a. Improved and accelerated global coordination and enhancement of topographic mapping
A pressing need exists to improve and accelerate global coordination and enhancement of topographic mapping. Such improvements can be achieved most efficiently through increased engagement with partners via crucially important mechanisms such as the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the International Steering Committee for Global Mapping (ISCGM). The OGC is an international consortium of more than 400 companies, government agencies, and universities that participate in a consensus process to develop open standards for geospatial information (see Chapter 3). OGC standards guide the optimization of all georeferenced information for use on the Web, wireless and location-based services, and all institutional information technology systems. A fully active and influential role for the USGS in the OGC thus is essential.
b. Rapid acceleration of the reconciliation and accessibility of geologic mapping
Most geologic maps remain optimized for the printing press. Present-day applications in fields such as resources and hazards require reconciliation of adjacent maps and the ability to readily query for aspects such as lithology. Progress in this field is facilitated by the Commission for the Management and Application of Geoscience Information (CGI), a commission of the International Union of Geological Sciences. Accelerated reconciliation of these maps could be achieved through an active role of the USGS in this commission.
In association with CGI activity, an escalating role is now also being fulfilled by the OneGeology project.4 OneGeology is developing a formal governance model that is seen as having great potential for bringing about dramatically enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in international geological mapping and related fields. OneGeology is an international initiative of the geological surveys of the world which aims to create dynamic digital geological map data for the world and make existing geological map data accessible in whatever digital format is available in each country. The project has also committed to transfer knowhow to those who need it by adopting an approach that recognizes that different nations have differing abilities to participate.
The objectives to which all geological survey agencies need to aspire, with respect to the development of interpretations, protocols, and standards needed for seamless and 3D geologic maps, were well stated in USGS Circular 1369, released in early 2011 (Gundersen et al., 2011). Similar objectives exist in the fields of geophysical surveys and geochemical mapping, as these fields along with geology are major factors in attracting and facilitating activity such as mineral exploration. These objectives can be pursued globally, in close coordination with domestic and international partners. Continued USGS leadership in development of worldwide digitally based standards for geological mapping