USGS Data Management

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Publish/Share > Data Catalogs & Portals
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
U.S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram

Data Catalogs & Portals

Data Catalogs and Portals are places where one can search for data. While Repositories physically hold datasets, Data Catalogs and Portals use metadata to provide searchable directories for data. Submitting your metadata to Data Portals and Catalogs makes them more visible and more likely to be used by others.

USGS Catalogs & Portals

The USGS provides a number of searchable online data catalogs for specific types of datasets. This listing provides some example USGS data catalogs and portals and is by no means all-inclusive or complete.

USGS Science Data Catalog

ScienceBase Catalog Web site

USGS unveils the Science Data Catalog, a tool for discovery of public USGS Datasets through text-based search; keyword, mission area, data source, and scientist faceting; and GIS-based search mechanisms.

An associated provider dashboard allows USGS programs to select and provide metadata records describing their online datasets to the Catalog in response to federal Open Data requirements.


ScienceBase Catalog Web site
  • The USGS is committed to enhancing and expanding information sharing and sound data management practices by developing ScienceBase, a collaborative scientific data and information management platform used directly by science teams.
  • ScienceBase provides access to aggregated information derived from many data and information domains, including feeds from existing data systems, metadata catalogs, and scientists contributing new and original content.
  • ScienceBase architecture is designed to help science teams and data practitioners create a foundation of all the information needed for their work.
  • ScienceBase, both original software and engineered components, is released as an open source project to promote involvement from the larger scientific programming community both inside and outside the USGS.
  • Data and metadata are served from ScienceBase through standards-compliant Web services to enable other applications and Web sites to use information resources cataloged in ScienceBase.
  • ScienceBase Communities, representing scientific projects and efforts, segregate and manage information items in exclusive community spaces. Communities may use unique designs, layouts, and other features to represent their projects. Customization provides a unique appearance to separate projects, while information generation and display is powered by ScienceBase Catalog and other applications.
  • ScienceBase is one appropriate mechanism for releasing data in USGS. See Publish/Share > Data Release.


BioData Web site

The USGS BioData System is a Web-enabled database that for the first time provides for the capture, curation, integration, and delivery of bioassessment data collected by local, regional, and national USGS projects.

BioData offers field biologists advanced capabilities for entering, editing, and reviewing the macroinvertebrate, algae, fish, and supporting habitat data from rivers and streams. It offers data archival and curation capabilities that protect and maintain data for the long term.

BioData provides the Federal, State, and local governments, as well as the scientific community, resource managers, the private sector, and the public with easy access to tens of thousands of samples collected nationwide from thousands of stream and river sites. BioData also provides the USGS with centralized data storage for delivering data to other systems and applications through automated Web services.

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System (CMGDS)

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System Web site

The Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System (CMGDS) provides data services for published U.S. Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) data. Access to CMGP data is provided via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards services; serving CMGP data to GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean 2-D and 3-D earth browsing tools, for data integration, visualization and analysis; and metadata catalogs for data discovery. It is important to note that this site is a 'work in progress'. Currently, the bulk of our content is geophysical data. In time, we will expand our holdings to include other data types.

The CMGDS can be used in two different ways: data discovery and data access. The data access is provided by direct data download and a variety of web services that provide direct data access. Data discovery can be done locally by a single user or the site can be harvested by other metadata collections. The CMGDS can also be accessed by software that is capable of using our information for metadata search or GIS display.

Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON)

Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) Web site

The USGS Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries Program (CSAS&L) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is developing Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), an integrated and permanent resource for biological occurrence data from the United States.

BISON will leverage USGS assets such as the full mirror and US Node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), as well as the accumulated human and infrastructure resources of the Survey's long-term investment in research and data management and delivery in biological and geospatial data.

The BISON prototype currently contains nearly 80 million records and already implements a variety of advanced functions not currently available elsewhere.

Researchers collect species occurrence data, records of an organism at a particular time in a particular place, as either a primary or ancillary function of many biological field investigations. Presently, these data reside in numerous distributed systems and formats (including publications) and are consequently not being used to their potential.

Geo Data Portal (GDP) Public User Interface

U.S. Geological Survey Geo Data Portal Web site

USGS Geo Data Portal

  • A research and development project to find a spatial data infrastructure to support integration of Geographic and Atmospheric Science data.
  • A reusable architecture for Web-based access to and processing of decentralized standards-based environmental science data.

The USGS GDP project provides scientists and environmental resource managers access to downscaled climate projections and other data resources that are otherwise difficult to access and manipulate. This user interface demonstrates an example implementation of the GDP project Web-service software and standards-based data integration strategy.

