Land Management Systems:

Extensive Cost Increases and Delays in BLM's Major Data Base Project

IMTEC-91-55: Published: Aug 5, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) progress in achieving the Geographic Coordinate Database (GCDB) project's goals to create a database for the Automated Land and Mineral Record System (ALMRS), which includes the coordinates of legal boundaries, lease sites, and other tracts, and the survey characteristics of public lands.

GAO found that: (1) BLM underestimated the complexities and management demands of collecting data on 36,000 land parcels and developing GCDB; (2) GCDB cost estimates grew from an initial $19 million in 1985 to $35 million in 1990, and are likely to increase by $12 million if per-parcel costs continue at their current level; (3) the project completion date has slipped 3 years and will not be completed by 1995 when ALMRS is scheduled for full implementation; (4) managers were inadequately informed of project status and problems and made decisions that increased project risks and costs; (5) contractors did not meet production goals because obtaining data from old and voluminous land survey records was more difficult than anticipated; and (6) BLM expanded data collection contracts to additional states without first assessing the progress of contract work at existing sites.

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