nerships intended to support the construction of the NSDI be allowed to focus on that goal. The federal government has many other goals and objectives for its geospatial data activities besides the promotion of the NSDI. Geospatial data are used for many purposes, and their use supports many goals. As a result, there is some danger that programs designed to promote the NSDI may become convolved with other programs, be diverted to serve other needs, or expected to serve too many different purposes. At the same time, it must be recognized that many projects and programs depend on accurate and current spatial data and the cost of creating and maintaining the data is a legitimate cost item (OMB, 2000; see Box 3).
BOX 3 NSDI and the Office of Management and Budget
It must be recognized that the activities of the FGDC partnership programs were not designed to be a panacea for solving all problems associated with sharing spatial data. Successful models rely on a combination of organization and financial resources. Over the past two years, the Office of Management and Budget has taken a keen interest in NSDI issues. In July of 2000 it held a GeoSpatial Information Roundtable with the objective of identifying the financial and institutional barriers that impede development of the NSDI. This meeting was attended by 110 senior representatives from various sectors. This gathering recognized the importance of the NSDI to E-Government and E-Business, and highlighted FGDC’s role in its stewardship. While the OMB objectives in this sphere parallel those of the FGDC, a report Collecting Information in the Information Age (OMB, 2000) argued for a new paradigm that would build the NSDI from the “bottom up”. The report recognizes the importance of scale, and notes that “State, local and tribal entities will build much of the NSDI… The challenge for the Federal government is to leverage this investment, coordinate efforts, and help state and local governments and the private sector make the data available regionally and nationally” (OMB 2000). The OMB report also recognized that “By itself, FGDC’s resources are insufficient to steward the building of ‘natural clusters’ of partners.” The participants in the roundtable developed a set of recommendations that emphasized many of the same issues that