Senate Passes GIS Day Resolution Following Successful Passage of Geospatial Data Act

By Molly Schar | November 15, 2018

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) led a Senate resolution to designate November 15, 2018 as “National GIS Day.” Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Blumenthal (D-CT), Capito (R-WV), Hassan (D-NH), Inhofe (R-OK), and Wyden (D-OR) joined Hatch and Warner in submitting the resolution.  

“The Senate designates November 15, 2018, as ‘National GIS Day’; encourages users of Geographic Information System technology … [including] educators, students, and innovators to continue to employ GIS to learn and explore, to analyze and address societal challenges; and to drive economic growth for the betterment of the people of the United States and individuals around the world.” the three-page resolution concludes.

This recognition by the Senate punctuates the passage of the Geospatial Data Act, included as a component in H.R. 302, the FAA Reauthorization Act signed into law last month.

Coordinating acquisition and access of geographic data across governments is now a legal mandate. A truly national and shared spatial data infrastructure must be built and maintained by multiple levels of government, academia, nonprofits, and the private sector. No single entity has authority over all of those participants. The Geospatial Data Act authorizes the collaborative governance structure to provide all these partners to make decisions and develop direction together that everyone will agree to follow.

NSGIC state representatives and sponsors went to bat for the Geospatial Data Act, working with others in their states to build Congressional support at the national level. The legislation had long been an advocacy priority for NSGIC, with members of NSGIC’s leadership team working with Members of Congress and other geospatial organizations to congeal effective policy language.

The Geospatial Data Act will be implemented by agencies and partners of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), chaired by the Secretary of the Interior. NSGIC is designated as an FGDC Collaborating Partner, with two NSGIC state representatives currently serving on its National Geospatial Advisory Committee.

Since 1999, GIS Day has been celebrated around the world as part of the Geography Awareness Week established by the National Geographic Society.