Audit Reports

-A A +A

DOT Is Making Progress Toward Fulfilling the Requirements of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018

Required by the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
Project ID: 
What We Looked At
Geospatial data contain information on locations on Earth, such as location identifiers and boundary characteristics. Transportation related geospatial data include instrument-flight-rule navigation charts and maps of pipeline inspection boundaries. In October 2018, Congress passed the Geospatial Data Act (GDA) on the management of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). NSDI includes 17 geospatial data themes, including a transportation theme. The act requires inspectors general of covered agencies to report to Congress on their agencies’ geospatial data. Our audit objective was to assess DOT’s progress in fulfilling the act’s requirements. Specifically, we reviewed the Department’s status in implementing its responsibilities (1) as a lead covered agency under section 756 and (2) as a covered agency under sections 759(a) and 759(b).
What We Found
DOT has implemented two of five responsibilities under section 756—communicating with theme users about data needs and designating a point of contact for the GeoPlatform. It has partially completed a third. DOT has not yet developed standards for the National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) in the transportation theme, and does not have complete information about financial resources needed for transportation theme maintenance. DOT is making progress implementing 11 responsibilities as a covered Agency under section 759(a), with 4 complete and 4 partially complete. For example, DOT is updating its Geospatial Information System Strategic Plan—its strategy for promoting use of geographic information. While it is addressing the act’s reporting requirements under section 759(b), DOT has not collected information needed for an annual report. DOT also does not have a complete inventory of geospatial data assets but is updating its data inventory guidelines, which will explain how Operating Administrations should inventory and verify the accuracy of their geospatial data.
DOT concurred with all 13 recommendations to help it comply with the act’s requirements and provided documentation to close 1 recommendation.




Closed on 03.22.2022
No. 1 to OST

Update the National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) Theme plan with the processes to identify, assess, and develop NGDA standards based on the Act.

Closed on 05.13.2022
No. 2 to OST

Develop and implement a process to track the financial resources necessary to manage the National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) Transportation data theme.

Closed on 11.15.2022
No. 3 to OST

Develop, publish and implement DOT’s strategy for geospatial data-related activities as defined in its Geospatial Information System Strategic Plan.

Closed on 10.27.2020
No. 4 to OST

Work with the Chief Data Officer to verify that all Operating Administrations (OAs) designate an appropriate individual as a geospatial information officer.

Closed on 09.16.2022
No. 5 to OST

Work with Operating Administration (OA) records officers to  verify that FAA, FTA, MARAD, NHTSA, OST, and PHMSA allocate appropriate  resources to complete file plans and record schedules development activities  through submission to the DOT Records Management Office.

Closed on 06.01.2022
No. 6 to OST

Track and monitor FRA's, MARAD's, NHTSA's and PHMSA's  allocated resources to meet the responsibilities of effective geospatial data  collection, production, and stewardship.

Closed on 02.18.2022
No. 7 to OST

Develop, disseminate, and implement a uniform process for all Operating Administrations to perform a quality review of geospatial data to verify compliance with Department of Transportation’s (DOT) information quality guidelines. This process should include a method of ensuring recipients of DOT funds for geospatial data collection meet appropriate quality standards, as well as an assessment of stakeholder and peer reviews in order to validate the quality of all disseminated information.

Closed on 06.29.2022
No. 8 to OST

Update, disseminate and implement Department ofTransportation's internal data inventory policy to address how the Operating  Administrations should verify that geospatial data and metadata does not  inappropriately disclose personally identified information to external parties  and include guidelines on tracking and maintaining geospatial data asset  inventory and validating that inventories are complete.

Closed on 06.01.2022
No. 9 to OST

Develop a process to verify that the Operating Administrations are aware of and apply the Department of Transportation Privacy  Risk Management Policy, requiring privacy risk management activities to be completed for geospatial information systems prior to next system  reauthorization.

Closed on 10.28.2021
No. 10 to OST

Develop and implement a procedure that documents and tracks  all responsibilities outlined in the Geospatial Policy on Reducing Duplication  are implemented to include Department of Transportation and Operating  Administrations' implementation of geospatial clearinghouse searches to  validate no duplication of funds.

Closed on 01.19.2022
No. 11 to OST

Develop and maintain a process to verify that all geospatial metadata meets quality standards that strengthen the internal control process to improve the quality of metadata reported on DOT’s enterprise data inventory.

Closed on 11.15.2022
No. 12 to OST

Establish, document and implement a process for ongoing monitoring of its strategy for advancing geospatial information and related geospatial data and activities appropriate to its mission in accordance with requirements of the Federal Internal Control Standards.

Closed on 06.01.2022
No. 13 to OST

Working with the Operating Administrations, require that all  geospatial information systems maintain authorization status in accordance with departmental cybersecurity policies.