associated with the utilization of this spatial data. It should, on the contrary, result in a rich environment for developing new business opportunities and enhancing economic growth.

Examples of Data Sharing Programs

The concept of sharing spatial data is not new. Examples can be found at federal, state, and local levels. The following two examples illustrate the types of efforts and benefits that can be derived from spatial data sharing. These examples cover two important types of baseline spatial data: geodetic detail and land parcel definition. There are many other kinds of spatial data as described elsewhere in this report, and there are enormous opportunities to reduce costs and increase user benefits through joint collection and sharing of spatial data. Data describing the location of a wide variety of phenomena can be shared: soil characteristics, wetlands, wildlife, hydrology, transportation systems, land use, and demographics, to name a few. All can be improved by organized joint efforts for their collection and distribution.

National Geodetic Reference System1

A number of incentives for data sharing and other forms of cooperation appear to have worked, and in some cases, very well. In 1980, for example, the NGS published standards for the submission of geodetic information to NGS. These volumes, known as the ''Blue Book" (Federal Geodetic Coordinating Committee—FGCC, 1980, 1989), provided the specific descriptive information and formats for the mandatory and optional data elements for vertical (bench marks) and horizontal control data for inclusion in the National Geodetic Reference System (NGRS). The third volume of the trilogy, covering gravity control data, was published in 1983 (FGCC, 1983).

The Blue Book has evolved over the years in response to changes in surveying technology. For example Volume 1, Horizontal Control Data , was revised in January 1989 to include Global Positioning System (GPS) data submission and new formats for an improved, unified publication


Information was supplied by Gary M. Young and Richard A. Yorczyk of the National Geodetic Survey in March 1992.

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