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Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Global Change Master Directory of data sets

There are some amazing data sets at this web site. These could be useful for patrons seeking data or faculty looking for free data sets for students to use on class projects.

NASA Global Change Master Directory, Discover Earth Science data and services

The mission of the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) is to enable the scientific community to discover and access Earth science data and services through distributed, integrated information technology systems. The GCMD offers authoring tools to achieve this mission, which conform to international standards. Tools are available to write, directly submit, and directly update metadata records.

Federal Geographic Data Committee

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is an interagency committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. This nationwide data publishing effort is known as the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The NSDI is a physical, organizational, and virtual network designed to enable the development and sharing of this nation’s digital geographic information resources. FGDC activities are administered through the FGDC Secretariat, hosted by the National Geospatial Programs Office (NGPO) of the U.S. Geological Survey. The NGPO oversees other geospatial programs of national importance including The National Map and the Geospatial One-Stop activity.

The FGDC hosts a FGDC Clearinghouse Registry. This registry is a database of all clearinghouse nodes participating in the clearinghouse activity. This site provides access to registry functions including: adding a new node to the clearinghouse, browsing through the existing node information, modifying of existing information in the database (password required by node administrator), and some administration functions (clearinghouse administrator only). You may search the database and see what agency is your local clearinghouse.

Map Scanning Registry and online map collections

Scanning Registries

Map libraries across the country have been scanning maps for many years. Scanned maps are distributed to patrons, printed out for patrons and in recent years, are being posted online as digital collections (all depending on copyright restrictions). Many libraries are working with state agencies to scan large topographic map collections while other libraries scan their rare and unique maps as a measure for preservation as well as access. Map librarians struggle to keep track of who’s scanning what and so two professional organizations have created map scanning registries to track major scanning efforts.

ALA Map and Geography Round Table (MAGERT) Map Scanning Registry goals are to:

  • Find out what scanning is being planned, in process, or complete for a particular geographic area
  • Head off any duplication of effort
  • Provide a resource to use for finding a particular digital image
  • Provide a resource for reviewing the various technical parameters used in different projects

The Western Association of Map Libraries has established the WAML Scanning Projects Clearinghouse This Clearinghouse is an effort to create a union list of digitization projects. Its goal is to increase knowledge of and accessibility to scanned items and avoid duplication of efforts.

Online Map Collections

Many libraries are creating beautiful digital map collections. These collections often provide full metadata and zoomable/panable images. Collections are often announced at the Map Librarian discussion list Maps-L.

Here are a few examples of some digital map collections online:

Geodesy for the layman (or woman) from NGA

NGA’s document “Geodesy for the layman”

What is geodesy? Who needs it and why?

These are some of the questions asked by many people. Actually, geodesy is nothing new having been around for centuries. Webster defines geodesy as “that branch of applied mathematics which determines by observation and measurement the exact positions of points and the figures and areas of large portions of the earth’s surface, the shape and size of the earth, and the variations of terrestrial gravity.” It is a specialized application of several familiar facets of basic mathematical and physical concepts. In practice, geodesy uses the principles of mathematics, astronomy and physics, and applies them within the capabilities of modern engineering and technology. A thorough study of the science of geodesy is not a simple undertaking. However, it is possible to gain an understanding of the historical development, a general knowledge of the methods and techniques of the science, and the way geodesy is being used to solve some Department of Defense (DoD) problems.

Visit here for the full NGA document “Geodesy for the layman”

Baghdad Reference Map from National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Perhaps old news – but a reminder never hurts. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has a current, detailed map of Baghdad available for download or to view online. The map is a special reference map of Baghdad, Iraq, produced as a tool to help NGA public affairs office and other government public affairs offices in their efforts to discuss issues with the media and public that might be related to the area depicted. The map is unclassified and also referred to as a reference graphic. It is suitable for reference use only and should not be used for any other purpose (not for navigation, etc.). Electronic versions of the Baghdad map are available in .JPEG and MrSID formats. NGA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the National Intelligence Community. The Agency’s mission is to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of our national security. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., NGA has major facilities in the Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and St. Louis, Mo., areas with NGA support teams worldwide.