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Stanford Librarian appointed to U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Geospatial Advisory Committee



Julie Sweetkind-Singer

Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Stanford Libraries’ Head Librarian at the Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections is the first librarian to sit on committee.

Palo Alto, CA- Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the appointment of 17 new and continuing members to the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC).  Among the 17 is Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Stanford University Libraries’ head librarian at the Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections.

NGAC, a federal advisory committee, provides recommendations on geospatial policy and management issues to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the interagency executive group responsible for providing leadership and direction in federal geospatial programs.  

“I am honored to be appointed to the National Geospatial Advisory Committee.  I see it as my role to highlight the important part that libraries, museums, and archives play in the geospatial community,” responds Sweetkind-Singer to the news of her appointment. 

Leading Librarian

Sweetkind-Singer has been with Stanford University Libraries for 13 years and plays a key role in the development of the Libraries’ map collections and GIS support services for the entire campus.  “Stanford Libraries couldn’t have a better representative than Julie sitting on The National Geospatial Advisory Committee,” affirms Michael A. Keller, University Librarian at Stanford.  “Julie has helped acquire some of the most admired map collections and is internationally recognized as an expert; she continues to bring great value and advancement in scholarship to the Stanford community at large.”

The NGAC includes up to 30 members, selected to achieve a balanced representation of the varied interests associated with geospatial programs and technology. NGAC members are appointed to serve staggered terms on the committee.  The appointees to three-year terms on the NGAC are:

Mr. Dan Cotter, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Ms. Patricia Cummens, Esri
Mr. Steve Emanuel, State of New Jersey 
Prof. Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, University of Mississippi (reappointed to a second term)
Mr. Bert Granberg, State of Utah (reappointed to a second term)
Mr. Jack Hild, DigitalGlobe, Inc.
Mr. Jeff Lovin, Woolpert, Inc. 
Mr. Keith Masback, U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation
Mr. Kevin Pomfret, Centre for Spatial Law and Policy
Major General William N. Reddel III, New Hampshire National Guard
Mr. Anthony Spicci, State of Missouri (reappointed to a second term)
Ms. Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Stanford University
Mr. Gary Thompson, State of North Carolina (reappointed to a second term)
Dr. Harvey Thorleifson, Minnesota Geological Survey
Ms. Molly Vogt, Oregon Metro (reappointed to a second term)
Mr. Jason Warzinik, Boone County, Missouri
Mr. David Wyatt, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (reappointed to a second term)

"We are honored to have these distinguished geospatial professionals as new and continuing members of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee,” said Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, who serves as Chair of the FGDC.  “The NGAC has been a valuable resource and an excellent partner for the Federal geospatial community, and has provided excellent advice and recommendations on a wide range of critical geospatial policy and management issues. Effective and innovative use of geospatial information is essential for Federal agencies and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with this dynamic and accomplished set of leaders.”  

The NGAC was created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, enacted by Congress in 1972 to ensure that advice rendered to the executive branch by advisory committees, task forces, boards, and commissions formed by Congress and the President, be both objective and accessible to the public.  The Act formalized a process for establishing, operating, overseeing, and terminating these advisory bodies.

Mapping Out Data

Sweetkind-Singer and her team at the Stanford Geospatial Center, a division of Stanford University Libraries, continue to assist scholars and students on several projects where geospatial data provides a new dimension to their research and study.  For example, the Center produced maps to support Professor John Krosnick’s work on the Stanford University Public Opinion Surveys on Global Warming (2013): U.S. Maps of Key Survey Findings.  Professor Krosnick and the Stanford Political Psychology Research Group have been studying American public opinion about global warming since the mid-1990s by conducting a series of national surveys, regional surveys, and experiments.  The Center created maps using these data to illustrate and support the group’s efforts to illuminate the prevalence of various opinions in the nation, the dynamics of those opinions over time, the forces shaping those opinions, and the effects of those opinions on action.

 “The libraries, museums and archives’ role is to preserve and provide permanent public access to the historical record for the Nation,” notes Sweetkind-Singer.  “Stanford University Libraries are at the forefront of preserving and creating access to geospatial and scientific data, be it created at Stanford or by government agencies.  I'll bring that knowledge with me to inform the work of the group.”

Sweetkind-Singer and the other NGAC committee members will also review and comment on geospatial policy and management issues, and provide a forum for conveying the views of non-federal representatives in the geospatial community, according the U.S. Department of Interior’s press release about the appointments.  The release goes on to emphasize that the integration of the massive amounts of data maintained by federal agencies into its geospatial context provides invaluable insights that support better decision-making throughout the government and better information to the American public.

Additional information about the NGAC, including a complete list of the committee members, is available at

by Gabrielle Karampelas

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