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RFI on Geospatial Imagery Delivery Services

Solicitation Number: USDA-APFO-RFI-0001
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Farm Service Agency
Location: Aerial Photography Field Office
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Sources Sought
Added: Mar 22, 2012 9:19 am
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is investigating the use of a commercially available web service to provide a GIS base layer to support FSA's compliance and other program needs. The objective of this RFI is to investigate whether commercial capability presently exists that can supply current ortho imagery via a web service for a 2012 FSA pilot project.

This RFI is being issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute an Invitation for Bids (IFB), a Request for Proposals (RFP), a Request for Quotations (RFQ) or an indication that the Government will contract for any of the items and/or services contained in this notice. In accordance with FAR 52.215-3, Request for Information or Solicitation for Planning Purposes, the Government will not pay for any information/items submitted in response to the RFI. No determination as to the viability of this requirement has been made at this point and there is currently no solicitation for this effort. Any solicitation resulting from this RFI will be announced separately.

FSA state and county offices require current imagery to maintain agriculture field boundaries to support many different farm related programs. For many years, FSA used large 24"x24" black & white hard copy photo maps with hand drawn boundary lines. This transitioned to the use of digital ortho imagery with the introduction of geographic information system (GIS) applications in the mid 1990's. Currently, FSA contracts for new imagery that is acquired on a three-year cycle under the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) which is managed and distributed by the Aerial Photography Field Office (APFO).

FSA, as part of its information technology (IT) modernization program, has moved from local storage of geospatial data at the county offices to a thin client based model. In this model, APFO builds web services, which are used daily by the 2000+ FSA state and county offices to maintain centralized vector databases and manage farm programs. Presently FSA maintains the hardware and software infrastructure needed to support web services and is investigating the feasibility of a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) web service data solutions (defined as image collection, data hosting, services provisioning, and related services).

The objective of a 2012 pilot project is to address the benefits and issues of moving the web services to a commercial product line in support of FSA's 2012-2016 Strategic Plan Goal 4, migrate to and leverage integrated web based solutions, and the White House's Federal Cloud Computing Strategy (dated Feb 8, 2011). The information collected under this RFI will support a decision on whether a pilot project could be implemented. The goal of the 2012 pilot project, if executed, is to seek metrics regarding return on investment (ROI) and usability versus current imagery acquisition and distribution avenues.

For purposes of the RFI, FSA would like a COTS web service that can provide current (acquired in 2012), leaf-on, one meter ortho imagery for any one of the eleven 2012 NAIP Priority 1 states. These states (California, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas (preferred), Virginia, and Wyoming) have been chosen to allow FSA to make a direct comparison of the pilot services against the 2012 NAIP collection. FSA would desire an Esri(R) ArcGIS(TM) 10.x and/or OGC compliant web service, in GCS WGS84 projection. The web service should contain both a natural color and false color IR service. If an RFP is released for the referenced web service, the offerors will be responsible for all imagery, whether acquired directly for the contract or licensed from a third-party, and hardware/software infrastructure required to support contractual specifications. Please respond to the following questions:

Web Service Questions:
1. How would you propose delivering such a service?
2. Please describe the Service Level Agreement (SLA) provided with the service (including the uptime). What kind of customer support would be provided with this service?
3. Please describe the security and how you control access to the service.
4. Would there be any image analysis, feature extraction, remote sensing, or change detection tools available in the service? Please explain.
5. Please describe the infrastructure and software used to build the service and the timelines required to implement the service.
6. What type of usage monitoring and metrics would be available to the Government? (i.e. resource metering, quota management, service level monitoring, workload management)
7. What kind of metadata would be provided regarding the service?
8. Describe what Federal or industry guidelines and standards (i.e. FISMA or OGC) the service(s) comply with.

Imagery Source Questions:
9. What state(s) do you currently have imagery for or are planning on having?
10. What is the source, resolution, and spatial accuracy of the imagery data?
11. What is the age of the imagery and what is the frequency in which the imagery will be updated?
12. Please describe radiometric corrections applied to the imagery.
13. What is the tiling structure of the data?
14. What kind of metadata comes with the imagery data?

Data Licensing Questions:
15. Please explain how the data within the service would be licensed.
16. Please explain how the service itself would be licensed.

Contractual/Pricing Questions:
17. What is the estimated price, assuming an FSA agency only license, for a one year web service? What is the estimated price for a USDA department level wide license buy-up? If the price is based on data volume to customer, please provide price structure.
18. What is the estimated price to extend the service availability length with two additional option years?
19. Is there a sunset clause in which the data will be placed in public domain after "x" number of years (i.e., after the option years)? If not, would it be possible for the Government to purchase the data rights to release in public domain?

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 4:30 P.M. (Mountain Time) on April 18, 2012. Please submit responses electronically to

The following instructions establish the acceptable minimum requirements for the format and content of the responses:
- Please address all questions and requirements and include feedback on all related topics, including application implementation costs, licensing costs, schedules, and risks. In addition, please feel free to provide other recommendations or suggestions on related subjects or issues.
- The electronic copy of your responses must be in an Adobe Systems(R) PDF (Portable Document Format) format and readable by the Adobe Acrobat Reader(TM).
- The first page of the submission must state the RFI title and provide the name, e-mail address, and telephone number for the individual that can be contacted for clarification or questions regarding this submission.
- To aid in Government review, the total pages for the entire submission are limited to not more than 10 pages and file size shall not exceed 2 MB.
- Any proprietary data that is included in the response must be marked appropriately at the paragraph level (page level is acceptable for full page table, graphs, etc). Any response marked proprietary at the document level will not be considered.

Clarifications or questions regarding this RFI must be submitted in writing to All clarifications or questions must reference this RFI.

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