Directions Magazine (DM): What's the history of the USGS, Tele Atlas
Kari Craun (KC): The USGS maintains a good working relationship
with many private sector companies and Tele Atlas is one of them. In
this case, we had a requirement for roads information to support a
product and they were able to fill that requirement.
DM: Was there a request for proposal (RFP)? A previous research
KC: We used standard federal procurement procedures to purchase one
of Tele Atlas' standard off-the-shelf datasets, with no customization
to the data. The license agreement was slightly customized to our
particular needs. We believe, but do not know for sure, that our
requirements to use the data in public-domain products may be why no
other companies were interested.
DM: Are there commitments for more such combined public/private
KC: Not at this time. The purchase of the Tele Atlas data is a
test case to see if commercial data can fill a specific niche in the
USGS public-domain business model. The niche in this case is using the
licensed data on static, symbolized, 1:24,000-scale quadrangle maps,
both hard- and soft-copy. The agreement is that within these relatively
narrow boundaries, the licensed data can be used to create a
public-domain product. The USGS purchased a standard one-year license,
and will evaluate results at the end of the year. The USGS is also
working with the U.S. Census Bureau to create a national database of
roads improved through the MAF/TIGER Accuracy Improvement Project
(MTAIP). This information is in the public domain and can potentially
be maintained through partnerships with state and local governments.
Costs and benefits of both approaches will need to be evaluated to
determine the long-term approach for acquiring and maintaining roads
data to support The National Map products.