Preserving Geospatial Data

Caitlin Dempsey


Digital Preservation Coalition has released a new publication in its series of Technology Watch Reports:

Preserving Geospatial Data by Guy McGarva of the University of Edinburgh, with contributions from Steve Morris (NCSU) and Greg Janée (UCSB).

‘Increasingly large amounts of geospatial data are being created and collected.’ Explained Guy McGarva, principal author.  ‘Much of this data has long term value but its preservation is a complex problem caused not least by the variety of formats. It is very important that people understand the approaches and actions that need to be considered when preserving geospatial data with the aim of ensuring future access.’

The report is designed for repository managers and archivists who may be expected to preserve and manage geospatial data but don’t have a background in geospatial sciences. The report provides an advanced introduction to the often daunting world of geospatial data management and it supports efforts to ensure that these valuable and complex data sets can be secured for future generations.

Key recommendations of the report pertain to formats, metadata and the systems used to manage geospatial data.  They also underline the need for careful rights management when preserving commercially sensitive third party data.

This report is the seventh in the series – previous reports have included hot topics such as the preservation of PDF files, the Jpeg 2000 standard, Preservation metadata, large scale storage, institutional repositories and the Open Archival Information System. Future reports
Including File Format Selection and Web Archiving are in development.

Commenting on this latest addition, William Kilbride – Executive Director of the DPC  – said, ‘Geo-spatial technologies are set to become one of transformative technologies of the next decade.  The growing prevalence of location-aware services already points to this. But time and space go together.  This report sets a premium on long term access to spatial data, and it provides practical recommendations as to how to secure that long-term.’

‘The Geodata Team within Edina have a well deserved reputation for supporting researchers and teachers.’  He added.  ‘Services like Digimap have set a benchmark for access to complex spatial data.  It is really pleasing to see that experience and expertise also looks to the long term.’

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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