sensing laboratories: Greensboro, NC, Fort Worth, TX, and Portland OR. During FY 05, six vendors were awarded to cover small areas such as NRI photo stations (9”x 9” photos). There are 71,514 NRI photo locations in FY 06.


National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP):

This program is USDA’s largest imagery program, acquiring 1 and 2 meter natural color digital ortho imagery during the agricultural growing season (summer).  NAIP updates 1 meter resolution images on a 5 year cycle.  Digital Compressed County Mosaic (CCM) has improved image quality due to a 15:1 compression ratio instead of the 50:1 ratio that was available in 2004/2005. It is available 30 days after acquisition via USDA Geospatial Data Gateway (http://gdw.apfo.usda.gov/naip/viewer). The program has over 23 million ($23,795,354) in 2005 in terms of funding. The program has been additionally successful  because of federal and state cooperative partnerships. Each year NAIP has a set of states for contracting. Why do we acquire so much ortho imagery now? Technology and contracting have made the process price less expensive--the average cost for 1 meter ortho rectified ($ 171.85 per DOQQ) and 2 meter rectified ($158.82 per DOQQ). Costs are more affordable because vendors are allowed to resell “derived” or value added material after contract products. NAIP contract awards have been increased from 9 million to 30 million from 2003 to 2006.  There are many more subcontractors willing to do this work for NAIP. In 2005, most of the country was covered (in comparison to a mere about 5 states in the past).  There are states that are covered by 1 or 2 meter resolution.  FSA acquires 2 meter digital ortho images for an entire county and delivery is required within 30 days. NRCS primarily focuses on acquiring images in 1 meter states through partnerships. Those states that have old images are given priority for updating by NRCS.   Trend is changing from film to digital sensors (it is believed 50 % are covered by digital in 2006 and 60 % will be in 2008). Rohaley showed some of NAIP mosaic imagery to show the improved accuracy by changed resolution (1 or 2 meter) and compression ratio from 2004 to 2005. Compressed mosaics are available to the public through USDA Data Gateway, but higher resolution digital data is only available by order.


Distribution links for future information and data include:

·         USDA Aerial Photography Field Office (http://gdw.apfo.usda.gov/naip/viewer) for NAIP and USDA Aerial Imagery.

·         USDA Data Gateway (http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/) for data products packaged by county.

·         Foreign Agricultural Crop Explorer (http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/cropexplorer) for global image, weather, etc. 



Digital Elevation Model (DEM):

NRCS has contracted to acquire DEM data. Most DEM data is in the public domain. Digital elevation is used for land use planning and soil surveys.  When combined with digital ortho imagery, digital elevation allows updating soil survey mapping on laptops rather than from the ground (soil survey and DEM will be covered in detail at tomorrow’s presentation).


Imagery for the Nation Proposal:

Everyone wants imagery: local, regional, state, tribal, and federal governments, as well as the private sector.  There is a proposal for three distinct programs under imagery for the nation: one meter, one foot, and six-inch acquisition program--a sort of infrastructure.  The one meter program, which will be managed by USDA, would enhance the existing NAIP with the cover of the lower 48 states annually (Hawaii every 3 years; Alaska over 5 years) with natural color. The one foot program will be managed by USGS, covering everything east of the Mississippi River and counties west of the Mississippi River with populations more than 25 people/square miles, every 3 years with natural color. The six-inch program, which will be managed by USGS, will cover all urbanized areas per U.S. Census Bureau definitions (more than 50,000 populations with more than 1,000 people per square mile) every 3 years with natural color. Annual total estimated budget for production, quality control, and archive and distribution, is $114 million. Expected taxpayer savings by replacing the existing local, state, tribal and federal programs with one consistent national program is $159 million.



CUAC: What happened to National High Altitude Photography (NHAP) program, DOQs, and its creation with one meter accuracy?


The NHAP program was replaced by National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP), which was administrated by USGS.  NAPP is now gone.

NAPP produced the original source of ortho images based on 1:40K scale and mostly black & white. However, NRCS and most of USDA do not need NAPP product. NRCS, USDA, and Farm Service Agency also need natural color images. Therefore, NAPP went to NAIP. The soil survey program still needs leaf-off images such as black and white, but can get them from archives at the USDA Aerial Field Office.



CUAC: Is there any back up system for the CD-Rom product in case there is damage the CDs stored at the USDA Aerial Field Office in Salt Lake City?  


CDs and fire wire drives are used to deliver NAIP items. Now they are on a server.  The products come in multiple copies, and states which use the images have back-up copies.  Film life span is 75 years old.

(Submitted by Joy Suh)



Susan J. DeLost, Program Manager, Geospatial Services, USDA Forest Service


Susan DeLost, Geospatial Services Program Manager, spoke about “USDA Forest Service Maps and Other Related Products” on Thursday May 4, 2006. She began by giving an overview of the land managed by the USFS and the mission of the USFS. Maps and geospatial data support the activities of the USFS in a number of areas, including: forest planning, forest health protection, watershed restoration, fire prevention & management, and recreation. The USFS participates in interagency coordination with the FGDC and partners with the USGS, the BLM, and other organizations (federal, tribal, state, local) to increase efficiency and provide additional services and products to its customers.


Maps have been an integral part of the USFS activities since the agency’s establishment in 1905 and are a vital part of managing the national forests and grasslands.  Maps were initially produced at the local unit level, with little standardization or consistency.  Since the mid-1970’s, with the establishment of the USFS’ Geospatial Service and Technology Center (GSTC), the emphasis on standardization has increased, while still allowing flexibility for local needs. The GSTC works closely with the agency’s national forest units and Regional Offices to produce map products, geospatial data and related applications.  The GSTC and the Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) units of the USFS, co-located in Salt Lake City, Utah, are leaders in providing geospatial information products, training, and technical support to the agency and its many partners. Susan distributed a CD entitled “A Legacy of Forest Service Mapping” to all CUAC members, which gives more information about this history.


