Box 3.1

Examining Spatial Data Infrastructures

USGS Analogues in Other Countries — The British Geological Survey has made cultural adjustments and committed an impressive budget commitment to managing spatial data. Geoscience Australia is beginning to recognize the high value of scientific collaboration through data-sharing enabled by an SDI. These cases provide lessons at the organizational level and are the closest organizational analogues to the USGS.

Multinational Organizations — The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems are ambitious multinational efforts at standardization and collaboration with direct relevance to USGS’s role in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.

U.S. Public and Private Institutions — In the United States, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Texas National Resources Information System, and NAVTEQ each take different approaches to integrating datasets from multiple sources. Standardization plays a particularly large role and varies among these institutions, and it provides a valuable comparison for the USGS.

Large Discipline-specific Organizations — The National Ecological Observatory Network and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. provide lessons from large-scale data integration and access efforts.

Spatial Data at the USGS — The USGS Topographic Mapping Program is the seminal agency-wide commitment to an ambitious spatial data program that established the core value of spatial data at the USGS. Research at the Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science is providing much of the technology needed to implement an agency-wide SDI through its work on The National Map. The National Biological Information Infrastructure and National Hydrography Dataset are successful integrations of multiple, dissimilar datasets with direct relevance to spatial dataset integration for the USGS SDI. These programs provide examples of how SDI development has occurred at the USGS.

ent organizations. Other lessons are drawn from single incidents that are directly relevant to some aspect of a USGS SDI.

Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia (GA) is the national geoscience research and information agency for Australia. GA was formed in 2001 as a result of a merger of the Australian Geological Survey Organization with the government bodies for topographic-mapping and remote-sensing functions. Like the USGS, GA operates in a federal system, in partnership with the states and territories of Australia. Spatial data are a prime responsibility, and activities focus on providing key information for Australia with an emphasis on onshore and offshore environmental hazards



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