its limited resources while adopting best practices and furthering interagency standardization.

Finally, the success of implementing a vision for such a large program as the USGS SDI will depend in large part to its leadership. There is a need for empowered leadership and for USGS ownership of a comprehensive and reliable national dataset. Supportive leadership will be critical for developing carefully planned, staffed, budgeted, and executed governance and policies.


A well-designed SDI program that is based on best practices and focused on the agency’s mission will have a high probability of success provided there is adequate planning and execution. To that end, the committee proposes a roadmap for SDI implementation that divides it into three broad phases: (1) preparation and planning; (2) design, development, and testing; and (3) rollout and refinement. The committee proposes some general steps in each phase to assist the USGS in carrying out its task in implementing an effective SDI.

Programmatic preparations and plans are critical in the first phase of SDI implementation. A first critical step is the appointment of key leaders and personnel for envisioning, establishing, and carrying out the vision for an effective SDI. The leadership team will need to determine and define SDI system requirements (based on the six directions in the USGS Science Strategy and with consideration of user needs in other agencies, local governments, academe, and the public), determine the organizational structure of the SDI, identify goals, establish timeframes and milestones, and develop performance metrics. Once the initial planning is complete, it will be important to announce a general outline for implementing the SDI program; communication and outreach will play a decisive role in its success.

The second phase would entail designing, developing, and testing the SDI program. Once standards are determined, the next steps are process identification and development and software development. The former identifies common and documented processes that can enable the SDI to function smoothly across the USGS, and the latter establishes tools for discovery, management, recording, archiving, and sharing of data. With standards, processes, and software in place for an SDI prototype, a training development program would be needed to allow staff to become acquainted with the prototype. The training program would be crucial for providing technical training and support and for building organizational support and buy-in at all levels. After the prototype is introduced, it would be beneficial to unveil a pilot program on a small scale within the USGS to test how well the prototype works and to identify and rectify glitches.

The third and final phase in implementing an SDI will need to include a process for rolling out the SDI throughout the USGS and a process for fine-tuning the

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