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The federal government collects, maintains, and uses geospatial information — information linked to specific geographic locations — to support many functions, including national security and disaster response. In 2012, the Department of the Interior (Interior) estimated that the federal government invests billions of dollars on geospatial data annually, and that duplication is common.
The 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, the GAO focused on Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) coordination activities; efforts within the departments of Commerce, the Interior, and Transportation; and OMB oversight.
In this report, the GAO made recommendations aimed at improving coordination and reducing duplication, to include FGDC developing a national strategy for coordinating geospatial investments; federal agencies following federal guidance for managing geospatial investments; and OMB developing a mechanism to identify and report on geospatial investments.