National Geoscience Data Repository System: Phase 2, Planning and pilot study. Progress report, February--April 1995 Page: 3 of 6
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
The American Geological Institute (AGI) recently completed the first phase of a multiphase
program to study and implement a National Geoscience Data Repository System (NGDRS) to
capture and preserve valuable geoscientific data. The study was initiated in response to the fact
that tens of billions of dollars worth of domestic geological and geophysical data are in jeopardy
of being irrevocably lost or destroyed as a consequence of the ongoing downsizing of the U.S.
energy and minerals industry.
The NGDRS would serve as an important and valuable source of information for the entire
geoscience community for a variety of applications, including environmental protection, water
resource management, global change studies, reducing risks from earthquakes and other geologic
hazards, and basic and applied research. The repository system would also contain critical data
that would enable domestic energy and minerals companies to expand their exploration and
production programs in the United States for increased recovery of domestic oil, gas, and
Phase I: Feasibility and Assessment Study
The first phase of the project was designed to assess the feasibility of establishing the NGDRS.
It focused on two major issues. First, it documented the types and quantity of data available for
contribution to the NGDRS. Second, it documented the data needs and priorities of potential
users of the system. There would be no point in proceeding with the project without large
contributions of data that would be of great interest to the potential user community.
The results of AGI's National Geoscience Data Repository System Study (1994) were extremely
positive. Major oil companies, large independent petroleum producers, and minerals companies
have indicated they would consider contributing vast amounts of data to a NGDRS. Many state
geological surveys, federal agencies, and a number of existing public repositories indicated they
would include their data in the NGDRS.
The total amount of seismic data identified in the Phase I study is conservatively estimated to
represent more than 15 million line miles, which constitute a substantial fraction (perhaps 25
percent) of all seismic data collected in the United States since 1950. Likewise, the rock core
and cuttings identified in the Phase I study are estimated to represent a significant fraction
(perhaps 10 percent) of the core and cuttings held by the major oil and gas companies.
Companies participating in the study have indicated that they would substantially increase their
data contributions after the NGDRS was established.
Proposed industry contributions represent billions of dollars worth of geological and geophysical
data that were collected at no expense to the federal government. In some cases, the data are
unique and cannot be replaced because of urban development and new restrictions that place
certain areas off limits to resource exploration and development activities. It is proposed that all
material placed in the NGDRS would enter the public domain and become available to all users.
AGI Data Repository Study
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National Geoscience Data Repository System: Phase 2, Planning and pilot study. Progress report, February--April 1995, report, May 1, 1995; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc793309/m1/3/: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.