NGDA Baseline Standards Inventory

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The purpose of the NGDA Baseline Standards Inventory is to build a baseline inventory of data and metadata standards being applied to National Geospatial Data Assets (NGDA). This inventory will assist in meeting parts of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018[1], The Federal Data Strategy 2020 Action Plan[2] for Action 10, and Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018[3]. The baseline inventory furthers the Presidents Management Agenda[4]  goal of “data, accountability, and transparency to provide the tools to deliver visibly better results to the public and hold agencies accountable…”.

The NGDA Baseline Standards Inventory  will facilitate the assessment of existing standards, schema, and classifications necessary to meet the Geospatial Data Act (GDA) requirement to establish geospatial data standards for each NGDA data theme. Specifically, the inventory addresses responsibilities for Lead Covered Agencies Section 756(b)(3)(A)(i) – “assessing existing standards” and will be used as part of 756(b)(3)(A)(ii-iii) “identifying anticipated or needed data standards and developing a plan to originate and implement needed standards with relevant community and international practices.” It also addresses Covered Agencies Section 759(a)(6) – “use the geospatial data standards, including the standards for metadata for geospatial data, and other appropriate standards, including documenting geospatial data with the relevant metadata and making metadata available through the GeoPlatform.”

The Federal Data Strategy (FDS) 2020 Action Plan “identifies initial actions for agencies that are essential for establishing processes, building capacity, and aligning existing efforts to better leverage data as a strategic asset.” Further, these actions facilitate a common federal approach to managing compliance with multiple laws and requirements.

To meet the actions and milestones outlined in the plan, the Federal Geographic Data Committee National Geospatial Data Asset (FGDC NGDA) Portfolio Management Team, the Theme Community, and the responsible agencies are moving forward to compile information in support of the reporting requirements.

The NGDA Baseline Standards Inventory details a standardized approach for meeting one of the milestones related to the FDS Action 10: Integrate Geospatial Data Practices into the Federal Data Enterprise – Track NGDAs for implementation of standards. This milestone requires a baseline inventory of standards for all NGDA Datasets. Specifically, this baseline inventory establishes “percentages of NGDAs with: i) metadata standards, ii) established content standards, iii) standards in process, iv) data assets not requiring standards, and v) no established standards.”


The information gathered through a baseline inventory of data and metadata standards will have many uses. Utilizing standards provides a backbone to high quality data and metadata. Standards enhance the transparency and openness (as appropriate) of the data. Partners, stakeholders, and end-users have a clearer understanding of the data and the fitness for use. This understanding is part of a broad strategy outlined in the Presidents Management Agenda and as described in this introduction, meets the requirements of various federal laws.

Having a baseline inventory of standards will allow decision makers to determine which standards need recognition for widespread use across similar theme related data. Some standards may no longer be in use, some may be deemed important enough to be required, while others may have been superseded by newer standards. Understanding metadata standards can increase machine readability yielding wider dissemination and use of the data.

Analysis of the inventory will be by NGDA, NGDA Theme, agency (bureaus, offices, etc.), and department (lead and covered agency). The analysis will be summarized in a publicly available report.





Updated on August 5, 2022
National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) Portfolio Community

Community Type: Work Group

Sponsor: Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), Office of the Secretariat

Sponsor Email:

Theme Lead Agency: Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), Office of the Secretariat

Theme Lead: Lorna Schmid (FGDC OS)