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FCW : December 2012
TANK Trending 6 December 2012 FCW.COM pages of documents have been digitized since 2007 under NASA's Knowledge Repository project 19 million The three federal agencies in charge of governmentwide management of spe- ci c geospatial data are wasting mil- lions of dollars annually in duplicative efforts, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Of ce in November. GAO criticized the Interior, Com- merce and Transportation departments for not effectively implementing poli- cies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data because they had not made the effort a priority. But it should be a priority, said David Powner, director of IT management issues at GAO, and not only because the federal government invests billions in such data each year. "Geospatial data is tied to weather forecasting and prediction, national security informa- tion, protecting critical infrastructure --- this data is very important," he said. The report recommends that those three agencies work with the Of ce of Management and Budget and the Federal Geographic Data Commit- tee, which was established to pro- mote coordination of geospatial data nationwide, to improve coordination and accountability while reducing duplicative efforts among agencies acquiring geospatial data. Further- more, the agencies should set perfor- mance goals for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, a clearinghouse of geospatial data. Of cials from Interior and Com- merce agreed with the report s nd- ings and recommendations. Comments from DOT of cials were not included in the published report. "We plan to take steps to fully imple- ment all of the recommendations," said Rebecca Blank, acting secretary of Commerce, in a written response to the report. --- Frank Konkel GAO calls for better management of geospatial data The National Oceanic and Atmospher- ic Administration is enlisting feedback and ideas from the public for deal- ing with a potential gap in satellite coverage. In short, NOAA is seeking "com- ments, suggestions and innovative ideas from the public on how to pre- serve the quality and timeliness of NOAA s numerical weather forecasts" if aging weather satellites critical to long-term weather forecasting cease to function. "In addition, NOAA plans to reach out to experts worldwide," said NOAA spokesman John Leslie. NOAA meteorologists have been using data from polar-orbiting sat- ellites to make long-term weather forecasts for years, but those sat- ellites have aged and a program to replace them --- jointly managed by the Defense Department, NOAA and NASA --- was scrapped in 2010 after a series of delays and cost increases. NOAA was charged with replacing the satellites, but even with NASA s assistance, the $13 billion Joint Polar Satellite System is not expected to be operational until 2017. In the meantime, JPSS has made use of a converted demonstration sat- ellite that was originally part of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Pre- paratory Project. Launched in October 2011, the satellite has a life expectan- cy of three to ve years, said David Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Account- ability Of ce. "If [the current satellite] lasts a full ve years and we stay on track for a 2017 launch of the new satellite, we re looking at a 17-month gap," Powner told FCW. NOAA is accepting comments and ideas at OSD.NOAA.gov/JPSSgap until 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 19. --- Frank Konkel NOAA seeks public feedback on looming satellite issue
November 30, 2012