Susan showed the traditional mapping products produced by the USFS: general maps, forest visitor maps, topographic maps, and specialty maps and brochures (http://www.fs.fed.us/maps/). She brought samples of some of these maps to share with the group. They have just finished updating the map for the brochure, “A Guide to Your National Forests and Grasslands”, which was last updated in 2000. Another agency map product is the Forest/Grassland Visitor Map, which has traditionally been produced at a scale of ½” = 1 mile.  Some forests are now producing these at the 1” = 1 mile scale.   


In 1992, the USFS entered into an agreement with the USGS to produce a single-edition 1:24,000 (1:63,360 in Alaska) topographic map product covering national forest lands.  This product replaces the two similar topographic quad products that each agency had previously produced over the same areas.  The USGS and USFS jointly developed a standard for this series, which incorporates the traditional USGS 1:24,000 topographic quad standards and USFS-specific information.  They are updated every 7-10 years.  Under the agreement, the USGS has the responsibility for printing and distributing these maps.  As a result of this agreement, the federal government has realized savings as one map per area is produced, instead of two, as had been the case prior to the establishment of the single-edition agreement.  


The USFS is a voting member on the Board on Geographic Names (BGN).  Betsy Kanalley is the USFS/USDA representative to the BGN and is the current chair of the BGN’s Domestic Names Committee. The USFS participates in updating and maintaining the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).


Susan discussed and showed the FS Geodata Clearinghouse (http://fsgeodata.sc.egov.usda.gov/), which provides access to metadata and downloadable data created by the USFS. She also showed a web-GIS service for active fire mapping, linked from the FS Geodata Clearinghouse.


Susan also demonstrated a new USFS Geoportal intra-net site, which provides one-stop shopping for geospatial information for agency employees.


The USFS is working on a number of new geospatial tools and products: the Geospatial Interface, Carto Tools, MPS Atlas, Print-on-Demand, and additional web-based data and services.  The Geospatial Interface is essentially an ESRI- ArcMapTM extension that allows users to easily retrieve, view and use spatial and tabular data related to their subject area, which are stored in a number of databases across the agency.


Carto Tools provides map templates for various USFS map products that are included in documents (e.g., Forest Plan Revisions and others) and publications to increase the standardization of these products.


MPS Atlas is a project that the USFS is working on with ESRI that will incorporate the Carto Tools templates into ArcGIS in order to simplify map production for both standard and unique products.


The Print-on-Demand initiative’s goal is to design and implement a print on demand web solution for Single Edition Quadrangles. It will first be implemented internally, with public access planned for the future.  The USFS is exploring opportunities to partner with other service providers, both public and private. This interface will provide access to standard quadrangles and user-selected areas, but will not include the vegetation tint.  One goal is to provide more up-to-date data for displaying and printing maps via a web-based service than is currently possible with the printed map product.  The USFS has not yet developed an archiving process for this product.  Susan suggested that CUAC send a letter to the FGDC and her about the need to archive this data as it is updated.


(Submitted by Katie Lage)


Dr. Brett L. Abrams, Electronic Records Archivist (NARA) and Chair of the Historical Data Working Group/FGDC

Brett focused his presentation on the activities of the Historical Data Working Group (HDWP) established by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to promote “the awareness of the historical dimension to geospatial data which have been financed in whole or part by Federal funds” and to facilitate “maintaining historically valuable geospatial data and making it available to future generations.”  Current membership includes personnel from USGS’ Eros Data Center, the FSA Aerial Photography Field Office, DOJ, EPA, San Diego Supercomputing Center, CIESIN (Columbia University), NC State University Library, University of Connecticut Library (MAGIC), Boze Allen Hamilton, ESRI, FGDC, and OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium).  The group is chaired by Brett Abrams, NARA.


The function of NARA is to assist all federal agencies in managing their records, including geospatial records, throughout their lifecycle and to preserve those records of “enduring” value in the National Archives.  The NARA Appraisal Policy 1441 states that NARA is not only responsible for transferring and storing records under optimal conditions but also that they can be retrieved and their value retained during their assigned retention periods.  Geospatial records that are scheduled as permanent include the Fish and Wildlife’s Wetlands Inventory and Wildlife Refuges Files, The Forest Service’s Fire Management Maps, and the Bureau of the Census 1990 and 1992 version of TIGER/Line files and the 1980 GBF/DIME File.


The current standards for the transfer of GIS records consist of the FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata, the Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS), GML v.3.1.1 and Simple Features Profile.  The SDTS is not ideal in that it is cumbersome and USGS is not completing scheduled maintenance.  GML v.3.1.1 and Simple Features Profiles are also problematic in that there is significant complexity and variability in some of its elements.  In addition, the schemas are not saved as a part of the “archival bundle,” but are instead url addresses to websites that will probably become outdated.  Thus both SDTS and GML v.3.1.1 have questionable value for archival purposes.


Currently the HDWG is pursuing building a community among individuals and organizations interested in the historical dimension to geographical data, including maintaining a website with a library of information and a discussion component available to members.  Future initiatives for the working group include creating a Geospatial One Stop Portal Community for historical collections such as those at NARA and the Library of Congress; developing application schema and archival profile using GML and simple features profile; and increasing the scanning of historical maps.


The following two links provide additional information about the Historical Data Working Group:


Link to the main page:



Link to the library page:


(Submitted by Anita K. Oser)



Bob Bewley, Senior Geographer, Bureau of Land Management

Bob Bewley, Senior Geographer at the Bureau of Land Management, presented to CUAC on Thursday May 4, 2006. He spoke about the BLM’s enterprise GIS, the National Integrated Lands System, national data sets, data sharing, and showed some examples of BLM maps.


The BLM is the largest land management agency, managing 262 million acres. In 1948 the General Land Office merged with the agency in charge of grazing on public lands to for the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM’s mandate comes from the 1976 Federal Lands Policy Act.


The BLM is in the process of creating an enterprise GIS. An enterprise GIS is defined as, “… a business-wide GIS that is characterized by standard data, in a transactional format that allows update, maintenance and use by all levels of the organization.” The BLM’s enterprise GIS will support standardized data and serve out core datasets across all levels of the agency in support of the BLM’s goals. Bob explained that the creation of an enterprise GIS needs: data standards, software and hardware, telecom support, the personnel to create and support it, and business/management support.


