MSC Reports


      








Download PDF


 
 

From Maps to Models: Augmenting the National's Geospatial Intelligence Capabilities (2016)

The United States faces numerous, varied, and evolving threats to national security, including terrorism, scarcity and disruption of food and water supplies, extreme weather events, and regional conflicts around the world. Effectively managing these threats requires intelligence that not only assesses what is happening now, but that also anticipates potential future threats. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is responsible for providing geospatial intelligence on other countries—assessing where exactly something is, what it is, and why it is important—in support of national security, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance.

 


Download PDF


 
  Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence (2013)

We live in a changing world with multiple and evolving threats to national security, including terrorism, asymmetrical warfare (conflicts between agents with different military powers or tactics), and social unrest. Visually depicting and assessing these threats using imagery and other geographically-referenced information is the mission of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). As the nature of the threat evolves, so do the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to respond. The challenge for NGA is to maintain a workforce that can deal with evolving threats to national security, ongoing scientific and technological advances, and changing skills and expectations of workers.

Download PDF


 
  Advancing Strategic Science: A Spatial Data Infrastructure Roadmap for the U.S. Geological Survey (2012)

Science is increasingly driven by data, and spatial data underpin the science directions laid out in the 2007 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Science Strategy. A robust framework of spatial data, metadata, tools, and a user community that is interactively connected to use spatial data in an efficient and flexible way--known as a spatial data infrastructure (SDI)--must be available for scientists and managers to find, use, and share spatial data both within and beyond the USGS.

Download PDF


 
  New Research Directions for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2010)

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) within the Department of Defense has the primary mission of providing timely, relevant, and accurate imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information--collectively known as geospatial intelligence (GEOINT)--in support of national security. In support of its mission, NGA sponsors research that builds the scientific foundation for geospatial intelligence and that reinforces the academic base, thus training the next generation of NGA analysts while developing new approaches to analytical problems. Historically, NGA has supported research in five core areas: (1) photogrammetry and geomatics, (2) remote sensing and imagery science, (3) geodesy and geophysics, (4) cartographic science, and (5) geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial analysis.

Download PDF


 
  Mapping the Zone: Improving Flood Map Accuracy (2009)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps portray the height and extent to which flooding is expected to occur, and they form the basis for setting flood insurance premiums and regulating development in the floodplain. As such, they are an important tool for individuals, businesses, communities, and government agencies to understand and deal with flood hazard and flood risk. Improving map accuracy is therefore not an academic question--better maps help everyone.

Download PDF


 
  Elevation Data for Floodplain Mapping (2007)

Floodplain maps serve as the basis for determining whether homes or buildings require flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Approximately $650 billion in insured assets are now covered under the program. FEMA is modernizing floodplain maps to better serve the program. However, concerns have been raised as to the adequacy of the base map information available to support floodplain map modernization.

Download PDF


 
  National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future (2007)

Land parcel data (also known as cadastral data) provide geographically referenced information about the rights, interests, and ownership of land and are an important part of the financial, legal, and real estate systems of society. The data are used by governments to make decisions about land development, business activities, regulatory compliance, emergency response, and law enforcement. In 1980, a National Research Council book called for nationally integrated land parcel data, but despite major progress in the development of land parcel databases in many local jurisdictions, little progress has been made toward a national system.

Download PDF


 
  A Research Agenda for Geographic Information Science at the United States Geological Survey

Comprehensive and authoritative baseline geospatial data content is crucial to the nation and to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS founded its Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS) in 2006 to develop and distribute national geospatial data assets in a fast-moving information technology environment. In order to fulfill this mission, the USGS asked the National Research Council to assess current GIScience capabilities at the USGS, identify current and future needs for GIScience capabilities, recommend strategies for strengthening these capabilities and for collaborating with others to maximize research productivity, and make recommendations regarding the most effective research areas for CEGIS to pursue. With an initial focus on improving the capabilities of The National Map, the report recommends three priority research areas for CEGIS: information access and dissemination, data integration, and data models, and further identifies research topics within these areas that CEGIS should pursue. To address these research topics, CEGIS needs a sustainable research management process that involves a portfolio of collaborative research that balances short and long term goals.