and the experiences of a wide range of users in both the public and private sector.

It should also be noted that in February 2000, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) issued a Request for Proposals (UCGIS, 2000a) for an assessment of FGDC’s funding programs, “…to better understand their effectiveness, to determine whether the grants are the most effective means to achieve the NSDI goals, and to help guide future grant efforts.” The UCGIS study, being carried out by the Department of Geography at SUNY at Buffalo, is being funded under a contract between UCGIS and FGDC. We expect that, when completed, the UCGIS study will add substantially to our knowledge of the effectiveness of these programs, and will complement the content of this present report. An important element of this study is an assessment of reasons why organizations have decided not to participate in the NSDI partnership programs.


In 1994, the FGDC initiated the NSDI Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP) (1994; p. 1) “…to help form partnerships with the non-federal sector that will assist in the evolution of the NSDI. The goal is to encourage resource-sharing projects through the use of technology, networking, and more efficient interagency coordination…” This program is now in its seventh year. It funds activities that promote the goals of NSDI, and is designed to provide relatively small amounts of money that leverage local sources and stimulate new activity, particularly new partnerships. By keeping the funding amounts small and limiting its awards to seed funding for one year, CAP strives to initiate long-term activity while avoiding long-term dependency on federal funding.

As a consequence of policy decisions and budget priorities, the nature and size of the program and the types of projects funded have varied considerably from year to year:


—Approximately $250,000 was distributed among nine projects.


—Projects that developed and used metadata tools were emphasized; $625,000 was allocated to 22 projects.

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