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You Had Me at Preservation of Geospatial Information

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The following is a guest post by Erin Engle, Digital Archivist, NDIIPP.

On “The Signal,” we’ve talked about different aspects of digital preservation – like here and here – and we’ve talked about geospatial information and digital mapping. In this post, I’d like to talk about the resource NDIIPP is helping to develop (and the project I’m managing), the Geospatial Data Preservation Resource Center.  This knowledge hub combines the best of both worlds: digital preservation and geospatial information.


The Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia’s Earth Institute at Columbia University is developing a beta version of the resource center. The team at CIESIN has worked extremely hard designing a website that supports the discovery of resources about the preservation of geospatial information. These assets include websites, best practices reports, research papers, education and training tools, conference presentations and community blogs. The site officially launched in May 2011, and we’ve been busy reaching out and talking to individuals and communities about it.

Bob Downs, a senior archivist at CIESIN, presenting on at IASSIST 2011
Bob Downs, a senior archivist at CIESIN, presenting on at IASSIST 2011 will be the “go to” resource for geospatial data managers, librarians, archivists and anyone else concerned with the management of geospatial information, like digital maps, satellite imagery or GIS databases. The site’s FAQ page does a nice job explaining why preserving geospatial data is important and valuable for all organizations.

This is the only website that aims to provide comprehensive coverage for geospatial data preservation.  Think of as a tour guide to help you decide you what you need and then gives you a map (sorry—I couldn’t resist!) to get there.

While you’re visiting the site, check out the “Quick Links For” box on the homepage for a look at the resources available for special kinds of users, including data managers, software developers and policy makers.

For a more detailed look, browse the resources by type or topic.  The results are automatically sorted by resource. Contextual information about the resources are available to help users decide if the information is relevant to their needs. The site then takes the user directly to the resource.

The CIESIN team is working on enhancements to allow individuals to recommend additional content and to suggest questions and answers for the FAQ page.   We know the community of geospatial data producers and users is continuing to grow and this resource will evolve to meet their needs.  So, check out the site and let us know what you think about it.  We welcome suggestions for new features and content!

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