October l9, l990
TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
SUBJECT: Coordination of Surveying, Mapping, and Related Spatial Data Activities
3. Responsibility for coordination
4. Establishment of coordinating mechanisms
5. Responsibilities of other Federal agencies
6. Differences among agencies
l. Purpose. This revised Circular describes the responsi- bilities of Federal agencies with respect to coordination of those Federal surveying, mapping, and related spatial data activities described in paragraph 2, below. (Spatial data are geographically referenced features that are described by geographic positions and attributes in an analog and/or computer-readable (digital) form.) It rescinds and replaces Circular No. A-l6 dated May 6, l967. The revised Exhibits will remain in effect until replaced pursuant to paragraph 4 of this Circular.
A major objective of this Circular is the eventual development of a national digital spatial information resource, with the involvement of Federal, State, and local governments, and the private sector. This national information resource, linked by criteria and standards, will enable sharing and efficient transfer of spatial data between producers and users. Enhanced coordination will build information partnerships among government institutions and the public and private sectors, avoiding wasteful duplication of effort and ensuring effective and economical management of information resources in meeting essential user requirements.
2. Coverage. The coordinating procedures established by this Circular extend to all activities financed in whole or in part by Federal funds that:
a. Can contribute to:
b. Can contribute to:
c. Result in cartographic representation of international boundaries other than those of the United States with Canada or Mexico.
Excluded are surveying, mapping, and related spatial data activities conducted or supported by a Federal agency to meet specific agency program needs that are not met by the programs specified in paragraph 2a and 2b of this Circular and that cannot practicably or economically contribute to the national programs. However, these activities should be performed in such a way that the resulting products are provided in a format that can be shared with other Federal agencies and non-Federal users.
Determination of the surveying, mapping, and related spatial data activities that are required to meet program needs is the responsibility of the agency that manages each program. However, evaluation of the potential contribution of those activities to a national surveying, mapping, or related spatial data program must be made by such agency in consultation, or pursuant to a general agreement, with the responsible agency, or agencies, as described in paragraph 3 of this Circular.
3. Responsibility for coordination. Surveying, mapping, and related spatial data activities encompass a number of categories of data, including base topographic mapping, cadastral, geologic, geodetic, resource (e.g., soils, wetlands, and vegetation), cultural, demographic, and ground transportation data. These national spatial data categories have multi-agency interest. The Departments identified below will provide governmentwide leadership to coordinate this multi-agency interest, including the facilitation of exchange of information and transfer of data; the establishment and implementation of standards for quality, content, and transferability; and the coordination of the collection of spatial data to minimize duplication of effort where practicable and economical. Each Department has existing authority described in its basic mission (e.g., statutory authority or Public Law), or implied as part of its program responsibilities.
This departmental governmentwide leadership for surveying, mapping, and related spatial data coordination will be carried out under the policy guidance and oversight of the interagency coordinating committee established pursuant to paragraph 4 of this Circular. Additional responsibilities and agencies may be added to paragraph 3 by recommendation of the interagency coordinating committee and concurrence by the Office of Management and Budget.
a. The Department of Interior is responsible for the National Mapping Program, the National Geologic Mapping Program, and the Public Land Survey System of the United States and outlying areas of sovereignty and jurisdiction. The Department of the Interior is also responsible for the Public Land Conveyance (patent) Records, the National Wetlands Inventory, geologic names, and, in conjunction with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, for the standardization of domestic geographic names and maintaining the official record of such names. The Department of the Interior operates a network of Earth Science Information Centers, with responsibility to collect, maintain, and disseminate earth science information in support of national requirements. This responsibility includes establishing programs to identify such data available from other Federal agencies that are of general use, and the sources from which users may obtain those data.