The BLM is exploring two models of an enterprise GIS: a state model and a national model. The state model will serve out resource data, standardized by state. This data will include such data as wildlife habitats, range improvements, etc. The national model is the National Integrated Land System (NILS) at http://www.geocommunicator.gov/. NILS serves out land records, base maps, and some resource data. The majority of the resource data is collected at 1:24,000. The land records parcel data is generated from legal land descriptions and the Geographic Coordinate Data Base (GCDB).  GCDB  is cadastral ground survey data, decoded from old survey maps and survey data entered from recent cadastral projects.  NILS includes feature-level metadata. The BLM plans on working with other agencies to add data for non-public lands to NILS.


Bob showed CUAC examples of the Land and Mineral Use Records Viewer in NILS. The national data sets included in NILS are: range allotments, areas of critical environmental concern, land use planning boundaries, BLM administrative units, national lands conservation system, surface management agency, oil and gas leases, mining claims, and geothermal leases.


NILS also includes some USFS data, as the BLM partners with USFS to serve it out. For example, the Land and Mineral Use Records Viewer displays data about the recent USFS Rural Schools Conveyance proposal. The BLM’s policy is to share data between federal agencies and local and state governments. Bob’s presentation included a list of BLM data administrators by state, included at the end of these minutes.


Bob then discussed BLM standard maps. The BLM creates 1:100,000 Surface Management Status maps digitally and prints paper maps. 1:500,000 Surface Management Status maps are created for all western states. Both of these series are updated approximately every 7 years. There was a question from CUAC members about the 1:500,000 maps not coming through the FDLP. Bob suggested we talk with Bill Jackson. He understood that they should be coming through the FDLP. Katie (Lage) said she would contact Bill Jackson. Bob showed examples of both of these standard map series.


The BLM also creates specialized maps such as mining maps, potash area maps, and oil and gas reserve maps. These specialized maps use the standard BLM line styles and colors but regional cartographers have more freedom with these types of maps than with the standard 1:100,000 and 1:500,000 maps. Bob showed many examples of the variety of specialized maps produced by the BLM.


CUAC members had a question about NILS data being sent out through the FDLP. Bob said that some of the data sets are proprietary. For the non-proprietary data, this might be a possibility. He would talk with GPO about this. CUAC members also inquired if the NILS data is being archived as it is updated and changed. The NILS data is “versioned” and archived on a quarterly basis.


BLM Data Administrators

o      ALASKA Linda Ricketts,271-4645907-

o      ARIZONA Rick Selbach, 602-417-9386

o      CALIFORNIA  Rob Cervantes 978 454

o      COLORADO Adrian Caufield, 303-239-3941

o      EASTERN STATES  John Douglas, CIO 202-452-1638

o      IDAHO  Dave Burley, 208-373-4075

o      MONTANA Norma Smith 406-896-5270

o      NEVADA Marguerite McKee 775-861-6519

o      NEW MEXICO Rene Berkhoudt, 505-438-7620

o      Oregon Stan Frazier, 503-808-6009

o      UTAH  Walt Phelps, 801-539-4125

o      WYOMING  Renee Duval, 307-775-6244

o      WASHINGTON OFFICE - Melanie Rhinehart, Data Manager 303-236-9940

o      WASHINGTON OFFICE - IRM POLICY GROUP Jim Horan, 202-452-5023

(Submitted by Katie Lage)



Carol Brandt, Geospatial Information Program Manager, Bureau of Transportation Statistics/DOT

Carol spoke on the status of the Geospatial Information Program at BTS.  As a result of a February 2005 reorganization, BTS became part of the new Research & Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) within the US Department of Transportation (DOT).  The BTS Geospatial Information Program (BTS/GEO) lost funding this past fiscal year and was forced to discontinue the Internet Mapping Center on their website, thus losing all their online mapping capabilities.  BTS/GEO can no longer support the viewing and downloading of transportation data sets through the web or share mapping applications previously developed.  Currently, BTS/GEO is trying to get the databases back on the web and available for downloading, so patrons will not have to order a data CD.


BTS/GEO will continue to: produce the annual National Transportation Atlas Databases (NTAD, a Congressional mandate); provide mapping support to the Crisis Management Center; and work on the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, GeoSpatial One-Stop, and FGDC.  In their roll on the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, BTS/GEO is charged with coordinating the DOT presence and the transportation layer.  The RITA administrator has recently been named to the FGDC steering committee, so this may bring more attention and time involvement to working with that group.  Recently proposed Data Exchange Standards for Geospatial One-Stop were approved by an ANSI sub-committee and have been passed on to ANSI for adoption.  Since their web site with interactive mapping has been taken down, BTD/GEO no longer plays a day-to-day role in Geospatial One-Stop.


The 2006 NTAD, due out this summer, will include the usual transportation datasets, as well as the following new information:  Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS); Automatic Traffic Recorder Stations (ATR); Weigh In Motion Stations (WIM); and Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Routes.  Also included in NTAD are the following geographic reference datasets obtained from other agencies: national populated places, urbanized area boundaries, 109th  congressional district boundaries, county and state  boundaries, hydrographic features, metropolitan statistical area boundaries (all from Bureau of the Census), national park boundaries (National Park Service), Metropolitan Planning Organization Boundaries (DOT), non-attainment areas (EPA/DOT), and military bases (Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, SDDC).  These geographic datasets area way to make the NTAD product a transportation “map in a box,” so users can add GIS capability to the geographic and numeric data included and create their own maps.


BTS/GEO provides mapping and analysis support to the Crisis Management Center, including assistance on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and other emergency situations, as well as handling special mapping/spatial analysis requests from Congress and the DOT Secretary, e.g., air traffic hub mapping and “Annual Rural Airport Analysis” information.   Much of this spatial analysis and information is available internally and on not the web due to the sensitive nature of the data, e.g., pipeline locations.


