Geospatial data—which Federal agencies use to achieve their missions—contain information tied to locations, including geographic location identifiers. Transportation related geospatial data include instrument-flight-rule navigation charts and pipeline inspection boundary maps. In October 2018, Congress passed the Geospatial Data Act (GDA) on the management of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). NSDI has 18 geospatial data themes that cover data used by Federal agencies, including a transportation theme. Section 756 of the GDA requires Federal Geographic Data Committee to identify one or more covered agencies to serve as the lead covered agency for a specific data theme. The act’s section 759 sets requirements for covered agencies. As the lead covered agency for the transportation theme, the Department of Transportation (DOT) must address requirements under GDA section 756(b) for the transportation theme, and as a covered agency the requirements under sections 759(a) and 759(b). The act also requires inspectors general of covered agencies to report to Congress once every 2 years on their agencies’ geospatial data-related activities. Our audit objective was to assess DOT’s progress since our 2020 GDA audit. Specifically, we assessed the Department’s progress implementing its responsibilities (1) as a lead covered agency under section 756(b) and (2) as a covered agency under sections 759(a) and 759(b) of the act.
What We Found
DOT has made progress complying with lead covered agency requirements. In 2020, DOT met two of the five lead covered agency requirements—information on user needs and theme administration. In 2022, DOT fully meets four requirements and partially meets one—a plan to implement standards for theme data. DOT has also made progress on the 12 applicable covered agency requirements. In 2020, DOT had met 4 of the 12 applicable requirements and in 2022, fully meets 9. The Department has not yet fully complied with the requirements for implementation of a geospatial information system strategic plan, records preparation, and the use of geospatial information. DOT complied with the requirements on annual reporting and maintenance of a geospatial data asset inventory.
We made one recommendation to help DOT comply with the requirements for lead covered agencies in the act’s section 756(b). DOT concurred with our recommendation.
Closed on 10.03.2023
No. 1 to OST
The Director of Bureau of Transportation Statistics complete and implement the DOT Geospatial Standards Implementation Plan in accordance with section 756(b) of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018.