ment, academia, and the private sector. The Committee advocates adoption of a funding formula that provides resources to all participants on a non-competitive basis, coupled with grants of sufficient size and duration to achieve expected outcomes. In addition, the committee recommends that funding should be directed at 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.
In our discussions, we were struck by the many forms of partnership that have emerged over the past seven years. Partnerships exist at all levels of government, and involve all types of organizations and agencies. Only a small proportion of them have received substantial funding from the FGDC programs, and in those cases the amount of funding provided was comparatively small relative to the total resources available to the partnership. It is difficult to see the complete picture if one focuses too much on the FGDC’s programs, and difficult to set these in the correct context. 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 to achieve maximum impact.
The NSDI is at a critical juncture in its evolution. The FGDC continues to play the lead role of federal coordination. The efforts of the working groups and subcommittees have resulted in important dialog among the stakeholders and standards for the definition of different data components are emerging. At the same time, a new organization such as the GeoData Alliance could radically change the institutional setting for the promotion of the NSDI. The new initiative by the OMB demonstrates the importance of spatial data and recognizes that the Federal government has a limited role in its actual maintenance. We find it encouraging and surprising that the OMB initiative has been rapidly adopted as a useful umbrella for coordinating data sharing efforts at a variety of regional levels. The activities of these I-Teams must be carefully analyzed to determine whether a “bottom-up” model can be successful. We are also at an interesting stage in technological development that is driving a robust private sector. Commercial remote sensing satellites are providing data that are suitable for extraction of some urban features (e.g.,