U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John Warner (D-VA) have introduced a bipartisan bill — Senate Bill 740 (S740) — to improve coordination, reduce duplication, and promote data transparency in the management and coordination of federal investments in geospatial data.
In a joint news release, Sen. Warner stated, “Geospatial data has endless possibilities for transforming both the private and public sectors….The federal government is the largest purchaser of geospatial data but some very basic questions about how and where agencies are already investing in this data can’t be answered. Our bill would bring transparency and accountability to the collection of this data and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not being wasted on duplicative efforts.”
The Geospatial Data Act will codify and strengthen the coordinated use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial nationwide. According to the press release, it will also
“…require federal agencies to implement international consensus standards, assist in eliminating duplication, avoid redundant expenditures, accelerate the development of electronic government to meet the needs and expectations of citizens and agency programmatic mandates, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public management. Additionally, the bill will provide a clear definition for geospatial data and metadata, will require an accounting of the costs associated with the acquisition or creation of geospatial data, and will improve government transparency and availability to public information.”
The bill reflects the idea that progress in geospatial data management made over the last two decades has been inadequate, a viewpoint echoed in the recent COGO “Report Card” highlighted in an earlier Bulletin article. The bill is supported by NSGIC, the National States Geographic Information Council, among other organizations.