1. The federal government has been taking steps to organize its geospatial data efforts, led by OMB.

  2. The federal government understands the need for large-scale parcel data that can only come from local governments.

  3. The proposed Imagery for the Nation program would provide valuable incentives to local governments.

  4. The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is an extremely viable organization and has worked with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to establish the Fifty States Initiative.

  5. The private sector has very recently been creating sets of parcel data throughout the country for the location-based services industry.

  6. Homeland security and emergency response issues have taken on heightened importance and require parcel data for effective operations.

Although these points show that necessary progress is being made and awareness of the need for parcel data has been growing, there are still many challenges. In order to overcome the issues listed in Chapter 5 and achieve the vision outlined in Chapter 6, the committee offers specific critical recommendations. Most of the recommendations address organizational issues so that the basic organizational framework needed to build national data can be established. Two recommendations are related to funding that will address the financial and many of the political issues. Once the basic framework is set up, it will then be the responsibility of the various coordinators to start resolving the technical and legal issues discussed in Chapter 5.


Issue 1. The need to clarify and enforce federal agency responsibilities for land parcel-related geospatial data under OMB Circular A-16.

OMB Circular A-16 requires the federal government to establish the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and authorizes the FGDC to provide appropriate leadership. This requirement includes the assignment of custodial responsibility for different NSDI framework geospatial data layers. The NSDI specifically mandates that the federal government has a key responsibility to create and maintain geospatial representations for both federal land ownership status and cadastral information. The interpretation of how these two themes are defined and how they are being implemented is critical to this study. According to Circular A-16, federal land ownership status includes the “establishment and maintenance of a system for the storage and dissemination of information describing all title, estate or interest of the federal government in a parcel of real and mineral property. The ownership status system is the portrayal of title for all such federal estates or interests in land” (OMB, 2002).

In the context of the modern E-Government strategy outlined in the recent OMB GLoB, this definition of federal land ownership status would logically mandate an inventory and geographic representation of land managed by the federal government. According to the vision laid out in Chapter 6 such an inventory should be consolidated into a single federal agency and be managed by a federal land parcel coordinator with an appropriate team.

In a similar manner the cadastral framework NSDI layer is defined by Circular A-16 as “the geographic extent of past, current, and future right, title, and interest in real property, and the framework to support the description of that geographic extent. The geographic extent includes survey and description frameworks such as the Public Land Survey System, as well as parcel-by-parcel surveys and descriptions” (OMB, 2002). Again, the interpretation of this description is critical to this study. The committee found ample evidence that the intent of federal agency stewardship for

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