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Significant developments have taken place in the disciplines of cartography and geography in recent years with the advent of computer hardware and software that manipulate and process digital cartographic and geographic data more efficiently. The availability of inexpensive and powerful hardware and software systems offers the capability of displaying and analyzing spatial data to a growing number of users. As a result, developing and using existing digital cartographic databases are becoming very popular. However, the absence of uniform standards for the transfer of digital spatial data is hindering the exchange of data and increasing costs.
Several agencies of the U.S. government and the academic community have been working hard over the last few years to develop a spatial data transfer standard that includes definitions of standard terminology, a spatial data transfer specification, recommendations on reporting digital cartographic data quality, and standard topographic and hydrographic entity terms and definitions. This proposed standard was published in the January 1988 issue of The American Cartographer. Efforts to test and promote this standard were coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey. A Technical Review Board was appointed with representatives from the U.S. government, the private sector, and the academic community to complete the standard for submittal to the National Institute of Standards and Technology for approval as a Federal Information Processing Standard. The proposed standard was submitted in February 1992 for final approval.
cartography, geography, spatial, standards, geographic information systems(GIS)
Deputy chief, Modernization Program Office, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA
Professor, Urban Studies and Planning, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA