Federal Geospatial Act Expected to Stop Duplicative Spending, Streamline Agency Data Use

As written, the legislation would prevent agencies from making duplicative purchases and would modernize data collection and sharing.

by Times Record / October 2, 2018
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(TNS) — A resolution recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to streamline federal government data purchases.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, passed by House on Sept. 26, last as H.R. 302, includes the Geospatial Data Act, which 4th District U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, introduced with U.S. Rep Seth Moulton of Massachusetts in November.

The Geospatial Data Act is written to "prevent duplicative data purchases by federal agencies and modernize the collection of said data, which would save an untold amount of the American taxpayers' money," a news release from Westerman's office states.

Examples of geospatial data include information used to plot a path for a new interstate to information that coordinates disaster recovery efforts after a major storm.

"The benefits of geospatial technology are truly untold. However, when our federal agencies use geospatial data, different agencies can acquire duplicative information and waste precious taxpayer resources in the process," Westerman stated. "I am glad House leadership listened to industry stakeholders and included the Geospatial Data Act in the FAA Reauthorization Bill of 2018. This will streamline the collection of this data across the federal government while saving money, improving information accuracy, and providing a more modern system for collecting and sharing geospatial data."

Advances in geospatial technology have revolutionized how data is accessed, used and distributed, Westerman added. He expects this legislation to update how the government manages and maintains that data.

According to Westerman's office, the Geospatial Data Act is supported by several national associations like the American Association of Geographers, Cartography and Geographic Information Society and the GIS Certification Institute.

©2018 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.