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The first task group meeting was held September 20-21, 2006 at ASTM International Headquarters near Philadelphia, PA.  At this meeting, group members learned how the ASTM methodology works for developing voluntary national standards for geospatial data.  The task group began the process to develop standards for the first two national coal mining spatial data sets – surface coal mining boundaries and underground coal mining boundaries – which will be assembled and periodically updated from existing data sets already in use within each of the various regulatory programs in differing formats.  The task group also began to identify and work on many issues to define the content, scope, geometry, attributes, and other characteristics of these first two national coal mining spatial data sets.

When voluntary standards have been established for these first two coal mining spatial data sets, review and comment will be requested from all interested parties.  As requirements are met for establishing ASTM standards for these two spatial data sets, requirements to establish FGDC standards will also be accomplished.

In FY 07, three additional team meetings are planned for various locations in the U.S to continue work on this task.  Meetings are planned for Costa Mesa, CA on January 30, Newport, VA in June, and Salt Lake City, UT in September.  In future years, development of additional national layers of coal mining spatial data will be considered.  These additional layers may include geologic sampling locations and their chemical attributes, surface- and ground-water sampling locations and their associated water quality attributes, bond release areas, abandoned mined land areas, or other data layers determined by the task group to be of national interest.

Creating a Coal Mining Spatial Data Infrastructure

Following the National Meeting of SMCRA Geospatial Data Stewards, OSM began internal discussions to determine how to develop a coal mining geospatial infrastructure to collect, store, manage, use, and distribute selected coal mining spatial data from among all participating SMCRA organizations.  At the SRA level, two elements are critical to implementation.  First, SMCRA Geospatial Data Stewards must adopt the data standards developed by the Coal Mining Spatial Data Standards ASTM Task Group and apply them to applicable coal mining spatial data used within their respective SMCRA organizations.  Second, the SMCRA Geospatial Data Stewards must use a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle to store their data and also manage it with a spatial data management system such as ESRI’s ArcSDE.

Through read-only access to selected coal mining spatial data in the SMCRA organization’s ArcSDE geodatabase, an automated process from a centralized server within OSM’s Wide Area Network (WAN) will download the selected spatial data, re-project the data from a local coordinate system to a national coordinate system and perform other data adjustments as may be required, and aggregate it with data from other SMCRA organizations into a single national dataset for each selected theme.  By using an automated process, no resource requirements will be imposed by OSM on participating SMCRA organizations to collect, process, or upload “stale” coal mining spatial data to OSM, and resource requirements on OSM will be minimized.  Coal mining spatial data uploaded through the automated process will be the highest quality, most reliable, and latest available data from the authoritative data source, the SMCRA organization

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