NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
Support for this project and the Mapping Science Committee was provided by the Defense Mapping Agency, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS Agreement No. 14-08-0001), Federal Geographic Data Committee, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of the Census. Partial support for workshop logistics was provided by the News Corporation/ETAK, Inc., Intergraph Corp., and Rand-McNally and Company. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.
Copies of this report are available from
Mapping Science Committee
Board on Earth Sciences and Resources
National Research Council
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20418
Cover: Sunrise over the future’s horizon. (Design by Denise Smith, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Public Affairs.)
Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
MAPPING SCIENCE COMMITTEE
LARRY J. SUGARBAKER,* Chair,
Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Olympia
LAWRENCE F. AYERS,* Vice-Chair,
Intergraph Corporation, Reston, Virginia
HUGH N. ARCHER,
Kentucky River Authority, Frankfort
WILLIAM M. BROWN,*
Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
BARBARA P. BUTTENFIELD,
University of Colorado, Boulder
MICHAEL W. DOBSON,
Rand McNally and Company, Skokie, Illinois
FREDERICK J. DOYLE,
McLean, Virginia (retired, U.S. Geological Survey)
MICHAEL J. FOLK,
University of Illinois, Urbana
MICHAEL F. GOODCHILD,
University of California, Santa Barbara
STANLEY K. HONEY,
The News Corporation, Ltd., Los Angeles, California
TERRENCE J. KEATING,
Lucerne International, Orono, Maine
MICHAEL D. MARVIN,
MapInfo Corporation, Troy, New York
SARA L. MCLAFFERTY,
Hunter College, New York, New York
KAREN C. SIDERELIS,
North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Raleigh
NANCY VON MEYER,
Fairview Industries, Blue Mounds, Wisconsin
THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Senior Staff Officer
JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Assistant
BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES
J. FREEMAN GILBERT, Chair,
University of California, San Diego
MARK P. CLOOS,
University of Texas at Austin
Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C.
KENNETH I. DAUGHERTY,
E-Systems, Fairfax, Virginia
NORMAN H. FOSTER,
Independent Petroleum Geologist, Denver, Colorado
CHARLES G. GROAT,
University of Texas, El Paso
DONALD C. HANEY,
Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington
University of California, Berkeley
SUSAN M. KIDWELL,
University of Chicago, Illinois
Kieffer & Woo, Inc., Palgrave, Ontario
PHILIP E. LAMOREAUX,
P. E. LaMoreaux and Associates, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
SUSAN M. LANDON,
Thomasson Partner Associates, Denver, Colorado
J. BERNARD MINSTER,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
Princeton University, New Jersey
JILL D. PASTERIS,
Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
EDWARD C. ROY, JR.,
Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas
EDWARD M. STOLPER,
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
MILTON H. WARD,
Cyprus-Amax Minerals Company, Engelwood, Colorado
CRAIG M. SCHIFFRIES, Director
THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Associate Director
WILLIAM E. BENSON, Senior Program Officer
ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer
CHARLES MEADE, Senior Program Officer
LALLY ANNE ANDERSON, Staff Associate
VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant
JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Assistant
JUDITH L. ESTEP, Administrative Assistant
COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES
GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair,
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
PATRICK R. ATKINS,
Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMES P. BRUCE,
Canadian Climate Program Board, Ottawa, Ontario
WILLIAM L. FISHER,
University of Texas, Austin
JERRY F. FRANKLIN,
University of Washington, Seattle
THOMAS E. GRAEDEL,
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Progressive Foundation, Washington, D.C.
KAI N. LEE,
Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts
PERRY L. McCARTY,
Stanford University, California
JUDITH E. McDOWELL,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts
RICHARD A. MESERVE,
Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C.
S. GEORGE PHILANDER,
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
RAYMOND A. PRICE,
Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario
THOMAS C. SCHELLING,
University of Maryland, College Park
University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore
VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL,
Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida
University of Maryland, College Park
STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director
STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director
MORGAN GOPNIK, Assistant Executive Director
GREGORY SYMMES, Reports Officer
JAMES MALLORY, Administrative Officer
SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate
MARQUITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
The Mapping Science Committee serves as a focus for external advice to the federal agencies on scientific and technical matters related to spatial data handling and analysis. The purpose of the committee is to provide advice on the development of a robust national spatial data infrastructure for making informed decisions at all levels of government and throughout society in general.
