SBA extends deadline for size standard comments; USGS provides satellite data for tsunami disaster relief efforts; and URISA welcomed as an FGDC partner.

SBA Extends Deadline for Size Standard Comments

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) extended the deadline for advance comments from the general public on key issues relating to its small business size standards from Feb. 1, 2005 to April 3, 2005. Over the years, SBA's size standards have been criticized as being difficult to understand. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) provides the public with an opportunity to advise SBA on what areas of size standards make them complicated or difficult to use or understand.

Specifically, comments are invited on issues that pertain to: the approach to simplify size standards, the calculation of number of employees (including how SBA defines an employee for size purposes), the use of receipts-based size standards, the designation of size standards for federal procurements, the establishment of tiered size standards, the simplification of affiliation regulations, the simplification of the small business joint venture eligibility regulations, the grandfathering of small business eligibility, and the impact of SBA size standards on the regulations of other federal agencies.

Comments, which should be identified by the code RIN 3245-AF22, can be sent by the following methods:

E-mail: Include RIN3245-AF22 in the subject line of the message.
Fax: 202/205-6390
Mail: Gary M. Jackson, Assistant Administrator for Size Standards, 409 Third Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20416

More background and information on this ANPRM and the SBA's business size standards is available at

USGS Provides Satellite Data for Tsunami Disaster Relief Efforts

In response to the tsunami destruction in Southeast Asia, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) contributed to the disaster relief efforts by supplying before and after satellite images of the region through its National Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS). Within hours after the disaster occurred on Dec. 26, 2004, EROS began providing relief organizations worldwide with Landsat 7 pre- and post-tsunami satellite images, as well as image-derived products incorporating information on population density, elevation and other relevant topics. These images and image-derived products are being used by relief organizations to make practical, well-informed decisions as to where relief efforts are most urgently needed and how best to carry out those efforts. Approximately 170,000 files were made available, totaling over two terabytes of satellite data that covered approximately one million square miles of coastal and inland areas. These products can be accessed via The National Map Hazards Data Distribution System at website/tsunami/.

In addition, the USGS procured approximately 5,700 square miles of high-resolution commercial satellite imagery over key tsunami-effected areas in the Indian Ocean. The imagery, purchased from Space Imaging LLC of Thornton, Colo., comes with an unlimited non-commercial license.

The commercial products consist of four-band multispectral imagery at 4-meter resolution and a single-band panchromatic at 1-meter resolution, providing detailed depictions of tsunami-impacted coastal areas. To obtain access to the commercial satellite imagery, contact or 800/252-4547.

URISA Welcomed as an FGDC Partner

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) was accepted in January as a stakeholder on the Steering Committee of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). The FGDC is a long-standing national consortium working to advance policy and standards for the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The goal of this infrastructure concept is to promote consistent means of sharing geographic data to produce significant savings for data collection and use, and enhance decision making. To encourage this type of sharing, NSDI partnerships are created to facilitate the development of technologies, policies and the sharing of geospatial data throughout all levels of government, private and non-profit sectors, and the academic community.

URISA represents nearly 8,000 urban and regional professionals using information technology to improve their communities. Urban areas, and state and local governments need accurate data to provide public services and emergency response. URISA, through its professional membership and its activities, supports development of local and regional data access points, which provides a greater opportunity for smaller local governments to network and become data providers in the NSDI. Without that regional support and coordination their participation may otherwise be too costly.