The Department of the Interior exercises governmentwide leadership in assuring coordinated planning and execution of these functions and related surveying, mapping, and spatial data activities of Federal agencies, including activities financed in whole or in part by such agencies, for the following purposes:
b. The Department of Commerce is responsible for establishing and maintaining the networks of geodetic surveys that compose the National Geodetic Reference System (NGRS) and maintains information on the status of geodetic surveys that meet the standards for inclusion in the NGRS. The Department also produces and maintains nautical and aeronautical charts, promulgates standards, and is responsible for collecting, processing, and tabulating cultural (e.g., economic data and the names and boundaries of domestic governmental entities) and demographic data through its decennial, economic, agriculture, and governments censuses and related statistical activities. In addition, the Department produces maps and other products concerning marine natural resources.
In carrying out these functions, the Department of Commerce exercises governmentwide leadership in assuring coordinated planning and execution of its national geodetic surveys, nautical and aeronautical charts, standards activities, census and sample surveys, and the related survey and charting activities that are financed in whole or in part by Federal funds, for the following purposes:
c. The Department of State exercises governmentwide leadership to assure that cartographic representations of international boundaries, other than those of the United States with Canada or Mexico, by all Federal agencies are consistent with and conform to United States foreign policy.
d. The Department of Agriculture is responsible for the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program. It exercises governmentwide leadership to assure coordinated planning for the collection, maintenance, and distribution of digital soils and vegetation data, for the following purposes:
e. The Department of Transportation exercises governmentwide leadership to assure coordinated planning for the collection, maintenance, and distribution of national ground transportation data, for the following purposes:
In addition to the responsibilities outlined above, each coordinating Department will arrange, through periodic meetings or other appropriate means, for exchange of information among Federal agencies and other governmental authorities concerning technological developments with respect to their assigned activities.
4. Establishment of coordinating mechanisms. An interagency coordinating committee will be established to coordinate Circular A-l6 related activities, and to recommend to the Office of Management and Budget, where required, appropriate additions, revisions, or deletions to this Circular and Exhibits. The committee will be called the Federal Geographic Data Committee and will be chaired by the Department of the Interior.
a. The objective of this interagency coordinating committee is to promote the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of surveying, mapping, and related spatial data. This objective supports surveying and mapping activities, aids geographic information system use, and assists land managers, technical support organizations, and other users in meeting their program objectives through:
b. The interagency coordinating committee will also provide guidance and promote cooperation and coordination among Federal, State, and local government agencies and in the private sector in the collection, production, and sharing of surveying, mapping, and related spatial data.
c. The interagency coordinating committee will include representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, and Transportation; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the National Archives and Records Administration. Other Federal departments and independent agencies with activities or interest in surveying, mapping, or related spatial data can request membership by writing to the Secretary of the Interior.
The committee will establish, in consultation with other Federal agencies and appropriate organizations, such standards, procedures, interagency agreements, and other mechanisms as are necessary to carry out its governmentwide coordinating responsibilities. Subcommittees, working groups, and advisory committees may be convened to support specific needs as identified by the coordinating committee and will report directly to the committee.
5. Responsibilities of other Federal agencies. Each Federal agency is responsible for:
a. Cooperating as requested in the development of appropriate coordinating mechanisms;
b. Supplying necessary information to the interagency coordinating committee concerning its surveying, mapping, and related spatial data requirements, programs, activities, and products; and
c. Conducting its surveying, mapping, related spatial data gathering and product distribution activities in a manner that provides effective governmentwide coordination and efficient, economical service to the general public.
6.Differences among agencies. Any major differences that cannot be resolved through consultation among cooperating agencies with respect to coordination of activities covered by this Circular should be referred in writing by the head of any agency concerned to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Copies of such referrals will be provided to the Chairman of the Federal Geographic Data Committee and the heads of the agencies named in paragraph 4 of this Circular.
7. Reporting. The Interagency Coordinating Committee identified in paragraph 4 will: (a) summarize the individual reports of any subcommittees, working groups, and advisory committees; (b) comment on the state of coordination of Federal surveying, mapping, and related spatial data activities; and (c) transmit the entire package to OMB annually.
Richard G. Darman
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