US: URISA has published the first in what is intended to be a series of occasional GIS Management Institute discussion papers. These papers are intended to stimulate thought and open discussion about issues related to GIS management that are important to the GIS community. The paper: A Distributed Model for Effective National Geospatial Data Management: Building a National Data Sharing Infrastructure, is available online. Jim Sparks (State of Indiana GIO), Philip Worrall (Indiana Geographic Information Council Executive Director), and Kevin Mickey (Indiana University Polis Center Geospatial Education Director) are authors of the paper.
Upon the discussion paper’s publication, Greg Babinski, GISP, Past President of URISA, noted, “Recent studies have demonstrated the tremendous return on investment (ROI) from deploying geospatial technology. Of course geospatial technology relies on the availability of high quality, current spatial data to deliver these benefits. But within the United States, we have been behind many other countries in completing development of a single authoritative spatial database.
Many other countries that I have visited, including the UK, UAE, China, Taiwan, and the EU countries, all have a top-down central government funded approach to developing GIS data for use at the national, regional, and local levels. In the US, we have not taken this approach. We have a fractured infrastructure, with local government agencies generally (but not universally) having good data, but little motivation to comply with standards or policies that would facilitate compilation into a comprehensive national database. Local government agencies and many states lack funding to support a comprehensive approach to building a national data sharing infrastructure.”
In the discussion paper, Jim Sparks, Philip Worrall, and Kevin Mickey have laid out these issues and make a variety of proposals based on best practices that have worked on smaller scales, rational national coordination, and a proposal for effective funding.