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UCGIS joined by AAG and URISA in Response to EPA Transparency Rule

There is currently a rule under consideration by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is cause for major concern within the research community. The proposed Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule indicates that as the EPA uses scientific research to guide future policy decisions, preference will be given to studies which make their raw data publicly available. Consequently, this would allow the EPA discretion to discount research that does not fully disclose such data, which includes any findings that draw from personally identifiable medical and location information as well as proprietary data. 

UCGIS, in partnership with the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), submitted a public comment expressing our opposition to this proposed rule.

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Update on the Geospatial Data Act of 2017

Whatever happened to the bipartisan Geospatial Data Act (GDA) of 2017, you may be wondering? This important bill is designed to facilitate and support geospatial data development, sharing, and coordination across federal agencies and partnerships with state and local governments, towards a more robust National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Unfortunately, the bill has yet to reach congressional floors for a vote. Back in mid-November 2017, parallel versions of a revised Geospatial Data Act of 2017 made their way to their respective committees in the Senate (S. 2128) and the House (H.R. 4395). You can find the committee assignments at the links to the bills above. Those identical bills had been modified to remove language in two places, Sections 11 and 12, that UCGIS and many other organizations and individuals had previously regarded as problematic to the pursuit of open GIS and mapping activities in academic and public sectors.

Since that time, actions have been largely behind the scenes and the bills remain on their respective congressional dockets. Further discussions and debate around data and mapping language have taken place but have yielded no changes to the text.

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Update 2: Geospatial Data Act of 2017

Update #2: 2017 Geospatial Data Act

On Wednesday November 15, 2017, revised versions of the Geospatial Data Act were introduced in Congress (S.2128 and H.R.4395). The problematic Sections 11 and 12 have been removed, in part due to the persuasive and succinct arguments that UCGIS and other geospatial organizations were able to make. A great way to celebrate GIS Day! You can read UCGIS's interpretation of the original bill here.

UCGIS strongly supports this revised version of the bills. As always, we encourage you to keep apprised of these developments and share your opinions with your own state’s congressional offices.