Follow up: Details on the USGS Use of Tele Atlas Data in USGS Product

By Directions Staff

At the ESRI Federal User Meeting (Feb. 20-22), Tele Atlas announced that some of its data would be used in USGS map products. Directions Magazine followed up with Tele Atlas, which put us in touch with USGS to provide some background. Kari Craun, director of the USGS National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, answered our questions on the agreement and use of the data.

Directions Magazine (DM): What's the history of the USGS, Tele Atlas relationship?

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 agreement?

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 products?

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.

Published Friday, March 7th, 2008

Written by Directions Staff

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