BTS/GEO is currently involved with the Geospatial Line of Business (LoB) federal government initiative.  Geospatial LoB is a new plan for agencies to work together to:  identify opportunities to share common geospatial processes and functions across government; result in a more coordinated approach to producing, maintaining, and using geospatial data; ensure sustainable participation from Federal partners to establish a collaborative model for geospatial-related activities and investments; and influence the FY08 budget cycle.  Since the GLoB scheme was sent to the agencies in March, much of Brandt’s time has been spent on determining how best to work with other agencies to set up and conduct the Geospatial LoB.


Until a few years ago, a number of BTS geospatial information products were disseminated through the federal depository program, but this is no longer the case.  Brant and GPO representative Robin Haun-Mohamed plan to discuss this situation soon. 


New activities for BTS/GEO include working with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the next generation of E-911 to integrate geospatial information (the current system does not handle text messaging and imagery used by some phones); and working with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Highway Performance Monitoring System data collection, as well as promoting the 50th anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System  (see the site at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/homepage.cfm for more information, including lists of both road songs and road movies).  BTS/GEO continues to participate in the geospatial aspects of other DOT programs:  freight analysis framework, scenic byways, and road closures (with FHWA); real time airport status, aeronautical charting, and temporary flight restrictions (with the FAA); Fatality Analysis Reporting System (with NHTSA); maintenance of the geospatial data distributed through NTAD (with FRA, the Federal Railroad Administration); programs to encourage greater transit ridership (with FTA, the Federal Transit Administration); and hazardous materials programs (with FMCSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).


The National Transportation Library, located within the BTS and billed as “… a virtual library for the transportation community,” was also affected by the budget cuts.  Current plans call for maintaining the digital portion of the Library’s mission, but eliminating collection development, cataloging, and library reference services.  The Library will continue its partnership with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to produce Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Online.  The TRIS Database is the world's largest and most comprehensive bibliographic resource on transportation information.  TRIS contain over 600,000 records of published and ongoing research covering all modes and disciplines of transportation. In addition, the National Transportation Library plans to coordinate with transportation libraries around the country to leverage past work on a union catalog, a “system of libraries.”  This work was spearheaded by the current head of the library, who will leave that position in a few weeks, so the future of this initiative is unclear.  It is possible that the Library could move up into RITA, resulting in the receipt of more funding.


Contact information:  Carol Brandt (carol.brandt@dot.gov)


Web Sites for Further Information:

Research & Innovative Technology Administration (RITA):  http://www.rita.dot.gov/

BTS/GEO:  http://www.bts.gov/programs/geographic_information_services/

National Transportation Library, http://ntl.bts.gov/

 (Submitted by Mary McInroy)



Gregory J Allord, Science Information and Education Office, and Michael P. McDermott, National Coordinator, Natural Science Network, Geological Survey


The USGS has been transitioning for a while. It is now divided into disciplines such as geology, geography, water, etc. The Geospatial Information Office (GIO), oversees information activities including the library, publishing and information dissemination activities. For the first time in the history of the USGS, these activities have been centralized in the same group. Within the Science Information and Education office of the GIO is the Natural Science Network, Publishing, E-Web (the USGS’ enterprise web activities) and education. These groups are working on combining their activities. The Library is now part of the Natural Science Network.


The vision of the Natural Science Network (NSN) is to be a nationally linked network of USGS data, information, and knowledge available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. The NSN has several components, including the knowledge management, information delivery and Science Information and Library Services. The Knowledge Network is where information is created. The concept of the knowledge network is that everything the USGS does is part of the Knowledge Network. The knowledge is owned by the Science Programs (Biology, Geology, GIO, Water, Geography & Science Support). The work of the Natural Science Network is to bring the information together through network activities and make it accessible to the public. The USGS does this through their information services activities, which brings together the Library, information services and distribution. The Network is made up of the people and the tools to get the information out to the public. The USGS is interested in comments on their services and information.


SILS, Science Information and Library Services, includes Library Services, Information Services (which are the old Earth Science Information Centers (ESICs)) and the call center. The idea for this structure originated in a 2002 directive from the former USGS director Chip Groat. It combines two different cultures, libraries and information services. USGS is still working to combine these two cultures. The information service group has existed for nearly 50 years, and includes entities that existed before ESICs. Information services is the organized effort to handle inquiries (USGS receives about 400,000 inquiries a year), from telephone, e-mail and visitors. Responding to these inquiries will continue, but it will not be a function of the library. The reference librarian’s activities overlap the information service. USGS is looking for models of how to implement the combined Library and Information Service.


Knowledge Management is the place where tools that allow people to access USGS information are created. This includes the FAQ web site, which allows people to get more information on the web. The USGS wants to develop more of these tools, and is just starting on this effort.


Information Delivery consists of the work that USGS has done all along, such as distributing publications and maps. The USGS is moving towards a print on demand system for maps and publications. This is a complicated task with which the USGS is struggling, because it is difficult to convert the contents of a 5-acre warehouse to an on-demand system. The USGS is still in the process of trying to figure out how to do this. The change will not happen instantly, instead it will be a gradual transition. For the near future, the USGS will continue to produce paper maps and make them available as they make the transition. USGS does intend to deliver as much information as possible via the web, but will keep a limited amount of paper stock available for the near future. One of the primary reasons for this is emergencies. In the event of an emergency, the responders want a paper map. For example, after Hurricane Rita, there was a lot of GPS work done to identify flooded areas, but the emergency responders still wanted printed maps. This has identified another issue: in the event of an emergency, if everything is digital, how do you go from digital to print? Plotting is another issue that needs to be addressed. The USGS is working through all of these issues.


