component of The National Map (USGS, 2001). In large part the National Atlas has been built using coordination and partnerships, using a national standard to develop nationally consistent small-scale databases from larger-scale data. Data themes are owned and maintained by different federal agencies and updates are provided to the USGS for inclusion in the National Atlas. The same should be true of The National Map, though at larger scales and with more partners.
The USGS concept of The National Map has two principal components, each dependent on the other. We have used a blanket and patchwork quilt metaphor in explaining these two components. The blanket, which we have termed the enhanced National Atlas (to extend the existing program), is a consistent national digital map coverage maintained at one or more scales. This blanket coverage that includes Framework layers would be built from public domain data and broadly disseminated following the philosophy in OMB Circular No. A-16. The second component, the patchwork quilt National Map, would be the result of contributed imagery and maps from local, state, and tribal governments, and from private and nonprofit organizations, contributed as part of a sweeping collaborative effort. This quilt would consist of patches of larger-scale data adhering to national standards but with varied resolutions and filled with smaller-scale data from the enhanced National Atlas when no other source exists. Some of the data will be public, some proprietary with publicly accessible metadata.
The USGS would serve as the integrator for all map contributions, assembling and merging data, and certifying and issuing a “seal of approval” to data included in The National Map or as an update in the nationally consistent enhanced National Atlas. As the Delaware pilot has shown, the USGS goal of seven-day updates could be attainable using the enhanced National Atlas/National Map approach. Such a dynamic National Map will need to support multiple scales, resolutions, classifications, and feature types provided by National Map partners. It will also require extraordinary coordination.
Implementation of the enhanced National Atlas could be attainable in stages. Larger-scale Framework data at the 1:12,000 or 1:24,000 scale such as geodetic control, digital orthoimagery, Public Land Survey System data, and public ownership boundaries could become part of the enhanced National Atlas in the near term. Other data types, such as hydrography and transportation, may not be completed for several years, since they require significant integration with other data types at the 1:12,000 or 1:24,000 scale.
Implementation of the patchwork quilt component, The National Map, is insufficiently specified in the USGS’s vision document to estimate a