BOX 2.1 The National Spatial Data Infrastructure

Created partly because of the recommendation of a National Research Council report (NRC, 1993), the NSDI refers to the technologies, policies, and people necessary to promote sharing of geospatial data throughout all levels of government, non-profit organizations, the private sector, and the academic community. The goals of the NSDI are to reduce duplication of effort among agencies; improve quality and reduce costs related to geographic information; make geographic data more accessible to the public; increase the benefits of using available data; and establish key partnerships with states, counties, cities, tribal nations, academia, and the private sector to increase data availability.

TABLE 2.1 Various Responsibilities for Data Layers of the NSDI


Federal Agency Chair

Base Cartographic Data

U.S. Geological Survey


Bureau of Land Management

Cultural and Demographic

Bureau of Census

Federal Geodetic Control

NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey


U.S. Geological Survey

Ground Transportation

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

International Boundaries & Sovereignty

Department of State, Office of Geographer

Marine and Costal Spatial Data

NOAA’s Coastal Services Center


USDA’s National Research Conservation Service

Spatial Climate

USDA’s National Water and Climate Center

Spatial Water Data

U.S. Geological Survey


USDA’s U.S. Forest Service


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


SOURCE: Adapted from FGDC Chart of Partner Responsibilities.

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