Under former USGS Director Chip Groat, the USGS moved towards a matrix management structure, which means that people report to two managers. A new USGS director has just been named. Until he is confirmed, the USGS will continue to operate based on these plans. However, things could change with the new USGS director. In the case of the USGS, people report to their regional manager as well as a manager or coordinator who oversees a particular functional or program area. As Coordinator of the Natural Science Network, Mike McDermott coordinates the information activities of the 3 USGS regions, including the Libraries, although his office has very little staff. All of the work is done in the regions, and people in those offices, including the libraries, report to their regional managers. However, the Coordinator’s office controls the money and allocates funds to various programs. The key coordinator of the libraries, the National Library Coordinator, will lead the activities of the USGS Libraries. As coordinator for the Natural Science Network, Mike is working to fill the position of National Library Coordinator; this person will oversee the World’s largest Earth Science Library and will develop the vision to establish a national digital earth science library. While they still want to retain the analog, they need to balance the book collection and at the same time develop a digital library.


Depository Library activities are in flux. There is a Congressional mandate and OMB Directive to make information available over the Web. GPO is also trying to identify the legacy publications, roles and responsibilities. The USGS is trying to comply with those mandates, but is also still trying to determine how to go about complying with these mandates with cartographic materials.


Greg Allord is the National Manager of the USGS Publishing Program, which was a loose confederation of units within the various disciplines. Instead of doing a competitive outsourcing process, the USGS has been allowed to create a high-performing organization. They have mandates and metrics that they have to meet, but are allowed to do the work in the transition period and retain the management autonomy. They do not have a contractual obligation to meet the terms of competitive sourcing. USGS had about 250 publishing professionals two years ago, including editors, illustrators and cartographers but that number is now down to approximately 190. They report to their regional structure, including 3 regional publishing managers. Greg oversees policy and funding, including allocating money to the various regions to prepare materials for dissemination.


There are certain elements within the National Publishing program that need to be consistent. In the past the various disciplines have set their own process. Now there will be national consistency within all disciplines, and within the 3 regional operations. They have been working to develop the USGS Publications Warehouse, populate it with verified citations, and provide digital content. Over half of the publications in the Publications Warehouse are now available digitally. They are working to convert the paper to digital at the rate of about 1000 titles a month. Their goal is to convert all paper publications to digital over the next few years. They will also be working to create permanent URLs (PURLs) for the digital items in the Warehouse.


A number of cartographic issues were raised last year at the Map and Geographic Information in Transition conference. The USGS National Program is working to follow up on these issues. They are starting to move on these issues, and the USGS recognizes that they do have a responsibility to continue to provide the traditional products such as the Professional Papers, Scientific Investigations and topographic maps. However, they are still trying to develop an answer for some of the issues. Greg went on to discuss a project that is being done to scan and preserve older topographic maps. The goal is to convert all of the paper to digital and do so in a way that the maps are touched only one more time. They want scans of maps that will be acceptable to the National Archives and Records Administration to archive, and use to produce derivative products. The final product will be a publicly accessible Web-based collection of current and historical USGS quadrangles.


The USGS is working on this project through partners, and providing the framework for the scanned images. They have an internal, unverified database that was developed to manage the printing and production of maps. This is the USGS starting point for the project. They have developed and tested the process, which includes scanning and metadata. They will be working on geoprocessing the images at a later time. There are several critical partners in the project, including the USGS Libraries in Reston and Denver, the Robinson Map Library in Madison, WI, and the Library of Congress, which is serving as a reference collection, providing map metadata standards and recommendations for the delivery of the map images. The Robinson Map Library is the primary site that is providing some of the initial content for the project. With Student Assistants, they are able to scan and verify about 100 maps a day. They are creating records for each topographic map based on a Qualified Dublin Core metadata standard, which can be cross-walked to MARC at a later date. They are also including some optional elements, which include publisher, contributor (partners), source, and required elements unique to each map including identifier, original date and area of coverage.


The work is being done at a resolution of 400 dpi or greater, 24 bit color. They will be doing the 1:24,000 topographic maps for each state first, then the other scales for that state. The maps are being scanned and saved as an uncompressed TIFF images; USGS is using that scanned image as the starting point. They are using an Access database that gives historical information on publishing history for each quadrangle that is being used as a reference tool to provide some of the basic metadata elements. They started with Wisconsin in June and finished scanning all dates and scales by September. The work includes every edition, including updates and photorevisions. They then worked on scanning the areas that had been impacted by Hurricane Katrina. They are now focusing on Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, and Kansas. Some are done and some are in progress. They are going to swap some of the USGS data for scans of topographic maps for Indiana that are being produced by a man who does title searches. Once a state is complete, the Access database of maps for each state will be compared against the holdings of the USGS Library, which, they believe, is the authoritative site with a copy of every topographic map produced by USGS. The USGS Library will validate and fill in gaps. The USGS is interested in collaboration, and will have to deal with accessibility. The USGS has a count of the number of maps they have in their unverified database. When all topographic maps, each edition, at all scales are considered, there are about 300,000 maps for the entire United States. They are interested in information from organizations that have done or are doing similar projects, including the name of the organization that scanned the map, a description of the scan, the date map was scanned (MM-DD-YYYY), the image format, resolution (dpi), color depth (bit), and compression (NONE, LZW, etc). They are interested in hearing from organizations that have scans of at least 100 maps or more. Additional information on the project will be available at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/historicquads (this site will be active in the future).

For more information, contact Gregory Allord, Cartographer, U.S. Geological Survey, Science Information and Education Office, Publishing Program, Madison, WI, gjallord@usgs.gov .

More information on the project is at: http://infotrek.er.usgs.gov/pls/htmldb/f?p=182:1:3421198413713854611


Contact for Mike McDermott: Mike McDermott, National Coordinator of the Natural Science Network, 703-648-5771, mmcdermo@usgs.gov.

(Submitted by Linda Zellmer)



William R. Effland, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey Division (USDA-NRCS)

Technology for Soil Survey: Digital Orthophotography and Digital Elevation Models.  During the presentation Dr. Effland covered the National Digital Orthophoto Program (NDOP), Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data collection, creation, sources and applications.  Additionally, he demonstrated the NRCS’s National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) web site, Web Soil Survey located at http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/.


