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The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Library Discusses Strategy for Preserving Geospatial Data

November 20, 2009 -- Historians, government officials and data stewards convened for a meeting at the Library of Congress earlier this month to discuss framing a National Preservation and Access Strategy for Geospatial Data. 

The Library's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program is drawing upon a different perspectives to develop the strategy.  A key objective is to help stakeholders collaborate in managing geospatial data, which identifies, depicts or describes geographic locations, boundaries or characteristics of Earth's inhabitants or natural or human-constructed features.

The meeting enabled fruitful information sharing about data stewardship and use.  NDIIPP also obtained valuable input about the types of digital geospatial data that are priorities for preservation, current institutional stewardship models and recommendations for moving forward. Presentations and other documents from the meeting are available.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Photo Credit: User belvoirphotos on Flickr

While there was forthright discussion about the many challenges associated with managing geospatial data, the participants shared a common passion for long-term accessibility and use. "Our nation—and the world—has a critical need for information that helps us cope with climate change and build resilient communities," said one speaker. "We simply must have geospatial data that allows us to detect change over time."

Another speaker observed that research in many different fields now has a geospatial dimension. "Data about spatial change is needed to do research about human health, agriculture, water use, economics, and almost anything else you can imagine.  And the need is growing."

The Library is studying ideas and recommendations from the meeting and will determine what steps to take next. Further information will be posted on as it becomes available.

NDIIPP is undertaking this activity as part of its work to catalyze development of a national network of preservation partners.  The meeting followed earlier sessions that studied public policy on the web and digital news.