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Promoting the National Spatial Data Infrastructure Through Partnerships
Census data become more valuable. For instance, Kansas recently underwent a reapportionment based on digital census data. Legislators were able to try their own ideas for district size and configuration on the computer. In consequence, the reapportionment was not challenged in court by a disaffected political party. Additional affiliates of the Bureau of the Census are private concerns, many of whom market value-added products largely based on the original census products.
Businesses constantly use census data for marketing, sales targeting, and demographics. Commercial directories build their businesses on the value adding they do with census data. Costs for the services of this data transfer program are about $800,000 per year, mostly for the 12 full-time staff who distribute the products. All other costs are reimbursed through digital line charges and connect costs. The primary value of this partnership to the Bureau of the Census is in the visibility of census products. In this way, the bureau is perceived favorably by the public as providing a quality service .
NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY
Geographic information is of little value unless it is tied to the Earth. In the past, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey maintained leveling lines and benchmarks that have been the basis of all land surveying. Public land surveys are also tied to these benchmarks. Now the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains the National Geodetic Reference System and a national geodetic control network. Use of orthophotos and the Global Positioning System (GPS) permits the accurate positioning of all objects on the Earth, but the development of those systems is expensive. The NGS has formed partnerships with transportation, natural resources, and other agencies within the states to provide exchange of survey data and to provide for permanent recording of new survey data. This NGS partnership involves cost sharing. As presented to the MSC, there are several triggers to the development of new surveys, including new highway funding, where federal dollars require the NGS to participate, new technology (GPS), new administrative procedures such as OMB circulars, and various other agency and state needs for survey data to locate objects or sites.
There is a long-standing pride in the NGS deriving from its historical role in the United States and its dedicated clientele and staff. While this program is not as visible as the census program (it does not deal directly