Wayland, MA, June 04, 2002 – The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that the US Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) has raised its membership level from Principal Member to Strategic Member. This action will further the organization's collaborative efforts to realize the vision of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI): To make geospatial data readily available locally, nationally, and globally to contribute to economic growth, environmental quality, stability, and social progress. FGDC recognizes OGC's development of specifications and interoperable technologies as an enabler of National and Global Spatial Data Infrastructures. OGC has been participating in FGDC activities since 1996 as an NSDI Stakeholder.The FGDC is an Interagency Committee established by the Office of Management and Budget by OMB Circular A-16. Membership includes 17 Federal Cabinet and Executive Level Agencies and their component Bureaus, Services and Offices. The FGDC is chaired by the Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Vice Chaired by the Office of Management and Budget. Its primary responsibilities include the coordination of geographic data activities at the federal level and for federal leadership in the development and implementation of the NSDI. The FGDC has strategic partnerships and working relationships with Stakeholders from state, local and tribal governments, the private sector and academia. The FGDC is the Project Lead for the Administration's E-Gov Geospatial One Stop Initiative and is the Executive Secretariat for the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Steering Committee.The FGDC has committed 2002 funds to OGC Interoperability Initiatives and is supporting the establishment of operational Web Mapping Server capability in state and local communities as part of the NSDI Cooperative Agreement Program for 2001 and 2002. Over the next 18 months FGDC will focus on the Geospatial One Stop Initiative and Homeland Security as critical activities to advance the NSDI implementation.John Moeller, Staff Director of the FGDC, said about the Strategic Membership, “As an Interagency Committee, with many of its members themselves being OGC Members, the FGDC believes it is important to maintain a significant strategic relationship to ensure that our collective efforts meet not only individual agency mission needs but the overall needs of government and the geospatial community.”OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web and mainstream IT, and empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Visit the OGC website at www.opengeospatial.org .– end –“