National Geothermal Data System: Open Access to Geoscience Data, Maps, and Documents

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Christy Marie Caudill, Stephen M Richard, Leah Musil, Adrian Sonnenschein and Jessica Good, Arizona Geological Survey, Tucson, AZ, United States
The U.S. National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) provides free open access to millions of geoscience data records, publications, maps, and reports via distributed web services to propel geothermal research, development, and production. NGDS is built on the US Geoscience Information Network (USGIN) data integration framework, which is a joint undertaking of the USGS and the Association of American State Geologists (AASG), and is compliant with international standards and protocols. NGDS currently serves geoscience information from 60+ data providers in all 50 states. Free and open source software is used in this federated system where data owners maintain control of their data. This interactive online system makes geoscience data easily discoverable, accessible, and interoperable at no cost to users.

The dynamic project site serves as the information source and gateway to the system, allowing data and applications discovery and availability of the system’s data feed. It also provides access to NGDS specifications and the free and open source code base (on GitHub), a map-centric and library style search interface, other software applications utilizing NGDS services, NGDS tutorials (via YouTube and USGIN site), and user-created tools and scripts. The user-friendly map-centric web-based application has been created to support finding, visualizing, mapping, and acquisition of data based on topic, location, time, provider, or key words. Geographic datasets visualized through the map interface also allow users to inspect the details of individual GIS data points (e.g. wells, geologic units, etc.). In addition, the interface provides the information necessary for users to access the GIS data from third party software applications such as GoogleEarth, UDig, and ArcGIS.

A redistributable, free and open source software package called GINstack (USGIN software stack) was also created to give data providers a simple way to release data using interoperable and shareable standards, upload data and documents, and expose those data as a node in the NGDS or any larger data system through a CSW endpoint. The easy-to-use interface is supported by back-end software including Postgres, GeoServer, and custom CKAN extensions among others.