In his presentation Dr. Effland discussed the NDOP Interagency Steering Committee’s purpose to create an orthophoto base that is part of the NSDI and he explained the Committee’s general operating principles.  He then demonstrated the NDOP site located at http://www.ndop.gov/.  The site has links to imagery sources and also data http://www.ndop.gov/data.html.  There was a discussion about the difference between the need for NRCS imagery to be leaf-off for soils information gathering versus other agency needs which require leaf-on for agricultural and environmental applications.


During the DEM presentation, Dr. Effland discussed the National Digital Elevation Program (http://www.ndep.gov/) and the advances in using Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) in creating digital surface models (DSM), Digital Terrain Models (DTM) and Orthorectified Radar Imagery (ORI).  He commented that the data is acquired under a licensing agreement, but derived products will be public domain.  Lastly Dr. Effland discussed the products created from digital elevation models (DEM) and DEM applications that produce derived data for Topographic Wetness Indices, Stream Power Indices, Revised USLE  “LS” Factor, Solar Radiation Indices, and Temperature Indices.  He also discussed drainage basin analysis products derived from DEMs.

(submitted by Joe Aufmuth)



Tim Trainor, Assistant Division Chief for Geographic Areas and Cartographic Data Products, Geography Division, Census Bureau

There are many things going on at the Census Bureau this spring and summer.  Moving to a new building in August 2006 involves scanning many items rather than transporting volumes of paper.  The Geography Division will relocate from its current off-site facilities to the new building in August 2006.


TIGER files are undergoing a major overhaul using existing GIS files from state and various other levels of government when available.  The remaining geographic area information will be updated through other acquired sources.  When complete in Spring 2008, TIGER street centerline data will have 7.6 meter or better accuracy.  Status maps show the project progress on the Census website every two weeks.


The Census Bureau is working in partnership with tribal, state and local governments and plans to provide them with a software tool to assist in updating their TIGER data if they do not have their own GIS.  The Census Bureau requires constantly updated street and address information.  In addition, an annual Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) is conducted for most legal entities and will include the full complement of legal areas beginning with the 2008 BAS. The Bureau will need to continue this full boundary survey each year to support the annual American Community Survey (ACS).

In late summer or early fall 2006 there will be a notice in the Federal Register requesting comment on proposed changes to statistical areas supporting the 2010 Census.  The criteria for census tracts are not expected to change.   To support the ACS in offering detailed data for small area geography, larger block groups will improve data availability while maintaining the Census Bureau’s requirement of confidentiality of data.  The review will include all statistical areas for which data is reported from the decennial census.


The 2010 Census will be the first to include tabulations by school district. School district boundaries have been collected and are maintained every two years in the TIGER database.


The Census Bureau ultimately plans to make a transition from FIPS codes to ANSI format place designations.  FIPS-55 place and county subdivision codes currently are not being maintained, but there are some concerns with use of GNIS in their place.  The USGS/GNIS view of a “place” is not necessarily tied to a legal governmental unit in the same way that the Census Bureau requires (for instance, places at the boundary of two states sharing the same place name may be treated as a single place by GNIS).  In addition, GNIS identification numbers are assigned sequentially with no hierarchical relation to the geography and hence cannot be sorted alphabetically.


The Census Bureau website continues to maintain geographic and cartographic products in a prominent location on the home page. In response to Hurricane Katrina the Bureau has created special census tract PDF reference maps for the Gulf States using a less cluttered means of displaying tract information.


The American Community Survey of a sample of approximately 250,000 households per month began in 2005.  The first data from the Survey will be released later this summer.  It will only be available for areas of > 65,000 due to confidentiality constraints.  Every three years floating averages will be published for populations between 20,000 and 65,000, and at five year intervals to smaller areas going down to the block group level.


Testing for the 2010 Census, which will not include a long form (since ACS will provide this data), is well underway.  Some of the field tests have used hand held devices to collect data.  Using GPS they intend to capture the location of every house (except in Alaska) to an accuracy of 3 meters.  Matching these precise locations with updated address information should reduce the very expensive need for multiple follow up visits to non-respondent households.


The Census Bureau would like feedback from CUAC and/or its member organizations as to what formats to provide for geographic information: 

How should spatial data traditionally provided via TIGER/Line files be made available? 

While shapefiles meet the needs of many users, they lack topology.  Is this a concern?

Geographic mark up language (GML) is rich but complex.  The Census Bureau has been developing capabilities to consider GML as a dissemination format. The Bureau plans to finalize decisions on use of TIGER/GML by 2008. 

PDF format for cartography continues to work well for the Census Bureau, but they will provide web mapping options as well.  Are paper maps still needed?


Discussion after the presentation centered on the county subdivision geographic units, Minor Civil Divisions and Census County Divisions, and how these units will be reported in 2010 and the ACS. 


Participants were also concerned about availability of historic Census boundaries and efforts such as the Minnesota Historical Boundary Project to provide this information.

(submitted by Thelma Thompson)



Robin L. Haun-Mohamed, Director, Collection Mgmt & Preservation, GPO

GPO Reorganization: reorganized into business units

  • Library Services and Content Management (formerly Information Dissemination and Superintendent of Documents) is under Ric Davis. Sections of  Library Services and Content Management include:
    • Library Technical Information Services (cataloging)
      • Laurie Beyer Hall, Jennifer Davis, Linda Resler,
    • Library Planning and Development (policy and planning)
      • Ted Priebe, Karen Sieger, Lisa Russell, Janet Scheitle
    • Collection Management and Preservation
      • Robin Haun-Mohamed, James Mauldin, Lance Cummins, Janet McCaskill
      • They handle acquisitions/distribution, education, outreach and conferences
  • See the organization chart in file Library Services and Content Management.pdf.  (Updated from handout distributed at the Depository Library Council Meeting, April 2-5, 2006)


  • Publication and Information Sales is under Kevin O’Toole,


  • Judy Russell, Superintendent of Documents, will focus on expanding the development of a new model for the FDLP with Congress and GPO’s Library partners


  • Public Printer of the United States, Bruce James has announced his retirement. He intends to stay until his replacement is in place. 


