Wisconsin Geospatial News

State-based I-Team Plans in Progress

At the recent annual conference of the National States Geographic Information Council in St. Louis, several sessions were centered around discussion of a relatively new federally sponsored initiative called I-Teams. There seemed to be quite a bit of interest in I-Team concept and a number of states have begun active participation in the I-Team process.

Office of Mgmt. and Budget sets the tone
The initial seeds for the concept of I-Teams began about two years ago at a meeting sponsored by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), traditionally an unlikely place for the nurturing of ideas related to geographic information. According to the OMB, it developed this initiative to examine how government can improve the quality of the information it collects while minimizing the collection burden, and maximizing the benefits of information technology. Spatial information is a key component of the initiative.

In developing the purpose for the I-Team initiative, the OMB analyzed the current condition of the nation’s spatial data infrastructure. In this analysis, it developed several interesting conclusions of which the following are highlights:

  • Historically, government has budgeted for spatial data and its support on a year-to-year basis and usually within a single department. However, as applications expand, they cut across organization lines, and exceed the capacities of single department missions and budgets.
  • Nationally, spatial information has become an essential part of the nation’s capital infrastructure. Despite this, no capital financing model for GIS has been developed. The spatial infrastructure continues to be funded by annual appropriations. The mismatch between the need for long-term capital financing and the current reliance on annual appropriations remains a chief obstacle to the creation of a a national spatial data system.
  • Given that spatial data is an important part of the nation’s infrastructure, it should be constructed, maintained, renewed and budgeted for over its long-term life cycle as is done with any other critical capital asset.

    In the past year, the center of activity for the I-Team initiative has shifted from the OMB to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) which is cooperating with a variety of partners.

    The major tenets of the I-Team initiative include creating public-private partnerships, developing direction from the bottom-up, aligning investments, sharing data, and capturing economies of scale.
    For the complete story, visit our online Summer 2001 Bulletin

    More information: FGDC Website

    FGDC Newsletters, Spring, Summer 2001; OMB