USGS Data Management

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U.S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram Plan Acquire Process Analyze Preserve Publish/Share Manage Quality Describe (Metadata, Documentation) Backup & Secure The USGS Science Data Lifecycle

Data Management: Acquisition

Acquisition involves collecting or adding to the data holdings.


There are four methods of acquiring data: collecting new data; converting/transforming legacy data; sharing/exchanging data; and purchasing data. This includes automated collection (e.g., of sensor-derived data), the manual recording of empirical observations, and obtaining existing data from other sources. Learn more about data acquisition methods.

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Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

An MOU, via the USGS Agreements Coordination Information System (ACIS), is required for data acquisition/sharing with other government agencies. Sample and existing MOUs are accessible via ACIS. Learn more about Memorandum of Understanding.

Security Requirements

DOI published a Memorandum from the Department Chief Information Officer from the Office of the Secretary on August 18, 2004. This memorandum addressed what needs to happen to protect our data from harm when in the hands of contractors. Learn more about security requirements.

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Data Sharing Agreements

Data Sharing Agreements are similar to MOUs, but are instead signed with non-Government agencies. Data Sharing Agreements need to include provisions concerning access and dissemination. It is not wise to enter into a data sharing agreement where privacy information may be disclosed since non-Federal organizations are not subject to the Privacy Act. Similarly, the non-Federal organization needs to be alerted that the Federal agencies may be compelled to release information under the FOIA. Learn more about data sharing agreements.