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Feds Aim to Buy Smart and Save Money in Geospatial World

October 15, 2008
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Under a broad initiative supported by the Department of the Interior, many Federal agencies will be able to improve their efficiency and save taxpayers money by consolidating their purchases of geospatial technology under the government-wide Geospatial Line of Business. In the works is a multi-vendor Blanket Purchase Agreement - potentially the largest in history - that will provide small, medium, and large government users a common portfolio of geospatial technology options. Reservations are due Oct. 17 for a “Vendor Day” on Oct. 21.

The Geospatial Line of Business , is a government-wide initiative, sponsored by the Office of Management and Budget, that focuses on improving government effectiveness by promoting the use of geospatial information in order to improve both the policy decisions and the internal business processes of Federal agencies. The initiative is coordinated by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) chaired by the Department of the Interior.

“This consolidated purchase of geospatial technology will help reduce costs and greatly improve the government’s access to high quality commercial geospatial software, data, and other products,” says James Cason, Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior and chair of the FGDC steering committee.

Federal agencies currently use many of the same commercial products to perform geospatial operations, such as producing maps and conducting geographic analysis. However, they use very different contractual vehicles in procuring geospatial software and services. This practice hinders agency savings and forces commercial vendors to invest disproportionately in coordinating dozens, if not hundreds, of separate accounts within an agency or department. As a consequence, many agencies do not have access to other services the commercial sector might provide, such as training and technical support.

The Geospatial Common Services Work Group, composed of representatives from across the Federal community, is working with the General Services Administration SmartBUY Team to implement the multi-vendor Blanket Purchase Agreement to provide a common set of avail able software and services in geospatial technology. Types of software within the current scope of the BPA include computer aided design, web-based visualization, imagery analysis, geocoding, national and international road networks, and geospatial analytics and modeling.

The SmartBUY BPA is expected to deliver a range of benefits to both government customers and participating vendors, including:

  • Cost savings and improved efficiency across government;
  • Enhanced alignment with the Federal Enterprise Architecture by enabling access by all agencies to a common set of services and software;
  • Increased access to value-added services such as training, integration services and batch services;
  • More effective partnerships across the vendor community through a single agreement promoting product and service interoperability;
  • Greater opportunities for innovation such as beta testing of new products with established
  • Easier access to geospatial technology.
Interested vendors may register for the “Vendor Day” scheduled for October 21st from 1:00-3:00PM at the J.W. Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20004. RSVP to stephen.bell@gsa on or before 1:00PM on Friday, Oct. 17, 2008.

For more information on this program, please send inquiries to: smartbuyresponse@fgdc. For further information on Geospatial Line of Business activities: www.fgdc.gov/geospatial-lob.

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