The WLIA has taken the position of supporting the Federal Geospatial Data Act of 2015 (S. 740). Letters of support were recently sent to Sen. Johnson and Sen. Baldwin. S. 740 was introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch and is currently in the Senate – Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, a committee on which Sen Johnson serves.
The Geospatial Data Act of 2015 (S. 740) will help to resolve these issues through the various provisions of the bill, and Congressional oversight of Federal activities is a critical component. It will also increase the voice of the stakeholder community through the language related to the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) which is comprised of the various sectors of the stakeholder community. The DATA Act was passed last year to deal with accountability and transparency issues related to Federal data and information. However, geospatial data was not addressed by the DATA Act. These types of data (e.g. aerial imagery, road centerlines, parcels, elevation, streams and water bodies, government boundaries, and geodetic control) are critical to maintain our federal infrastructure and our national economy. Multiple versions of these data are routinely duplicated, at great cost, and used throughout all levels of government to meet agency missions and provide services to our citizens. It is very feasible to build multi-purpose national data layers that meet the requirements of all stakeholders, but more authorities and responsibilities will need to be given to Federal agencies to make this happen. For additional information see the NSGIC White Paper (http://www.nsgic.org/public_resources/Geospatial_Data_Act_Flyer_032815.pdf) and the full text (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/740/text).