October 2, 2020
Required by the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
DOT Is Making Progress Toward Fulfilling the Requirements of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
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.