There’s a 590-page Budget Justifications document (PDF) available that outlines the proposed U.S. Geological Survey budget changes that was forwarded to me by Learon Dalby (@LearonDalby). On page 225 of this document the proposed cut of $3.5 Million to the National Map partnerships is discussed and lamented:
“For 2011, the USGS proposes to reduce the funding for the Partnership Implementation component by $3.5 million. The proposed reduction eliminates all funds used to leverage with Federal, State and local agencies to acquire new data. Through this leverage, the USGS typically benefits from a ratio ranging from 15:1 for imagery to 4:1 for hydrography data. The amount of the proposed reduction actually results in the loss of as much as $20 million worth of geospatial data to the Federal Government, the USGS, and the public annually. This reduces the USGS’ ability to maintain the currentness and improve the quality of The National Map.”
Further, the document advises that this cut will mean the loss of liaison positions for 13 states, eliminating an important coordination position particularly of service during emergencies. There’s also the caution that these cuts would hamper America’s geospatial industry, and undermine previous recommendations by the Office of Management and Budget for a stronger national geospatial framework.
Clearly, this cut isn’t in the best interest of the geospatial community or the safety of the nation. It’s important to remember that this is a “proposed” budget, with perhaps some room for advocacy.