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U.S. Geological Survey - The National Map User Engagement

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Chief; NGP User Engagement
David Saghy David Saghy; Chief
Reston, VA

About User Engagement
The National Map partnership network cultivates and maintains long-term relationships with partners and develops agreements for The National Map and other initiatives that support USGS science. Partnerships are the foundation of The National Map because they leverage funding across organizations as a way to provide significant cost savings, reduce redundancy in geospatial data acquisition and stewardship, and ensure the availability of common base data to a broad range of users and applications.

An addition to the longstanding partnership functions of The National Map is an emerging initiative to systematically reach out to priority user communities. The goal of user engagement is to gather feedback on the products and services of The National Map so that future development will best meet USGS and Department of the Interior science objectives and provide the greatest value and impact for the Nation. Priority user communities include Geologic Mapping, Geologic Hazards, Natural Resources Conservation, and Water Resources.

The National Map partner and user engagement activities are conducted by a network of liaisons and coordinators:

  • User Engagement leadership in the National Geospatial Program provides strategic direction and oversight to the range of The National Map partnership and user activities.

  • Federal Geospatial Liaisons work with the Federal Geographic Data Committee and other Federal agencies to develop and manage partnerships at the national and programmatic level to support development and use of The National Map.

  • Community of Use Coordinators lead and manage outreach to the priority user communities of The National Map; they also provide direction and guidance to USGS National Map Liaisons for expanding user outreach.

  • Alaska Mapping Project Manager coordinates National Geospatial Program efforts to modernize mapping for the State of Alaska.

  • The National Map Liaisons facilitate partnerships and agreements that improve the data holdings and the products and services of The National Map. Many liaisons also provide outreach and support to the priority user communities in the areas of Water Resources, Natural Resources Conservation and Geologic Mapping and Hazards.

  • Associates are part-time liaisons who support both partnerships and user engagement and provide linkages to USGS science centers.

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User Engagement

Communities of Use

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian topographic mapping agency. Topographic mapping was undertaken at the USGS more than 125 years ago for the purpose of providing a base for scientists to map the Nation's geology. Over the decades the topographic products and services offered, and the means by which they were developed, have changed many times based on changing expectations by users, societal and mission needs, new technologies, and other factors.

An ongoing challenge is to prioritize the myriad user needs in order to develop products and services that best meet USGS and Department of the Interior science objectives and that create the greatest value and impact for the Nation. To address this challenge, the National Geospatial Program strategic plan calls for an increased focus on identifying and meeting user needs and for anticipating new needs, with special attention on the priority "communities of use" for The National Map:

  COU image
Water Resources
  COU image
Geologic Hazards
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Natural Resources Conservation

Throughout the past and yet today, USGS topographic maps and data are designed for scientists and other governmental users, but they have value for a broad spectrum of users, including professionals such as resources managers and planners, and private citizens such as recreationists and students from elementary through graduate school completing school projects.

Technical Committees for each Community of Use (COU) assist the COU coordinators in understanding and prioritizing enhancement requests submitted by users. Initially USGS mission areas are heavily represented within the COU technical committee, however as the process matures more external users will be included representing other Federal agencies, state and local users, academia, and private sector users as appropriate.

Discussions with users in each COU have highlighted 1) the variety of applications supported by NGP products and services (or similar services from other sources) and 2) three broadly similar classes of use that cross the COUs - cartographic context, large-scale data interpretation, and modeling.

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 01-Sep-2016 12:10:55 EDT