2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 96-3
Presentation Time: 8:35 AM


STAMM, Nancy R. and SOLLER, David R., U.S. Geological Survey, 926-A National Center, Reston, VA 20192, nstamm@usgs.gov

“I want my data found, and used.” This sentiment is commonly expressed by retired paleontologists, who anticipate that their data and interpretations can be useful for new science and mapping. Because much of this information is contained in their unpublished notes and records, it is critically important to work closely with these scientists to identify the authoritative version of each piece of information, and then to present it on the Web, clearly and in a manner that preserves the author's intent. This can be done by providing scans of the paleontologist's records supported by simple geographic and text searches. We have begun to do this, as a password-protected component of the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB). This paleontologic information has already been used for a variety of purposes, including the National Park Service’s task to identify paleontologic resources in National Parks. Because of the volume of paper source materials, and the fact that digital files are unproven as an archival format, the scans serve as a means to increase accessibility to the source materials, which are intended to be preserved indefinitely.

In recent decades, geologic maps increasingly are published in a Geographic Information System (GIS) format. But as computer technology evolves, and as the scientist’s understanding of how to manage complex spatial information changes over time, the GIS files of published geologic maps increasingly become outdated and difficult or impossible to use in a modern GIS. Examples of complete loss of this “born digital” information are becoming commonplace. In response, the NGMDB is developing the workflows and estimating the financial cost of migrating published GIS files to a standard format (i.e., the NCGMP09 database design). Conversion of map publications to a standard format holds real promise for long-term usability of these files, and offers an efficient means for an institution to manage its data holdings.