At the lightning pace of today’s digital world, rivers of data flow from a multitude of sources and form torrents of information that can rapidly overwhelm people and enterprises. How can so much information be managed to meet the needs of organizations and customers? "Place" is one answer, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Emphasizing the importance of geographic (place-based) information in organizing many other kinds information, the USGS has announced that it is establishing a Senior Executive Service position for a Geographic Information Officer (GIO). This officer will be responsible for guiding the formulation of agency strategies to provide innovative information management solutions and ensure the integrity of USGS scientific information. The GIO will see that USGS information management policy supports its mission and will provide leadership in coordinating USGS scientific information management with its many partners and other government agencies.
"Place-based analysis of information brings order to mixed data, creates relevancy, and enables the integration of many fields of knowledge," said USGS Director Charles Groat. "Although geographers in particular have a long tradition of attempting to understand how different processes and phenomena interact at the same location, the power of place-based integration of information is well accepted and enthusiastically applied throughout the natural sciences."
"In addition to this place-based approach, having complete integration of our information assets and pointers to our partners’ data will create a ‘Gateway to the Earth,’ through which citizens can obtain data and information on processes occurring in, on, and around the Earth," Groat said.
The responsibilities of the GIO at the USGS will be similar to those of a Chief Information Officer (CIO), a position mandated for all Cabinet departments and recommended for all federal agencies by the 1996 Information Technology Management Reform Act (ITMRA). The USGS is unique among federal agencies in specifically designating this position as a Geographic Information Officer. "The Survey has a solid reputation for providing reliable scientific information," said Barbara Ryan, USGS associate director for operations. "Building on that reputation, we want to fully develop the rich potential of geographic information for integrating our scientific findings and for making our science even more accessible to the public. We hope to have a GIO in place by October."
The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.
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