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NASA to Establish Geospatial Advisory Committee

Thursday, November 29th 2012
By Joe Francica

SpaceRef reports that NASA is establishing a federal advisory committee for applied sciences that includes geospatial informations. 

Section 313 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 directs that NASA establish a program of grants for competitively- awarded pilot projects to explore the integrated use of sources of remote sensing and other geospatial information to address State, local, regional and tribal agency needs. Section 314(a) of this Act requires that NASA establish an advisory committee to monitor the program established under Section 313.

 In 2008, NASA established the Applied Sciences Analysis Group (ASAG) as a task group under the Earth Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council. The objective of this group was to advise and prioritize the work of NASA's Earth Sciences Division Applied Sciences Program. However, this year, NASA is rethinking how this committee functions. Again, according to SpaceRef:

During 2012, NASA has determined that the establishment of a separate independent Federal advisory committee known as the Applied Sciences Advisory Committee (ASAC) is more in line with the letter and spirit of the statutory requirement ... The ASAC's recommendations and analysis can be used to inform decisions on the programmatic scope and priorities, as well as the implementation of Applied Sciences programs. In addition, the ASAC will provide a regular forum for broad discussion of Earth science applications and the role of Applied Sciences within and outside of NASA. The ASAC will function solely as an advisory body and comply fully with the provisions of FACA.

NASA currently participates in the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and that body is "advised" by the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC). The FDGC is a federal governing body and looks to be similar ins scope to the aforementioned ASAC. While the ASAC is specific to advising NASA, is it necessary to have yet another geospatial advisory board and would it not make some sense to have the FDGC involved? Perhaps it will be but given the recent GAO report on Federal Geospatial Data Coordination doesn't this just sound like another federal committee that will do it's own thing? Maybe someone can enlighten us about why this couldn't be coordinated under one federal geospatial advisory group.

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