Geospatial Data Stewardship

Geospatial Data Stewardship: Key Online Resources

All links current as of 6/27/2022

This list of geospatial data stewardship resources is a companion to the NDSA report published in February of 2014 and will be updated on a regular basis to provide the most current information available.

This document lists online resources that highlight key concepts and practices supporting the preservation and stewardship of digital geospatial data and information. GIS practitioners take the initial preservation actions in the decisions they make regarding data creation and management. Librarians, archivists and museum professionals are often called on to support access and the long-term historical and temporal analysis of these same materials. The resources below offer a starting point to methods, tools and approaches across the information lifecycle to assist in understanding current best practices in the stewardship of geospatial data.

A comprehensive list of resources can be found at Geospatial Data Preservation, a site hosted and maintained by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University:

Introductions to Geospatial Data Stewardship

Resources that provide a high-level understanding of the issues involved in geospatial data stewardship.

Geospatial Stewardship Business Planning

Resources on the business and legal issues that must be addressed to secure sustainable support for geospatial stewardship activities.

Geospatial Data Appraisal and selection

Resources that address the processes of appraisal and selection as they apply to geospatial data with long-term value. Appraisal is often associated with government archival and records management processes and concerns the identification of records or other information to determine the merits of long-term or permanent retention. Selection is typically associated with libraries and addresses the identification of materials for preservation because of their continuing value.

Geospatial Data Description

Resources that address the issues around efforts to describe geospatial data, especially as the description (metadata) deals with the need to document in order to support long-term preservation and use.

Geospatial Data Management, Transfer and Storage

Resources that address the issues around the management of digital geospatial data, including the challenges of managing, storing and transferring digital geospatial data.

Further Information

  • Geospatial Multistate Archive and Preservation Partnership (GeoMAPP): A multi-year project supported by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress that explored ways to expand the capabilities of state governments to provide long-term access to geospatial data.
  • The National Geospatial Digital Archive (NGDA): A multi-year project supported by NDIIPP at the Library of Congress that explored the development of a collecting network for archival geospatial information. Project website
  • North Carolina Geospatial Data Archiving Project (NCGDAP): A multi-year project supported by NDIIPP at the Library of Congress that focused on the collection and preservation of digital geospatial data resources from state and local government agencies in North Carolina.
  • NDSA Geospatial Content Work Group: Part of the NDSA Content Working Group interested in exploring challenges and solutions to the long-term preservation, stewardship and accessibility of digital mapping information. (Currently inactive. If interested in starting the group up again, contact a co-chair of the Content Interest Group.)
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Users/Historical Data Working Group: The U/HDWG promotes and coordinate activities among Federal agencies who are primarily users of, not generators of, geospatial data.