users with shared natural resource interests outside the federal establishment, and finally to the unconsulted “goodies over the fence” users, including recreational users not served by the commercial road map publishers. Prior to the introduction of digital techniques in the cartographic process, there was no effective way to send geographic information created by nonfederal or federal participants in the cartographic enterprise back into NMD’s programs. But with the capabilities of computers and telecommunications, this can change. It is probable that future processes could be established by the USGS whereby some of their major users could act as “data donors” in providing significant data back to NMD.
While the need for urban level map products is well established and the concept of a donor program an excellent one, there are emerging requirements driven largely by science, policy, and resource management needs for map products at scales from local to global. These needs are also being driven by the increasing global concern for the status of our natural environment. This concern is being manifested by such emerging programs as the Global Change Initiative and the Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction currently under intense discussion by the Committee on Earth Sciences (of the Federal Coordinating Committee on Science, Engineering, and Technology) and the international community.
Should the concept embedded in the global change initiative be implemented, federal agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the USGS will have both operational and research requirements for maps of land surface features particularly at regional, continental, and global scales. Such maps could support the efforts of international agencies such as the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Disaster Relief Fund, and the World Bank. These organizations will be interested in not only these maps but also maps at other scales if the Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction Program is implemented. Implementation of this program would again serve to create a mandate for new types of map requirements not only from a number of the federal agencies listed above, but also from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). It is clear to the committee that should these initiatives be implemented, requirements for new classes of map products will be generated by a variety of federal agencies. It would be inefficient, redundant, and ineffective for each of these agencies to provide its own map products of appropriate land use/land cover themes. NMD has the expertise and the track record to respond to such requirements.