ROLES OF PRIVATE INDUSTRY AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

The above discussion has focused on governmental units at the state, tribal, county, city, or local levels. However, it should not be assumed that these jurisdictions bear the full responsibility for extending the Framework. There are at least two roles for private industry and nonprofit organizations in the creation of an extended Framework:

  1. Performing the actual data capture and database creation under contract to governmental units; and

  2. Involvement in consortia of private firms, nonprofit organizations, and governmental units in collecting and maintaining necessary data.

Examples can be cited at all levels of government of the use of private industry to convert analog geographic information into digital form. This arrangement is likely to continue: it does not make economic sense for governmental units in most instances to carry out the conversion of existing data, since this is a large one-time operation that can be carried out efficiently in the private sector. On the other hand, if the governmental unit does some comprehensive planning that includes provisions for maintenance prior to conversion, it makes economic sense for governmental operations to perform the maintenance and update functions. Unfortunately, to date much conversion has been accomplished without sufficient concern for maintenance and update, and it can therefore be expected that private firms and nonprofit organizations will also be needed for the initial update of the converted analog data.

More important to the long-term maintenance and health of Framework data is the recognition by private industry that its future lies in providing services for individuals and firms that utilize the extended NSDI. Once that realization occurs, we will find that it is in the best economic interests of industry, nonprofit organizations, and government to form consortia to ensure continued availability of the data needed for a robust extended NSDI. The long-term role of private industry in an extended NSDI is to provide spatial data services to



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