National Archive of Marine Seismic Surveys (NAMSS): A USGS-Boem Partnership to Provide Free and Easy Access to Previously Proprietary Seismic Reflection Data on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Peter J Triezenberg, Patrick E Hart and Jonathan R Childs, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, United States
The National Archive of Marine Seismic Surveys (NAMSS) was established by the USGS in 2004 in an effort to rescue marine seismic reflection profile data acquired largely by the oil exploration industry throughout the US outer continental shelf (OCS). It features a Web interface for easy on-line geographic search and download. The commercial value of these data had decreased significantly because of drilling moratoria and newer acquisition technology, and large quantities were at risk of disposal. But, the data still had tremendous value for scientific research and education purposes, and an effort was undertaken to ensure that the data were preserved and publicly available.

More recently, the USGS and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) have developed a partnership to make similarly available a much larger quantity of 2D and 3D seismic data acquired by the U.S. government for assessment of resources in the OCS. Under Federal regulation, BOEM is required to publicly release all processed geophysical data, including seismic profiles, acquired under an exploration permit, purchased and retained by BOEM, no sooner than 25 years after issuance of the permit. Data acquired prior to 1989 are now eligible for release. Currently these data are distributed on CD or DVD, but data discovery can be tedious. Inclusion of these data within NAMSS vastly increases the amount of seismic data available for research purposes.

A new NAMSS geographical interface provides easy and intuitive access to the data library. The interface utilizes OpenLayers, Mapnik, and the Django web framework. In addition, metadata capabilities have been greatly increased using a PostgresSQL/PostGIS database incorporating a community-developed ISO-compliant XML template. The NAMSS database currently contains 452 2D seismic surveys comprising 1,645,956 line km and nine 3D seismic surveys covering 9,385 square km. The 2D data holdings consist of stack, migrated and depth sections, most in SEG-Y format.