Box 3.2

Excerpts of Key Findings about Geoscience Australia from the Australian National Audit Office

“Feedback from government agencies and key industry stakeholders confirmed that Geoscience Australia’s work is valued and often essential to their outcomes. Notwithstanding this positive feedback, Geoscience Australia’s website, its key interface with customers, is complex to use and more data and information could be made publicly available. In addition, the management of many product and service projects lacked project plans, risk assessments and key performance indicators.”

“In addition, there is no inventory that documents the purpose, extent and nature of Geoscience Australia’s data and information holdings and physical collections. It is therefore not well positioned to appropriately maintain and store its data holdings or make informed decisions about the accessibility of that data.”

SOURCE: Australian National Audit Office, 2010

were needed as inevitable improvements were made after the introduction of the SDI. A policy of under-promising but over-delivering is useful in such situations. Support by the executive level can foster commitment and enthusiasm in senior, middle, and junior members of staff. Adequate funding was also important.

A recent Australian National Audit Office report (2010) provides additional lessons for SDI development (see Box 3.2). The findings are pertinent for public-sector organizations responsible for custodianship and delivery of public-sector data and information, such as the USGS. The key points of the audit report echo findings stated by GA employees. GA’s value is in its spatial data but has yet to be fully appreciated. GA has not yet developed a clear spatial data plan, cataloged and shared data, improved communication with partners, or implemented standards. In many ways, the Survey is further along than GA in SDI implementation, but many of the missed opportunities outlined in the GA audit report can also apply to the USGS.

British Geological Survey

The British Geological Survey (BGS) is the national geological survey of the United Kingdom (UK). Unlike the USGS, which covers many disciplines, BGS examines only geoscience. However, both the BGS and USGS have national responsibility for the acquisition, analysis, management, and delivery of geoscience data in their countries. The BGS budget is roughly £48 million, and approximately half of it is funded by their national government (British Geological Survey, 2011).

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