monitoring and mapping at all scales from national to local and the ability to understand environmental and ecological processes, is found nowhere else in the Federal Government.”
Temporal analysis and real-time access expand the roles for a geospatial database. The temporal analysis requirement also underpins the key question in the climate direction: What links between climate, land use, and hydrology influence the temporal and spatial characteristics of water resources?
Access to real-time geospatial and other data is a rapidly growing requirement for managing the nation’s natural resources. The human health direction identifies a strategic action requiring real-time analysis and challenges the USGS to “develop an online atlas of potential environmental health threats, which consolidates USGS data and information and provides real-time data for researchers and public-health agencies to enhance the Nation’s ability to respond quickly to current threats and anticipate potential future threats.”
Management of natural hazards is also highly dependent on timely data dissemination. The USGS’s vision in terms of hazards expects that “by 2017, the USGS will … significantly expand urban hazard mapping throughout the Nation … and we will have the models, metrics, decision-support tools, and portals that provide intelligent access to remotely sensed data and geospatial information for cost-effective risk-reduction, response, and recovery efforts … [G]eographic methods and tools need to be developed … and intelligent access [provided].” In addition, the energy direction anticipates the need to share information as well as “maintain and update the geological and geophysical databases and geochemical baselines used to develop national and global resource assessments … [and] … assure the data are accessible both internally and externally.” Lastly, the vision for the hazard direction is to have all seismically active areas served whereby “associated maps of shaking level, population density, and susceptibility to landslides will be posted on the Internet within minutes of the determination of the earthquake location and magnitude.”
The implications of information dissemination are global and multinational—as summarized in USGS’s final vision statement: “An international consensus is developing on the need to leverage recent advances in computer science and related technologies to create a next-generation, integrated science computing and collaboration platform that will be as transformational as the Internet.”