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Geographic information systems : challenges to effective data sharing : statement of Linda D. Koontz, Director, Information management issues
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    Geographic information systems (GIS) manipulate, analyze, and graphically present an array of information associated with geographic locations, have been invaluable to all levels of government. The federal government has long been attempting to develop an integrated nationwide GIS network. The information available through such a network could significantly enhance decision-making in myriad public-service areas, including emergency response, national security, law enforcement, health care, and the environment. In 1994, the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) program was established by executive order to address the problem of the redundancy and incompatibility of geospatial information on a national basis. More recently, Geospatial One-Stop, a component of NSDI, was initiated. Geospatial One-Stop is aimed at promoting coordinated geospatial data collection and maintenance across all levels of government. Among its objectives are (1) deploying an Internet portal for one-stop access to geospatial data; (2) developing data standards; and (3) encouraging greater coordination among federal, state, and local agencies. While these objectives are important, Geospatial One-Stop has focused on limited, near-term tasks and was not intended to fully address the longer-term challenges of implementing the NSDI. This testimony discusses the many GIS activities under way throughout the federal government, the federal government's efforts to coordinate these activities, and the long-standing challenges of adopting and implementing federal GIS standards with special focus on the role of Geospatial One-Stop. Attached is a appendix of examples of the GIS activities led by various federal agencies.

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