Ocean Biogeographic Information System USA (OBIS-USA)

Ocean Biogeographic Information System USA Web site

OBIS-USA, a program of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries (CSAS&L), is the US national node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). Meant to serve research and natural resource management needs, OBIS-USA brings together marine biological occurrence data in a standard format, with metadata, Web-based discovery and download, and Web service access for users and applications.

Data sources are US government (including Federal, State and local) agencies, academic, and non-governmental organizations. The data represent species name, location and date, plus additional detail as available. OBIS-USA partners with several federal agencies to play a role in the full life cycle of marine data, from origination, through discovery, dissemination and applications, to archiving at National Ocean Data Center.

OBIS-USA goes beyond the limits traditionally encountered in biodiversity data. It configures the data and Web services to enable integration with other data types, such as physical oceanography, water chemistry, climate, and other types. It can integrate application-critical details such as absence, abundance, effort, method, and tracking. Over time, OBIS-USA aims to further identify and innovate yet more categories of important biological observations and details.

South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)

South Florida Information Access Web site

The USGS South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) Web site was established in 1994 to provide interdisciplinary access in support of research, decisionmaking, and resource management for the South Florida ecosystem restoration effort.

SOFIA focuses on the projects and products of the South Florida PES Initiative, as well as related projects and products from other information providers, including Federal, state and local agencies; universities; and non-governmental organizations.

SOFIA personnel include a cross-bureau team of scientists, information managers, and informatics specialists working in close collaboration with partner and client agencies outside the USGS.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Database

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Web site

The GLRI database is meant to provide easy access to USGS Great Lakes data and report findings of data collection and research activities funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Initial work has focused on metadata cataloging, data access, and manipulation tools. Going forward, the metadata catalog will be populated with general USGS data, project summaries, project input, and project output metadata and where applicable, individual project pages or applications will be created.

National Water Information System (NWIS)

National Water Information System Web site

USGS NWIS supports the acquisition, processing, storage, and dissemination of information about water quantity and quality collected at over 1.5 million sites including all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. As a long-term database and information delivery system, NWIS provides continual access to data collected over the last 100+ years, as well as real-time data on surface water, groundwater, water quality, water quantity, and more.

The Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership (PNAMP)

PNAMP Web site

PNAMP is a forum to facilitate collaboration around aquatic monitoring topics of interest, promote best practices for monitoring, and encourage coordination and integration of monitoring activities as appropriate. PNAMP partners conduct aquatic monitoring within the watersheds, estuaries, and coastal zones of the Pacific Northwest. The need to design monitoring that informs multiple objectives and the effectiveness of management actions are key interests of PNAMP partners.

PNAMPís new tool, Monitoring Resources provides a network of information and tools to support many facets of ecological and biological monitoring. This suite of integrated web tools are free, and help users plan, document and implement effective, efficient, monitoring projects and support coordination and integration of monitoring, data management and data sharing. Examples of tools include the Monitoring Explorer which allow users to find monitoring sites and data.

Other Catalogs & Portals

There are many additional portals for USGS data, including This listing provides information about some example non-USGS data catalogs and portals, and is by no means all-inclusive or complete. website

" is the home of the U.S. Government's open data.

You can find Federal, state and local data, tools, and resources to conduct research, build apps, design data visualizations, and more." (From is the signature initiative of the broader Open Data effort, designed to more effectively share U.S. governmental data. Agencies, including USGS, are making concerted efforts to effectively describe and share their data resources, and integrate them across agency boundaries. A range of communities available in provide thematic and focused views of select topics.

Publishing USGS Data to

USGS publishing to, and official tracking of Open Data via the Open Data Initiative, both occur via the USGS Science Data Catalog (SDC). The SDC provides access to high quality, approved USGS resources.

USGS Points of Contact liaise with and the broader Open Data initiative, including coordinating QA/QC of USGS resources in response to and community requests, facilitating entry of USGS resources from the SDC into, and fulfiling Open Data reporting requirements for the bureau.

USGS PoCs include:

Nancy Sternberg (primary),
Ray Obuch (alternate),
Ben Wheeler (alternate),

Please cc all PoCs with any requests or questions as to how to prepare or publish USGS data to

DataONE: ONEMercury

DataONE Contribute Data webpage

ONEMercury is a DataONE search tool for scientific data. The primary way for users to find data in DataONE is through the ONEMercury Web-based search interface. DataONE has developed additional search tools, data management planning tools, and related capabilities, all listed on the Investigator Toolkit page. In addition, DataONE hosts an application programming interface (API) to access DataONE resources, which is described in the DataONE Developer Resources.