• Authoritative geographic knowledge base of topographic features based on a geographic feature ontology;

  • Comprehensive database of official geographic feature names, and local, regional, and historic variants in The National Map gazetteer;

  • Enhanced spatial-temporal integration framework for organization and synchronization with other USGS data collections;

  • Geographic semantic reference system;

  • Multiple levels of spatial detail;

  • Feature histories (for spatial locations, attributes, names);

  • User-supported local validation;

  • Flexible product generation (e.g., response to fact queries, process model data packages, maps on demand, traditional topographic maps); and

  • Smart adjustment of maps or other visual display settings for different devices.

This is a challenging but necessary and achievable vision for CEGIS, NGPO, and USGS. Its realization will require focused work and resources, but a dedicated effort has the potential to ensure a continued role for USGS as the preeminent distributor of topographic information. The new knowledge base model for The National Map, enabling widely diverse queries over time as well as over geography, along with highly flexible product generation means that The National Map has gone far beyond being just a map.


CEGIS is not lacking in potential GIScience research topics. The hard decisions facing CEGIS leadership are, (1) Which among the myriad potentially useful research topics will provide the most benefit in advancing the goals of The National Map, NGPO, and the other disciplines? and (2) What is the right research portfolio with respect to the balance among serving The National Map, NGPO, and the other disciplines? On the second question, the committee favors an initial emphasis on serving The National Map because of its strategic importance to NGPO and USGS as a whole. On the first question, and in the absence of detailed published requirements for The National Map, the committee explored the distinguishing traits of The National Map—present and future—as a guide to what traits are most worth acquiring or developing through research.

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