Geospatial Data Act: NSGIC's Position in a Nutshell

By Bert Granberg | August 30, 2017

Over the weekend, I fielded an inquiry from long time colleague in a related geospatial field: "What is NSGIC's current stand on the GDA legislation?"

My response encompassed three points, with which NSGIC has been consistent:

  1. NSGIC supports the Geospatial Data Act,
  2. NSGIC acknowledges the importance of further improvements that seek to build consensus support for the bill across the geospatial professional community prior to it being heard by Committee, and
  3. NSGIC is actively participating on a working group within the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO), with the hope of delivering recommended modifications to the bill prior to October 1.

More specifically, we feel that the focus should now be on finding agreement on how any reference to geospatial procurement and licensing can be balanced to best represent current practices. This is because on the whole, we don't feel there is too much that is in need of a fix in these areas in the real world.

In addition, we expect that all parties to the current discussions will engage in good faith, taking into consideration the prospects for a consensus bill passing once enhancements are incorporated. In striking common ground, hopefully we can soon move past this summer's storm clouds, and, with the now substantial engagement, a cooler and consensus mindset will help the GDA prevail.

Earlier this summer, NSGIC articulated why we believe the original language in the 2017 bill introduced in the Senate was acceptable. However, we're not above conceding that that language was confusing in places and left some room for reasonable people to disagree on what the impact would actually be in the narrow areas of contention. For all intents and purposes, that version of the bill, and the modified House version too, is not anticipated to move forward. Our collective energy should be focused on suggesting alternative wording that will garner consensus support. NSGIC feels strongly, just as we did for the non controversial 2015 version of the bill, that a GDA is extremely important to our respective fields and to the safety and prosperity of our nation.

If you're interested in more details on this topic, you'll find the following posts in NSGIC's GeoJava blog: