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Toward a Federal Land Information System: Experiences and issues

January 1, 1994

From 1983 to 1987, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted research to develop a national resource data base of Federal lands under the auspices of the Federal Land Information System (FLIS) program. The program's goal was to develop the capability to provide information to national mineral-use policymakers. Prototype spatial data bases containing mineral, land status, and base cartographic data were developed for the Medford, Oreg., area, the State of Alaska, and the Silver City, N. Mex., area. Other accomplishments included (1) the preparation of a digital format for U.S. Geological Survey mineral assessment data and (2) the development of a procedure for integrating parcel-level tabular Alaska land status data into a section-level geographic information system. Overall findings indicated that both vector and raster capabilities are required for a FLIS and that nationwide data availability is a limiting factor in FLIS development.

As a result of a 1986 interbureau (U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Mines) review of the FLIS program, activities were redirected to undertake research on large-area geographic information system techniques. Land use and land cover data generalization strategies were tested, and areafiltering software was found to be the optimum type. In addition, a procedure was developed for transferring tabular land status data of surveyed areas in the contiguous 48 States to spatial data for use in geographic information systems.

The U.S. Geological Survey FLIS program, as an administrative unit, ended in 1987, but FLIS-related research on large-area geographic information systems continues.