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public safety during natural and human-induced disasters; can assure the effective use and protection of the nation’s resources; and support literally hundreds of applications that contribute to every citizen’s daily life. Accurate and timely map data aid the hunter, the boater, the letter carrier, the schoolchild, the city manager, the law enforcement officer, the scientist, and the President. In this way little has changed since 1807.
The value of The National Map approach for homeland security is apparent. Homeland security information must reside locally and be integratable nationally (e.g., see comments of Hugh Bender, Appendix D). When rapid response is needed in the critical first minutes and hours, local information is used by local first responders (e.g., see comments of Scott Oppmann and Ian von Essen, Appendix D), but when looking for patterns, trends, and tendencies, the national view will be critical. This was the case with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when local data in the form of New York City’s NYCMap (Keller and Kreizman, 2002) were prominent in helping in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup at the World Trade Center. As operations continued the federal role was to add new data and integrated information beyond the municipal boundaries of New York City.
All of these needs and applications must be balanced against the reality that The National Map will need to have a clear direction and focus and that it cannot be all things to all people and all applications (e.g., see comments of Yves Belzile, Appendix D), because this will generate unreasonable expectations and skepticism from data producers. In particular the committee distinguished between functions of unified coverage at a common scale, where the main contribution is to remove the arbitrary limitations of local districts through common specifications and extent versus the desire at all times to have the most accurate and up-to-date information, regardless of common standards or scale.
What do participants in the planning process for The National Map imagine it to be? During the workshop for this study, participants were asked to visualize and describe The National Map at some time in the future. The following vignette based on their input illustrates the range of stakeholders and process managers in The National Map.
It is now 2007 and the nation awaits preparation for the 2010 decennial census. Updating the TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) files for the 2000 census was a slow, massive, and costly undertaking, but there has now been a watershed change in thinking about how to coordinate the development of a consistent set of street centerlines for digital maps. New streets are routinely submitted in digital format by developers to municipal and county government offices to