Steering Committee Charter

(revised July 16, 1999)

The Data Model Steering Committee provides overall guidance, coordination, publicity, and communication for the development of a digital geologic map data model to support, at a minimum, the needs of the United States and Canadian geoscience community. The development of a data model is, in part, justified by the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992 and its 1997 Reauthorization, under provisions for a National Geologic Map Database.

Charge and roles

  1. Overall guidance. The Steering Committee specifies the scope of activities for development and implementation of the data model. The Committee provides authoritative statements of the model's purpose, its intended use and users, and its relationships with other specifications such as Open GIS, SDTS, NGMDB, the NSDI Clearinghouse and Framework, the NBII, POSC, and PPDM.
  2. Coordination of technical teams. The Steering Committee identifies functional goals for the data model in sufficient detail that a technical team working towards each goal can accomplish clearly-specified tasks within one year. For each functional goal, the Committee will identify the technical need, state the immediate goals of the team, identify people who can work on the team, and facilitate, evaluate, and disseminate the work of the team. Examples of technical teams may include: conceptual data model design; scientific terminology; software tool development; and data interchange.
  3. Publicity and organizational liaison. The Steering Committee works to publicize the model and its supporting products in appropriate conventions, meetings, workshops, and publications. The Committee provides information on its progress to related groups such as the FGDC Geologic Data Subcommittee, the USGS Geographic Data Committee, and the AASG Digital Geologic Mapping Committee.
  4. Communication and Support. The Steering Committee facilitates public discussion and individual guidance regarding both broad issues and technical details of concern in the data model. These discussions and guidance are supported by technical information exchange at a Web Conferencing site. Members will actively solicit comments and guidance from the technical experts whose interests they represent to the Committee, and will respond regularly to that constituency.


The Steering Committee includes agencies that strongly support the goals stated above. At a minimum, members will be drawn from the USGS, the state geological surveys (represented by the AASG), the GSC, and the Canadian provincial surveys. Members must be able to effectively communicate the decisions and concerns of the Committee to their own organizations and to represent fairly to the Committee the views of their organizations.

Members must have expertise in GIS, geological mapping, database design, or software development, and have a professional interest in the implementation of a standard data model for digital geologic maps. Members must be capable of contributing guidance to the technical teams. For each of the technical topics, there must be at least one person on the Steering Committee whose primary area of expertise is that topic.

Since the role of the Steering Committee is to coordinate and facilitate, its members need not be actively involved in the technical teams, and the data model work need not be one of their primary job functions, provided they have the required expertise and professional interest.


To promote efficiency and communication, the Steering Committee will have a coordinator appointed through majority Committee vote. The coordinator will serve for a period of one year, after which the coordinator will be re-confirmed or a new coordinator appointed by Steering Committee vote. The coordinator shall have no executive authority, and shall be neutral in terms of Committee constituency.

The coordinator will:

  1. lead Steering Committee meetings,
  2. work with Committee members to develop meeting agendas,
  3. compile minutes for each Committee meeting, and
  4. serve as the official point of contact between the Steering Committee and the public.

Technical teams

Technical teams are formed by the Steering Committee to develop: detailed functional specifications of the data model; software tools and test-data meeting the specifications; and standard scientific terminology. The work of the technical teams will be defined specifically enough that the tasks can be accomplished within one year. This requirement is meant to allow the membership of technical teams to vary from year to year as needed by the teams and by the organizations that employ the team members. Technical team members are specialists in scientific or technological disciplines, and usually the work of the team falls within the member's professional responsibilities.