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What problems have you had with legal protection of your own database activities and hat are some examples of harm to you or misuse of your data that you have experienced, if any?


How have these problems differed according to data product, medium, or form of delivery, and how have you addressed them (e.g., using management, technology, and contractual means)?


What specific legal or policy changes would you like to see implemented to help address the problems identified above?


Do you believe the main problems/barriers/issues you have described above are epresentative of other similar data activities in your discipline or sector? If so, which ones? If not, what other major issues can you identify that other organizations in your area of activity face?

The moderator of the first panel, which focuses on geographic data, is Harlan Onsrud, professor at the University of Maine.


MR. ONSRUD: My name is, again, Harlan Onsrud with the Department of Spatial Information, Science, and Engineering at the University of Maine, which is also affiliated with the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis.

We will have two speakers today, since James Brunt, from the Long-Term Ecological Research Network Office at the University of New Mexico, is unable to join us. Our first speaker is Barbara Ryan. She is associate director for operations for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Barbara is going to be highlighting her agency's experience in the creation, sharing, and handling of geographic data, as well as some of the other data that the agency certainly collects. USGS, of course, is very much both a creator of geographic data as well as a major user of geographic data. So, both of those perspectives are represented.

Government Data Activity

Barbara Ryan, U.S. Geological Survey

Response to Committee Questions

Provide a description of your organization and database-related operations. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its information assets provide a gateway to the Earth. Sound stewardship of the nation's land, natural, and biological resources requires up-to-date, and often up-to-the-minute, information on how these vital resources are being used, as well as an understanding of how possible changes in use might impact the national economy, the environment, and the quality of life for all Americans. A core responsibility of the federal government is to enhance and protect the quality of life for its citizens, and the USGS provides the scientific underpinning for sound stewardship decisions that have an impact in each community, but that also extend beyond state boundaries and benefit the nation as a whole. With scientific information from the USGS, policy makers can foresee possible impacts of their

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