recommended reading

GSA awards geospatial services agreements to four firms

The General Services Administration announced on Thursday that it awarded a new blanket purchase agreement federal, state and local governments can use to buy geospatial software and services through its SmartBUY program.

Geospatial technology refers to a collection of software tools that allow agencies to perform complex tasks such as three-dimensional modeling or computer-aided design. It includes Web-based visualization tools to access images of any geographic area through commercial services such as Google Earth. Emergency response agencies can access data on national and international road networks and take advantage of geocoding to pinpoint longitude and latitude for any given location.

The SmartBUY program awarded the contracts at the request of the Geospatial Line of Business, which is chaired by the Interior Department. The estimated contract value is $20 million. Other agencies making up the Geospatial Line of Business include the Agriculture and Commerce departments, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Census Bureau and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Each of the agencies have demonstrated a need for geospatial tools to accomplish their missions.

All SmartBUY agreements use the GSA Schedules program as their base contract and then attempt to negotiate lower prices based on specific technical requirements. Lawrence Hale, director of the office of infrastructure optimization at GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, said his organization works with customers such as the Geospatial Line of Business to help them sift through the offerings on the schedules and negotiate lower prices for agencies that are looking to purchase in the near future.

"Instead of having dozens of tools in a given category on the schedule, the [blanket purchase agreement] allows us to have a technical evaluation and raise the bar on what standards will be acceptable," Hale said. "It narrows the field and helps agencies focus in on the best products and software packages that are most appropriate for the needs of the customers."

The geospatial agreement was awarded to four companies: Onix Networking Corp. in Westlake, Ohio, a reseller for commercial geospatial tools such as the commercial version of Google Earth; and Imager Software, Planet Associates Inc. and SAIC, all three of which have their own suites of geospatial tools.

Agencies can immediately begin placing orders for geospatial products and services through the GSA Advantage or eBuy systems.

Once a blanket purchase agreement has been negotiated between schedules vendors and SmartBUY, federal, state, local and tribal governments can purchase products through the agreement. The program tallied $222 million in business in fiscal 2009, at a cost savings of $195 million, compared with the prices on Schedule 70, on which technology equipment and services are sold, according to GSA.

"We have additional requirements and a tighter evaluation for these agreements" than for Schedule 70, Hale said. "There's a group of customers ready to buy and so there's an extra incentive for publishers to negotiate and offer more discounts. And even for the SmartBUY price, the customer can negotiate further discounts. It's common."

SmartBUY was identified as an IT spending priority in President Obama's fiscal 2010 budget, and the program has a numerous blanket purchase agreements for such services as database management, enterprise content management, information security and network management, Hale said.

Threatwatch Alert

Social Media Takeover

Qatar News Agency Says Hackers Published Fake Stories

See threatwatch report


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.