WRD Guidance for Applying the Undue Burden Waiver for Dynamically 
Generated Geospatial Database and Web Mapping Applications Web Pages 

This e-mail is being sent to all Water Resources personnel identified as 
being involved in the oversight, or creation of, Web-based products which 
result in a map, a dynamically generated time-series graph, or other 
graphic display.  Please forward this information to others as you see fit. 

In Reply Refer To: 
Office of Information 
Mail Stop 440 
Sunset Date:  May 2002 

May 31, 2002

Subject:  WRD Guidance for Applying the Undue Burden Waiver for Dynamically 
Generated Geospatial Database and Web Mapping Applications Web Pages 

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, became effective June 
21, 2001.  The goal of this amendment is to eliminate barriers that people 
with disabilities encounter when using electronic and information 
technology by creating technical standards and procurement regulations 
that will allow comparable access for everyone.  Section 508 requires that 
all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, 
and used by any Federal agency be accessible to everyone seeking 
information, unless there is an undue burden in doing that.  If an undue 
burden has been determined, it is still the responsibility of the bureau 
to provide alternative access to the information. "Electronic and 
information technology" encompasses Web pages, products, and 
application-based services. 

Certain types of online applications (for example, time-series graphs and 
Web mapping services that display dynamically generated Web maps by using 
ArcIMS, ArcView IMS, MapObjects, MapInfo, and Blue Marble) cannot be made 
fully accessible with currently available technologies.  In these cases, 
an undue burden form must be signed and a statement regarding alternative 
access must be placed on the Web page.  In such cases, information and 
services provided through such mechanisms must still be made available via 
alternative, accessible mechanisms.  These mechanisms may include 
different delivery procedures or formats, or provision of direct customer 

Please ensure that the following Web development guidelines have been 
followed and that the site has been appropriately reviewed through the 
District approval process before claiming the undue burden: 


There is also a document checklist available: 

When it is appropriate to claim an undue burden, Web pages that cannot be 
made accessible due to the technology used, should: 

1.        Reference and link to the undue burden waiver, that is signed by 
the Associate Director, Water, and posted online at         


2.        Add the following statement: "If you cannot fully access the 
information on this page, please contact [insert e-mail address or alias 
of content provider or person who can most appropriately provide the 
information in an alternative format]." 

3.        Send an e-mail describing the Web page that necessitates the 
undue burden to the USGS Section 508 Coordinator, Amy Berger, 
aberger@usgs.gov, and the ArcIMS contact, Jacque Coles, jdcoles@usgs.gov. 

For more information contact, Lorna Schmid, h2oteam@usgs.gov, 

                        Stephen F. Blanchard 
                        Acting Chief, Office of Information 


Distribution:   GS-W A 
                GS-W B 
                GS-W DC 
                GS-W Webmasters 
                GS-W ArcIMS 

Steve Blanchard                 Acting Chief,  Office of Information        
U.S. Geological Survey          Phone: 703-648-5629
440 National Center             Fax:   703-648-5644
Reston, VA  20192               Cell:  571-216-1423