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National Spatial Data Infrastructure Partnership Programs: Rethinking the Focus
addition, funding should be directed to projects that are of a sufficient scale to provide well-designed empirical tests of the hypotheses underlying the NSDI goals, and should allow for adequate documentation and dissemination of results.
We found that the programs funded through the FGDC provided only a minuscule proportion of the total resources available nationally to support geospatial data partnerships. It may be that the critical evidence required to demonstrate reductions in redundancy and costs, as well as improvements in accuracy, already exists for partnerships that have developed independently of the FGDC programs. The committee recommends that future partnership programs initiated by the FGDC should be conceived in the context of all relevant partnership programs, and should be designed to augment and leverage them.
It is clear that the efforts of the FGDC to fund partnership activities may be only one of many ways to further the development of the NSDI. The sense of the committee is that we are at an important point in the evolution toward the ultimate goal envisioned by the Committee. New nationwide spatial data are available from the 2000 decennial Census of Population and Housing. The effort of the Office of Management and Budget’s new initiative, Collecting Information in an Information Age, has received considerable attention in the last year. Efforts to develop a new organization, the Geographic Data Alliance, are too early to assess. At the same time, local governments and the private sector are devoting considerable resources to complete spatial data they need to serve business clients and the citizens in their communities. All of these activities suggest that the need for a robust NSDI is more important than ever and that it is appropriate for the MSC to continue to monitor and assess the status of the institutional settings and technical progress that affect the development of a robust NSDI.