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Alaska Mapping Roundtable

Aviation safety, energy development, resource assessments, flood plain management, and a long list of other Federal and State government activities depend on access to accurate, up-to-date topographic maps and data. Remarkably, modern mapping information does not exist over the majority of land in Alaska, where significant resource, safety and national security interests intersect.

Photograph of Alaska Mapping Roundtable setting

To address this issue, the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the State of Alaska co-hosted the Alaska Mapping Roundtable meeting attended by senior Federal and State executives to raise awareness of the status of and plans to explore alternatives for a joint funding strategy for completing topographic mapping in Alaska. The Roundtable was held in Washington, D.C., on June 28, 2012. More than 20 Federal departments and bureaus participated because of their mission critical needs for this information. Alaska participants included representatives from the Governor's Office, Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources, the University of Alaska, and the congressional delegation.

The Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative (SDMI), a cooperative State program endorsed by the Governor and implemented by several State agencies and the University of Alaska, is collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Mapping Initiative to jointly acquire data needed to provide an accurate, current, and accessible statewide base map. However, funding to accelerate and complete an effort of this significance and size requires the attention and commitment at the Federal executive level.


Consensus was quickly reached that topographic mapping for Alaska must be prioritized and accelerated. As a result, DOI is establishing an interagency executive committee (Committee) to coordinate among the Federal agencies and with the Alaska State Government to oversee the Federal role in mapping Alaska.

The purpose of the Committee is to secure the resources necessary to complete the topographic mapping of Alaska by FY2018. Guiding principles for the Committee that were outlined by the Roundtable participants include:

  • Utilize an enterprise approach to enable the greatest efficiencies in data acquisition and use.
  • Work in partnership with the State of Alaska to commit and coordinate funding to meet common needs for topographic mapping.
  • Leverage existing efforts, resources, and relationships.
  • Implement Federal Geographic Data Committee best practices for data and metadata standards and sharing, and make data accessible on the Geospatial Platform.


Mark DeMulder
Director, National Geospatial Program
Core Science Systems
U.S. Geological Survey
Phone: (703)648-5569
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Organizational Meeting:
Alaska Mapping Executive Committee
August 14, 2012
Washington, DC


"Mapping Alaska a priority for state and feds"
- Seward Phoenix Log
- Capital City Weekly

Meeting Photos:

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