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1 INTRODUCTION Leo of the initial charges (see the Preface) to the Mapping Science Com- mittee requested by the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) were addressed in the committee's 1990 report, Spatial Data Needs: The Future of the National Mapping Program.i That report analyzed the USGS mapping programs in light of the user requirements and geographic information system (GIS) involvement of the broader community. This report assesses the research and development (R&D) plans and activities within the USGS National Mapping Division (NMD) and is responsive to the charge: "Examine and advise on USGS programs of research and development of hardware and software for original data acquisition, processing, storing, marketing, and distribution of digital cartographic data and synthesized information products to the user community." This report focuses on the R&D plans and activities of NMD. The committee recognizes that the Geologic Division and the Water Resources Division of the USGS also conduct a substantial amount of research using GIS and other techniques, but we did not attempt to analyze the applications research compo- nents of these two divisions. Over the years, NMD's R&D orientation has been focused more toward the applied, operational system development aspects of the cartographic process central to its major mission, producing a wide variety of printed maps, and it 4
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s remains so. Meanwhile, NMD's mission has grown to include the production of digital cartographic data bases. When examining NMD's R&D efforts, the committee was aware that the USGS is primarily a data producer and that others largely determine the use of its data. Applications within NMD serve primarily to help it learn about poten- tial value to the broader user community of the various data sets that it collects or manages. Much R&D needs to be done, both in NMD and throughout the mapping community. Within NMD, the key should be balanc~between production of the printed map and spatially referenced digital data in the face of ever changing user needs and changing technology. In our previous report, the committee identified the critical need for a coordinated and efficient national spatial information "infrastructure" to facilitate sharing and communicating spatial information resources. Future map making will be just one aspect of a larger enterprise~ne focused on acquiring, manipu- lating, and distributing spatial data in various forms to solve problems and meet various spatial information needs. Because the demand for consistent geographic data is so vast, the committee concluded that the most important function of NMD In the future is for it to act as the overall administrator of the national geo- graphic (or spatial) data infrastructure. Indeed, the Department of the Interior (DOI) was recently given the responsibility for "archiving and distributing space- and land-based earth science data"2 as part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Acceptance of the responsibility for performing this task is a major step toward NMD's assumption of a broader data administration role. This increased administrative role would require NMD to emphasize, for example (1) managing existing data sets, (2) identifying, characterizing, providing access to, and, in some cases, capturing other data sources, and (3) providing directories and catalogs with browse capabilities. Together, these functions would define a comprehensive data administration/management role. In carry- ing out such an expanded administrative role, a range of R&D activities is critical not only to advancing the understanding of spatial data in general but also to maintaining up-to-date technological capabilities and improving NMD data products to meet changing user requirements. This future spatial data user community is diverse (see Table 1), involving, for example, the recreational user, industrial and governmental planners and resource managers, and academics with teaching and fundamental research information needs. NMD's current R&D program focuses on the immediate (1 to 4 years) needs associated with the specification and implementation of an advanced
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6 TABLE 1 Examples of User Communities Bust sales, advertising, and marketing managers; product planners; site location, marketing, credit, and financial analysts; recruiters; demographers; statisticians; and actuaries. Economy Development chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, lending institu- tions, and economic planning and financial consultants. Education Adminis~tiion. facility and transportation planners, principals, and school boards. Engineer engineering, transportation, architecture, and environmental planning and design. Buility Management public housing agencies, architects, space planners, and facility managers. Health Sen~oes: groups involved with organizing the geographical distribution and access of health manpower and facilities. Inha~uIe Manag mend groups involved in the management and maintenance of facilities comprising the national infrastructure: roads and highways; bridges; tunnels; railroads; airports; ports and harbors; and gas, electric, water, sewer, telecommunication, and pipeline networks. ~icsandDi - ~utionManagement logistic, circulation, and distribution managers, dispatchers, and schedulers; the postal service; private package and document delivery services; over-the-road freight haulers; and logistical support agencies of the US. Department of Defense and other governmental agencies. MineralAss~ment and Extraction: groups involved with the exploration and extraction of mineral resources other than oil and natural gas. Notional D~:fcose combat arms and support services of the national defense establishment when involved in field operations and training. Petroleum l~loratiion and Production groups involved with the exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas both on- and off-shore. Political Adminis~abon: groups involved with the administration of local, state, federal, and other elections and/or the political redistricting process. Public Health groups involved with the tracking, analyzing, and reporting of contagious diseases and other hazards to public health. Public T'ansportatiion. groups involved with the movement of people on public carriers. Publishing and Media public and private organizations involved in the collection, production, and distribution of cartographic products and geographically related statistical data. Real Estate Information Management groups involved in the marketing, sale, transfer, manage- ment, and taxation of real property. Renewable R`:souroe Management groups involved with the conservation and exploitation of the earth's renewable resources: air, water, fish and wildlife, forests, and agricultural and range lands. Rcsean~h: groups involved in theoretical or applied research requiring the use or management of spatially indexed information. Surfing, Mapping, and Data Conversion: groups involved in the preparation of control, engineer- ing, and property surveys; the production of large-scale planimetric, topographic, ownership, and utility system maps; and the conversion of said maps and drawing:; to a digital format. Teaching: groups directly involved with the instruction of students at all academic levels. Urban and Regional Planning: groups involved in land use planning and land use code enforcement. After F.L. Hanigan, ea., "The GIS Forum," ARC News, Winter 1990, pp. 16-17.
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7 cartographic system (Mark-II). This system, which is being developed parallel to and cooperatively with the Defense Mapping Agencis (DMA) Mark-9O modernization effort, is designed to automate the production and revision of the standard series of USGS maps (both analog and digital forms) on a more timely basis. Although the committee understands and appreciates the need for such a focus, we also believe that more emphasis should be given to both the funda- mental and long-term applied aspects of spatial data handling in support of national needs. To date, only a small part of the R&D effort within NMD is associated with such activities. NMD is currently aligning its research plans within seven initiatives and its development activities in six categories. For each, a single coordinator is respon- sible for advising NMD management of the activities and suggesting areas that need further attention. This report is organized in three major chapters. Chapter 2 discusses NMD's current plans for technological development of its cartographic and production systems and its research initiatives. The material presented is extract- ed from internal NMD planning documents, and it discusses specific activities that NMD is either currently undertaking or planning through its R&D program. The committee is aware, and the reader should note, that most of the specifics presented in this section are proposed activities. At present, research is con- strained by the sizable commitment of resources (funds and personnel) to the Mark-II development effort. Chapter 3 discusses R&D opportunities both within the USGS and throughout the broader spatial data infrastructure (e.g., federal and non-federal governmental entities, the private sector, and universities). Chapter 4 presents the committee's conclusions and recommendations. The recommendations are made within the context of the committee's recommenda- tions in its earlier report.) l 1