• complete a five-year plan for the USGS Cooperative Topographic Mapping program, including setting data architecture, operations, goals, and timelines;

  • develop a business model for implementation;

  • identify and make necessary changes in business practices;

  • identify workforce implications;

  • investigate existing holdings and data partnerships for compatibility with the concept, and define data content;

  • expand the state liaison activities by building pilots; and

  • identify needs for legislative initiatives as implementation progresses.

The absence of a thorough implementation plan can only be seen as an impediment to progress. At the USGS “Status of The National Map” website (USGS, 2002e), a graphic indicates that (1) a consistent user interface is to be developed by October 2002; (2) by February 2003 there are to be multiple Web map services and consistent theme descriptions; (3) by August 2003 a consistent symbology will be decided; and (4) by September 2003 a digital data extraction and graphic generation capability will exist. The vision document (USGS, 2001) states that “significant accomplishments must be programmed for the fiscal year 2002–06 timeframe”; The National Map will be accomplished in phases; and “the goal for full implementation of The National Map by 2010 is part of the vision.”

A more detailed vision is necessary for an effective implementation plan. Although the goals to be attained and the roles to be played in developing The National Map are discussed at length in USGS (2001), the specifics cannot be left to develop solely through pilot projects. Although pilot projects are an important first step for testing ideas and approaches, potential partners in the broader geospatial community need an understanding of the specifics of how they could be involved, the benefits to them, and the resources they will likely need to contribute if they are to buy into the concept. There are few barriers for the USGS in creating such an implementation plan, and indeed, progress may already have been made beyond the documents circulated as part of the visioning process. The discussion in this chapter includes issues relating to implementation that are developed as recommendations in Chapter 5. Foremost is the need to identify and highlight the major challenges the USGS will face in implementing the concept of The National Map.

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