GAO: Agencies not implementing OMB geospatial procedures

Federal departments and agencies have not effectively implemented the policies and procedures established by the president and the Office of Management and Budget for coordinating investments in geospatial data, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.

The federal government collects, maintains and uses geospatial information linked to specific geographic locations to support many functions, including national security and disaster response. In 2012, the Department of the Interior estimated that the federal government invests billions of dollars on geospatial data annually, and that duplication is common.

GAO was asked to determine the extent to which the federal government has established and effectively implemented policies and procedures for coordinating its geospatial investments and avoiding duplication.

To do so, GAO focused on Federal Geographic Data Committee coordination activities, efforts within the departments of Commerce, the Interior and Transportation and OMB oversight. GAO reviewed FGDC and department documentation, such as policies, procedures and strategic plans; OMB guidance and an executive order; and reports concerning duplicative investments.


GAO recommended that FGDC develop a national strategy for coordinating geospatial investments and that federal agencies follow federal guidance for managing geospatial investments and OMB develop a mechanism to identify and report on geospatial investments.

Two agencies and OMB generally agreed with GAO’s recommendations and one agency neither agreed nor disagreed.

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