FGDC – National Geospatial Data Asset Address Theme

For immediate release: September 13, 2016                               Media contact: Molly Schar

New Federal Focus on Address Data Can Save Lives, Safeguard Resources and Improve Public Services

Adoption of Address Theme Lauded by National States Geographic Information Council

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) that it has established a new National Geospatial Data Asset Address Theme to support ongoing work to develop a National Address Database was met with approval by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), the nonprofit that convenes senior geospatial coordinators for states, districts and territories across the United States.

“With this shift in policy, we look forward to the work that the named Lead Agencies of the Department of Transportation and Census Bureau will accomplish together, drawing on the strengths of each agency, to build the comprehensive address database through a truly national process,” said NSGIC President Chris Diller.

Addresses in the U.S. are created at the local level, city and county. States are prepared to act as intermediaries in collecting and organizing that data. Several states are far advanced in doing that work. The states look to the Federal government as the coordinating body to pull state data together to create a national address database, said Diller.

FGDC’s new focus on address points acknowledges that finer-grained location information has great utility for public safety, policy and planning, and demography. Improved address information on roads and demographic statistics for block and tract summary areas will support the essential functions of government including wide area disaster response, time-critical emergency response and other 911 services, financial and taxation oversight, and elections management.

Addresses have been a high-priority data theme of NSGIC since 2006, with the formation of an Address Work Group and production of a position paper on a “master” address file for state and local governments. In 2012, NSGIC members led an effort at the FGDC National Geographic Advisory Committee to assess the need for a National Address Database.

Since that time, NSGIC has worked closely with the Census Bureau and Department of Transportation towards development of a national system to gather, organize and share address data to meet a host of needs of government at all levels. In a Department of Transportation pilot program launched earlier this year, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC, joined pilot states Arizona and Arkansas in contributing address data.

The Department of Commerce National Telecommunications & Information Administration State Broadband Program (SBP) is widely seen as a successful model for state-led address point programs. Launched in 2009, the State Broadband Program is designed to facilitate the integration of broadband and information technology into state and local economies via state entities and nonprofits. Because accurate data is critical for broadband planning, the SBP assists states in gathering data twice a year on the availability, speed and location of broadband services, as well as services used by public institutions.

“As with the State Broadband Program, funding for the FGDC Address Theme efforts will be critical,” said Diller. “Many small jurisdictions do not have the resources to create an electronic file of their addresses. They have the resources to maintain that database, but need help setting things up.”

NSGIC advocates for open sharing of taxpayer-funded geospatial data, asserting that open data sharing makes the most current and accurate geospatial data available for decisions affecting economic development, social services, public safety, emergency management, human or environmental health, agriculture, natural resources, planning and transportation.

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National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is a 501(c)(6) organization committed to efficient and effective government through the prudential adoption of geospatial information technologies. Voting members include the senior state geographic information system managers and coordinators. Other members come from federal agencies, local government, the private sector, academia and other professional organizations. NSGIC members include nationally and internationally recognized experts in geospatial information technologies and policy.

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