In the context of the above mission statement, the Mapping Science Committee (MSC) prepared a report in 1993, Toward a Coordinated Spatial Data Infrastructure for the Nation, that articulated its vision on how spatial information handling might best be approached from an organizational perspective. Of course, many specific issues are raised when examining what a national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) encompasses. The committee followed its 1993 report with two other studies, each addressing individual components of the NSDI: (1) Promoting the National Spatial Data Infrastructure Through Partnerships (1994) and (2) A Data Foundation for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (1995). In response to those reports and Executive Order No. 12906 (April 1994), the federal government, through the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC; operating under the aegis of the Office of Management and Budget), has focused on improving many of the components of the NSDI.
Over the past few years, the MSC has identified and proposed many different ways of enhancing and strengthening the NSDI. While many of them have in nature been short term, others have addressed national needs over the next decade and beyond, as well as the long-term vision for the NSDI. In 1995, the committee proposed a workshop, in cooperation with the FGDC, as a way to develop a series of alternative long-term visions and identified many of the societal forces and changes that would make them more or less likely. If successful, the workshop would thus provide a framework for thinking about the future of the NSDI. To help workshop
participants think beyond the constraints and noise of current programs and details, the committee selected a target year of 2010.
The specific purposes of the workshop were to:
identify forces affecting the future of spatial data;
discuss and anticipate possible future scenarios for the collection, dissemination, and use of spatial data;
identify implications of the anticipated futures from local, regional, national, and other stakeholder perspectives; and
identify cautions, suggestions, and directions to the spatial data community based on the identified futures.
Workshop participants were selected in such a way that all major sectors of spatial data activity were represented by their respective stakeholders, with an appropriate balance among them. Of the participants, 25 percent were from the federal government, 20 percent from academia, 17 percent from state and local governments, 32 percent from the private sector (split about equally between data system providers, data providers, and consultants), and 6 percent from other sectors (e.g., scientific societies, associations, retired). See Appendix A for a list of participants.
The committee coordinated the preparation of a series of white papers in advance of the workshop, which was held in April 1996, to stimulate discussion on certain key issues. These, along with copies of several published articles, were distributed to the participants several weeks prior to the workshop. The white papers produced specifically for the workshop are listed in Appendix B, together with references to background documents.
The workshop was professionally facilitated, which encouraged participation by all attendees and discussion of key issues. The agenda is given in Appendix C. Most of the activities were held in five breakout sessions (each with a facilitator) for which participants were assigned to specific groups (about 15 participants in each breakout group). Care was taken to ensure that all the sectors of the spatial data community (local, state, federal
government; academia; and private sector) were represented in each group. Each small-group session was followed by a plenary session to examine the results.
During the workshop, participation was encouraged in an informal documenting of past events and forces that have affected spatial data activities. The information was collected on a large chronological chart. A discussion of some of the past forces is given in Chapter 2, and an unedited transcription of the chart appears in Appendix D.
John B. Evans (President, R.E.M. Productions, Inc.) led the first plenary session of the workshop with a personal view of the future, of how current societal pressures and issues might change, and of how the telecommunications and entertainment industries might be affected. This was followed by a presentation by Michael R. Curry (Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles) on the role of spatial data in society and of how current and future trends may force us to rethink concepts of space and place and the role of the individual with respect to such issues as privacy. A panel discussion covered aspects of data partnerships, sharing, and stewardship and summarized issues covered in several of the white papers prepared for the workshop.
Following these provocative presentations, workshop participants divided into five small working groups to consider what broad future forces in society might affect present spatial data activities. Discussions from these groups were then presented in a plenary session. The results are incorporated in Chapter 2 along with results of the post workshop categorization by the committee.
The participants again divided into five working groups to consider what changes these external forces might be expected to cause in the spatial data community in the next 15 years. These were presented and discussed in a plenary session. Compilation of these possible changes along with some post workshop categorization by the committee are contained in Chapter 3.
On the second day of the workshop, participants met to develop alternative future scenarios from the previous day's efforts. After several attempts to construct scenarios as a group, the
participants again divided into five working groups. One group attempted to take the forces and possible changes developed by the workshop to develop a ''forecast'' for the future (see Chapter 4). Each of the other four working groups adopted one of the scenarios for future spatial data activities outlined by Wegener and Masser.* Each working group amplified or modified a specific scenario based on the forces and changes identified in the previous day's sessions (see Chapter 5).
Workshop participants discussed some of the actions they thought are needed for evolution of spatial data activities in a closing plenary session. Chapter 6 presents the results of that discussion. The report ends with a series of questions the committee suggests should be addressed when making decisions in the context of the NSDI that are likely to have long-term impact. Although it would be foolish to try to forecast or anticipate the future in a field that is likely to be driven by so many external forces outside its control, and to see so many changes, both trivial and profound, between now and 2010, the committee believes that by asking the right questions we can at least frame the discussion of decisions that have long-term impact in a useful and informative way.