Not later than 6 months after March 30, 2009, the Administrator, in consultation with the Committee, shall develop and submit to the Congress a plan for an integrated ocean and coastal mapping initiative within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(b) Plan requirements
The plan shall—
(1)identify and describe all ocean and coastal mapping programs within the agency, including those that conduct mapping or related activities in the course of existing missions, such as hydrographic surveys, ocean exploration projects, living marine resource conservation and management programs, coastal zone management projects, and ocean and coastal observations and science projects;
(2)establish priority mapping programs and establish and periodically update priorities for geographic areas in surveying and mapping across all missions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as minimum data acquisition and metadata standards for those programs;
(3)encourage the development of innovative ocean and coastal mapping technologies and applications, through research and development through cooperative or other agreements with joint or cooperative research institutes or centers and with other non-governmental entities;
(4)document available and developing technologies, best practices in data processing and distribution, and leveraging opportunities with other Federal agencies, coastal states, and non-governmental entities;
(5)identify training, technology, and other resource requirements for enabling the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s programs, vessels, and aircraft to support a coordinated ocean and coastal mapping program;
(6)identify a centralized mechanism or office for coordinating data collection, processing, archiving, and dissemination activities of all such mapping programs within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that meets Federal mandates for data accuracy and accessibility and designate a repository that is responsible for archiving and managing the distribution of all ocean and coastal mapping data to simplify the provision of services to benefit Federal and coastal state programs; and
(7)set forth a timetable for implementation and completion of the plan, including a schedule for submission to the Congress of periodic progress reports and recommendations for integrating approaches developed under the initiative into the interagency program.
(c) NOAA joint ocean and coastal mapping centers
The Administrator may maintain and operate up to 3 joint ocean and coastal mapping centers, including a joint hydrographic center, which shall each be co-located with an institution of higher education. The centers shall serve as hydrographic centers of excellence and may conduct activities necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, including—
(1)research and development of innovative ocean and coastal mapping technologies, equipment, and data products;
(2)mapping of the United States Outer Continental Shelf and other regions;
(3)data processing for nontraditional data and uses;
(4)advancing the use of remote sensing technologies, for related issues, including mapping and assessment of essential fish habitat and of coral resources, ocean observations, and ocean exploration; and
(5)providing graduate education and training in ocean and coastal mapping sciences for members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, personnel of other agencies with ocean and coastal mapping programs, and civilian personnel.
(d) NOAA report
The Administrator shall continue developing a strategy for expanding contracting with non-governmental entities to minimize duplication and take maximum advantage of nongovernmental capabilities in fulfilling the Administration’s mapping and charting responsibilities. Within 120 days after March 30, 2009, the Administrator shall transmit a report describing the strategy developed under this subsection to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives.
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