pressures on the federal budget. Finally, programs of spatial data creation have often been slow and inadequately funded for data maintenance. As a result, data are often so out of date that their value is seriously compromised. These problems are increasingly evident when the state data programs are viewed in the same context and as part of the NSDI.

The role of state and local governments within the overall context of the NSDI is changing. The federal coordination of surveying, mapping, and related spatial data activities are defined in OMB Circular A-16. The most recent version of Circular A-16 (October 1990) added a major objective of developing a national digital spatial information resource with the involvement of federal, state, and local governments and the private sector. The mechanism for the involvement of state and local governments and the private sector has yet to be established. This problem was specifically recognized in Executive Order 12906 (signed by President Clinton on April 11, 1994):

The Secretary [of the Department of the Interior], under the auspices of the FGDC, and within 9 months of the date of this order, shall develop, to the extent permitted by law, strategies for maximizing cooperative participatory efforts with State, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and other nonfederal organizations to share costs and improve efficiencies of acquiring geospatial data consistent with this order.


Organizations that build and maintain spatial data have a vested interest in the quality of their data when the success of critical missions depends on the accuracy and availability of the data. This suggests that data stewardship roles may be served best by organizations that collect data for the purpose of meeting specific operational missions. These spatial data stewards have commitments to their own organization as well as obligations to meet the needs of partners throughout all levels of government. The mission of spatial data stewards could be expanded to meet data needs of multiple organizations as well as their own business needs. Currently, a major mission of the USGS is one of data collection. The stewardship concept introduced here is different from the data steward role of the USGS in that business needs other than a data collection mission also drive

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