Upcoming Events:

  • Interagency Depository Seminar: July 31 – August 4, 2006. Not planned over a weekend this year. GPO is also hoping for better hotel rates at the end of the summer.
  • Fall Depository Library Conference and Council Meeting: October 22-25, 2006, hotel not yet announced
  • Comments on 2006 Recommended Specifications for Public Access Workstations in Federal Depository Libraries, comments to Cindy Etkin (etkin@gpo.gov) by June 1, 2006.  Will be published in the June or July Administrative Notes.


Maps Information:

·         USGS distribution problems, Interagency agreement between GPO and USGS has come up for renewal and will be take care of.  GPO also believes there is a problem in the warehouse. GPO has reached out to their contacts at USGS to find out what is going on.

·         Linda Zellmer stated that she is not getting USGS shipping lists in a timely manner; by the time we get the shipping lists on the web site, it is too late to claim missing maps. Robin will look into that and try to resolve the problem.

·         Distribution of Bureau of Land Management maps. Dan Seldin stated that when USGS was printing for BLM there was an agreement that maps would come flat (not folded) to depository libraries. Now USGS is not printing the maps and they are coming folded.  Katie is working with the BLM rep to get flat instead of folded maps distributed to libraries.

·         USGS report series consolidated into just a few series and may not be making it into the depository system.  USGS and GPO need to look at this problem.

·         CIA Maps are in the World Factbook. They are also increasingly available online and not in paper.

·         NOS and Aeronautical Maps are being cataloged as serials, when possible.

·         Map distribution statistics so far for 2006:

USGS 189

BLM 135

CIA 20

NOS 188

FAA 25


(pulled together by Betty Jones, now working in the Archives Unit)

·         No NGA distribution may be related to international events. There is a need to find a contact and open discussions with NGA. Robin will see what she can find out and get back to us,

·         Linda Zellmer asked about VMAP1 (sale 1:250,000) electronic data recently completed by NGA. Distribution may be daunting on CD/DVD because of the numbers of CD/DVDs needed.  Indiana University would be happy to store and serve the data if that would get it available. 

·         Bruce Obenhaus asked about item number surveys.  The question came up because in 2003?  NIMA stated they had maps ready for distribution and was waiting for GPO to survey to see what libraries wanted them.  Robin thinks we missed the window of opportunity on that one.  Robin is trying to find a contact in NGA.  When that happens she will find out if that material is still available.  She suspects it is not.

Important Projects:

·         Sales and Distribution RFP has been released with an option for Depository Distribution included.

·         Beta mode for the OPAC for the new ILS and the newly redone Catalog of U.S. Government Publications is almost over.  They are working on restoring title browsing which they had at one point but it went away.

·         New askGPO contact center hours, 7am to 8 pm eastern time.

·         Authentication of Digital Files is waiting for the award of the contract. This is bulk signing of PDF to ensure authenticity of the document. This is one of the requirements of the Future Digital System.

·         Biennial Survey:

The 2005 Biennial Survey of Depository Libraries ran from December 2, 2005 through the end of December 2005. Since then, GPO has been adding libraries that were late responders. As of March 13, 2006, 1,214 libraries have responded.  GPO is working to get the data compiled and available.

Questions 65 and 66, dealing with digital publications files, generated a healthy exchange of ideas for the discussion lists.

Q. 65: My library systematically downloads, stores online publications identified from GPO Access or through GPO-created PURLS, and makes them accessible to the general public from local servers. This past year my library downloaded the following number of digital publication files (this does not include shipping lists, Web pages, or datasets):

Percentage of tabulated responses:







More than 5000---0.00%


Q. 66. My library is willing to receive Federal digital publication files on deposit from GPO, store them, and make the accessible to the general public from local servers. My library is willing to receive the following number of digital publication files per year (this does not include shipping lists, Web pages, or databases):

Depository Library Council Update April 2006

Percentage of tabulated responses:

0 72.52%

1-25 15.31%

26-100 4.77%

101-500 3.25%

501-1000 1.93%

1001-5000 1.12%

More than 5000 1.12%

·         Web Harvesting Project two vendors going through EPA web sites identifying any in-scope federal publication.  These harvesting efforts will be compared to what GPO has found manually to see if this is a good method of capturing fugitive documents. The first scan has recently been completed but the data is not in yet.

·         GPO\FedEx Kinkos Express Program, a service for printing for agencies at discount prices, has identified 11 documents in-scope for the depository system. This may prove a good way to capture what would become fugitive documents.  More information can be found at http://www.gpo.gov/gpoexpress/index.html

·         Digitization of the Historical Collection project was approved by the Joint Committee on Printing at the end of March. A pilot project will run for 6 months, beginning June 1. Material to be digitized is part of the first tier in GPO’s Priorities for Digitization of Legacy Collection, located at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/legacy/index.html. Requests for donations of specific publications will be sent very soon to the documents community, including Federal Register, Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Code, Congressional Record Indexes, possibly Bills (possibly because they don't want to do it from microfiche and they have to find paper copies), and Public and Private Laws. Digitization Specs will be covered by Ted Priebe.


