are essential for SDI implementation and for the long-term sustainability of an SDI.


The USGS has the unique role and responsibility of acquiring, preserving, and archiving geospatial data on a national scale. As envisioned, an optimal SDI at the USGS would need to include data acquisition, data standards, modern data management services, and a set of key application services essential for supporting USGS in addressing scientific questions and questions of societal impact. The SDI would also need to consider the importance of data sharing and data discovery and would need flexible methods of preserving geospatial data across extended time frames and through numerous changes and updates because the ability to document and analyze temporal changes on a national scale is of immense scientific and societal value. Thus, data acquisition, data discovery, data sharing, and data archiving form the core vision for an effective USGS SDI. The committee believes that the effort to implement an SDI can be best framed by the phrase “discover and share for the long term” and hopes that this phrase can become the mantra for spatial data handling throughout the USGS.

First, data discovery is an important task of the USGS, and it will need to ensure the discoverability of prime datasets that were acquired in each division. Once prime datasets have been identified and indexed, there is a need to make them searchable and accessible in a corporate data management system. That will require the development of new institutional policies and series of standards on metadata and data discovery and will require compliance with new policies and standards.

Second, data sharing is a critical task that requires data to be structurally and semantically interoperable so that they can be shared and integrated with other datasets in the USGS, across the nation, and with international partners. As a multidisciplinary organization, the USGS will need to be able to readily combine and synthesize data from various disciplines to contribute to its cross-domain missions. The USGS is also a major international player and will need to collaborate with international partners to address data standardization and to comply with international protocols.

Third, the USGS has the responsibility for maintaining data for the long term. The third fundamental component of a USGS SDI is an effective institutional strategy for data archiving.

Carrying out the vision for an SDI at the USGS requires synergistic partnerships with agencies and organizations that have already contributed substantially to the SDI. A judicious selection of partners will enable the USGS to leverage

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