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Username: jmoeller
Date/Time: Fri, November 3, 2000 at 8:21 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: Policy Questions About dot.geo


I am offering these comments from a policy perspective as the Staff Director of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). The United States is developing and implementing a National Spatial Data Infrastructure supported by standards, technologies, and policies to improve access sharing and use of geospatial data.  Many other countries are also developing Spatial Data Infrastructures and are cooperating in an initiative to establish a coordinated global spatial data infrastructure.  In the United States the National Spatial Data Infrastructure is a collaborative effort of federal, state, local and tribal governments, private sector organizations and academia.  The Federal Geographic Data Committee has the responsibility of promoting coordination of Federal geographic data activities and of providing federal leadership for the NSDI.  Much work has already been done by the geospatial data community to develop standards and protocols that will support and enable improved access, sharing and use of geospatial data.  This includes not only standards and practices of government agencies, but also the work of ISO TC211 and the Open GIS Consortium. 

I am concerned about the policy impacts of this proposal.   The dot.geo proposal to ICANN does not specify strategic links or compatibility with these ongoing SDI and standards activities.  It has not been presented for discussion with FGDC or the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Steering Committee.  The proposal also does not explain the standards or protocols proposed for use or how a fee based system would facilitate or inhibit the increased sharing and use of geospatial data.  Many local governments, non-government organizations and emerging countries are not in a position or willing to participate in a fee based registration system, as it appears this proposal envisions.  The public policy objectives of equitable access to government data and information and protection of individual personal privacy also do not appear to be given consideration in the proposal. 

I recommend that a more deliberate and inclusive process be followed in order to design an approach that is compatible with the efforts already underway by many government and private sector organizations.  The interests of citizens and communities will be better served by a strategy that builds interoperability and compatibility rather that sets up either real or perceived barriers to effective public/private working relationships. If the .geo domain is approved, the FGDC requests that there be a reasonable delay in the assignment of registrars within the domain, pending:

1) an open and technically sound validation of the proposal using
specific protocols involving the OpenGIS Consortium and other players,

2) establish working arrangements among a broader group of stakeholder
organizations for design and oversight of the .geo deployment.



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