recommended reading

Agencies waste millions acquiring duplicative data on roads, street addresses


The Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies haven’t done enough to coordinate how geospatial data is collected and shared, a watchdog said Monday.

As a result, agencies have wasted millions of dollars gathering duplicative information about roads, street addresses and other data, the Government Accountability Office said.

The interagency Federal Geographic Data Committee has done a good job of establishing governmentwide standards for geospatial data and for the metadata attached to that data, such as information about when and how it was collected, GAO said.

The committee, which is currently headed by the Interior Department, has also done a good job of establishing a governmentwide clearinghouse for geospatial data, the watchdog said.

But the committee and OMB have not done enough to encourage agencies to use that clearinghouse, GAO said. The committee also hasn’t established clear goals for how it will raise participation in the clearinghouse and reduce duplication, GAO said, and it isn’t sufficiently making progress in achieving those goals.

“As a result, efforts to acquire data are uncoordinated and the federal government is acquiring duplicative geospatial data,” GAO said. “For example, three agencies are independently acquiring road data, which is reported to have resulted in millions of wasted taxpayers' dollars.”

Government agencies use geospatial data to do everything from mapping the path of natural disasters to studying the effectiveness of government-funded social programs.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, for instance, uses geospatial data to measure the outcomes of its international development programs and to pinpoint where programs might be most effective. The Agriculture Department has launched a program to pull all of its geospatial data into a single portal. 

Do you want to know more about the outlook for federal IT in 2013? Attend Nextgov Prime on Monday, Dec. 3, where key lawmakers will outline their plans for reforming the way agencies buy technology. Our expert panelswill discuss the future of cloud computing, cybersecurity, data analytics and more.

(Image via Alexzel/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.