Duplicative Federal Computer-Mapping Programs

A Growing Problem Gao ID: RCED-83-19 November 22, 1982

Federal agencies have begun to use the computer to prepare maps but, because their techniques have not been adopted in a coordinated manner, duplication has developed and opportunities for savings have been lost. GAO reported on the need for action to prevent further duplicative computer-mapping activities.

Duplicative computer-mapping activities have developed because the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the principal civilian mapping agency, has not had enough funds to keep pace with other Federal agencies' demands for computerized versions of USGS products. Several agencies continue to use different formats, codes, and standards to obtain their mapping information; however, if this continues, USGS will have to reconstruct its work when it carries out plans to computerize these same maps. Program officials at several agencies claim that the lack of a central database is the principal reason they began their own computer-mapping programs. Concern over the duplication problem has led to a number of actions, including: (1) the formation of an interagency committee to improve coordination and establish uniform standards for Federal computer mapping; (2) proposed legislation which would establish a revolving fund to finance a national computer-mapping database; and (3) a proposed Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circular designed to encourage interagency coordination and administration of mapping activities.


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