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GIS is Now Widely Discussed as a Tool for Economic Stimulus

This month has seen a flurry of activity around several proposals to use the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) to guide and organize the national stimulus plan. The NSGIC Board is tracking the issue closely (through the impressive and diligent efforts of NSGIC President Learon Dalby and Washington Liaison Bill Burgess) and has authorized letters of support for
several proposals.

The issue is starting to generate a broader discussion, with commenters from all sides considering the value of the NSDI and efforts over the years to achieve it as a vision of an interconnected series of data sets used by all levels of government, and others, to serve their clients and constituents.

Adena Schutzberg has been
tracking the various proposals, and some reaction to them at All Points Blog. She has also posted the full text of the recent letter to Congress from COGO on the subject.

Sean Gorman, of the Off the Map blog, has
started a discussion of the NSDI proposals and asked for thoughts that might counter what he describes as hie own "cynical" reaction:
I’m as bullish on the potential of the Geoweb as anyone, but I think we have to ask some hard questions. What is the customer really demanding? Further, what is the cheapest way we can deliver the most value to the customer? How can fulfilling those demands best grow the economy?
Later in the week, Mr. Gorman returned to the discussion with a more hopeful post about the inherent good in the NSDI proposals: an emphasis on making government data public.

David Smith,
on his Surveying, Mapping and GIS blog, approached the issue with a brief history of the idea of the NSDI, an overview of the present proposals, and a call for continued discussion:
The hope is that the community can have an open, informed discussion of these elements and proposals, along with all of the key context, history and background. And hopefully adequate open forums will become available for doing so.
Finally (not really, but for now), NSGIC veteran Ted Koch, of Wisconsin, has posted a thoughtful review of the situation on the Wisconsin Mapping Bulletin:
While it’s unlikely that GIS, per se, will be included in any economic stimulus bill, a small contingent of folks in Washington continue to advocate for some inclusion of expanding the collection of spatial information. The House of Representatives may be voting on the Bill this week, followed by the Senate. Following votes by both Congressional chambers, differences will have to be reconciled. Possibly within that upcoming timeframe, GIS will get its due recognition.
This is by no means at that has been said, or will be said, about this issue. But it is what I've been reading this week. I'm sure there will be more. I plan to keep a list of links to other such discussions as we go along, using the delicious.com tag "nsdi-stimulus."



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