Ted Preibe, Director, Library Planning & Development, GPO

  • Library Planning & Development is responsible for new and existing initiatives for tangible, electronic, and Web collections within the Library Planning and Development organizations.
  • Future Digital System, a content management system that will provide permanent public access to all federal government information, is to accomplish preservation, version control and authentication. Access is the key so users can get it in the format they want including print on demand, hand held devices and future digital formats.
  • Digitization Project: Digital Conservation Service (DCS) is responsible for the digitization project that was approved by the Joint Committee on Printing at the end of March and starting June 1. DCS is not only to provide a mechanism for completing the project but also reaching out in a collaborative way to agencies and talking to customers about what the goals are from a preservation level and access level.  Preservation and access are not the same thing, factors include scanning resolution, what is a faithful reproduction, and color vs. black and white. There is a need to educate the public and customers on these factors so something is not digitized more than once. DCS is also looking into metadata creation (brief bibliographic record or full catalog record). Specifications are available from GPO. 
  • Preservation Quality Scanning:  working on establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between GPO and NARA and LC to not duplicate digitization efforts.  Hopefully this will result in all working on common standards for baseline preservation quality scanning.  There is an opportunity to bring in more federal agencies and get broad-based support.  The standards are necessary for long term success of the digitization project and to avoid duplication of effort. Preservation is underlying theme.  The standards call for scanning at resolutions of a high enough quality so that it can be repurposed into any number of formats based on what the current technologies are and what technologies are projected for the future.
  • Digitization specifications – version 3.3 are available at GPO website. Quality control specifications are going out for public comment probably next week concerning quantitative measures to use to say what is a faithful reproduction, what is the level of accuracy expected.
  • RFP for Master Integrator for FDSys is available at http://www.gpo.gov/projects/fdsys.htm. 
  • Registry of Digitization Projects: GPO would like to know about any digitization projects.  Please register at the registry of digitization projects.  Information on the priorities for digitization of the legacy collection and the registry of U.S. Government publication digitization projects is available at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/legacy/. The goal is permanent free public access.

(Submitted by Bruce Obenhaus)



Dr. John R. Hébert, Chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

The L.C. Geography and Map Division is working with Readex to scan the colored maps from the Serial Set.  The project has reached Serial Set maps produced by 1900.


Last year's conference on the Future of Map Libraries, sponsored by CUAC and the Geography and Map Division, has brought about a number of cooperative ventures.  The University of Texas and the University of California System have proposed the scanning of pre-1923 Sanborn maps for their respective states.  The University of Texas has planned to send a person to scan the maps and California is contemplating funding to have LC scan the maps.  There is a common agreement on standards.  The maps will be scanned for research at 300 DPI and would be compressed using JPEG 2000. 


Another cooperative program is the National Digital Infrastructure Preservation Project which will create archival digital collections.  There are 2 geospatial projects in the NDIIPP.  North Carolina State University is trying to capture North Carolina state and local digital spatial data.  University of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford University are collecting cartographic and geospatial data and are testing ways to ensure migration of those data.


The Geography and Map Division is working with the LC Office of Strategic Initiatives to look into LC archiving the National Map and National Atlas as a backup to USGS.  The G & M Division is also looking into working with USGS and the National Archives to archive and possibly scan the "legacy" collection of USGS quadrangle maps.  There has to be an agreement on scanning standards.


There have been some international programs.  Academia Sinica from Taipei, Taiwan has sent a team of specialists and technicians in the falls of 2004 and 2005 to scan, using their own equipment, pre-1970 maps of China.  The G & M Division has started a project to catalog the scanned images, increasing the control of their holdings.  The National Library of Korea came to review the Division's historical holdings of Korea.  They have proposed a project to preserve and to scan these rare maps and atlases in 2006 and 2007.


While hiring remains tight at LC, the G & M Division will be permitted to fill 2 cataloging positions from within Library Services.  Also the Division will be able to fill the positions of Cataloging Team Leader from within the Library and the Head of the Reading Room from within Library Services (the former Head retired at Christmas 2005).  The Division can hire a GS-14 Digital Specialist from outside LC.  A GS 9-12 Cartographer for the Congressional Cartography Program can also be hired.


LC is planning to put the 1507 Waldseemuller map on permanent display in late summer 2007 in a special encasement with inert gases and constant monitoring that will last 20-25 years without degradation.  They are planning a 2 day conference in September 2007 to discuss all aspects of the map and its time period.


The digital team has scanned over 9000 maps that have been put on LC's web site. The most impressive additions during the past year are the Jedediah Hotchkiss Civil War maps and a collection of situation maps from World War Two showing the daily progress of allied forces through Europe from D-Day to V.E. Day.


The Congressional Cartography Program has one GIS specialist who is producing maps for Congressmen and Senators.  The maps produced are not available unless the Congressman or Senator makes them available.  The Program is producing congressional district maps and state maps with congressional boundaries. 


The current acting team leader for the Cataloging Team in G&M is Rodney Pollock.  Two years ago, the G & M Division began a pilot project to allow online access to set map holdings.  Then the funding for the project ended.  During the past four months, this project has been resurrected with the development of a plan to capture holdings data on LC's Sudan set maps; G&M holds 55 different series covering Sudan.  Using the Sudan capture as a proof of concept, the G & M Division will seek funding to launch a larger effort to develop digital access to sheet level holdings for their approximately 2,000,000 sheet set map collection.


With regards to digital data, the G & M Division is cataloging only CD-ROMs and not online data.  They are attempting to list all the data sets in the record.

(Submitted by Dan Seldin)



Submitted Written Agency Reports:

U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Resources Laboratory, May 2006


NREL's GIS holdings are focused on renewable resource datasets. 

Currently our FTP site (http://www.nrel.gov/gis) has geographic shapefiles of annual wind power class (for 33 states and an older national assessment), annual and monthly solar resource (direct normal and tilt=latitude collector), and biomass resource.  In the near future, we will also be adding a higher resolution solar resource data (10 km ground resolution) for the southwestern U.S., and next year hope to have a conterminous U.S. version of that data available.  We also provide access to a number of stand-alone Geospatial Toolkits that have been created for international projects, to provide those countries with some limited GIS querying capability.  These toolkits include renewable resource, infrastructure and other base data for the country as part of the installation package.


There are many additional datasets that can be provided upon request, but aren't distributed on the FTP site.  Some of these datasets require review of need and management approval before they can be sent.  These include the original raster power density datasets that the wind power class shapefiles are created from; supplemental/unvalidated wind speed and power information for different heights above ground and time scales; wind measurement data; and solar modeled hourly values.


Contact persons:


Donna Heimiller                                                 Pamela Gray-Hann

Research Scientist (GIS)                                    Webmaster for FTP site

National Renewable Energy Laboratory               Phone:303-275-4626

1617 Cole Blvd                                                  FAX: 303-275-4675

Golden, CO 80401                                             pamela_gray_hann@nrel.gov



(submitted by Anita Oser)



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