USGS identifier

Operational Objectives

This science strategy report defines critical areas where GD scientific activities can have the most positive impact on society. It is the responsibility of all GD staff to reach the seven science goals through completion of the products and strategic actions listed for each. To help in this effort, the GD Policy Council must outline operational measures that can be used to stimulate and evaluate progress. These operational measures include communicating GD information to users, facilitating interdisciplinary and interdivisional work, conducting periodic internal and external reviews of GD programs, and fostering a work environment that encourages and rewards GD staff for contributions toward achieving the science goals.

Objective 1--Greatly enhance the public's ability to locate, access, and use Geologic Division maps and data

The GD best serves the Nation by producing high-quality scientific information relevant to pressing national issues and making this information easily accessible and usable. The GD must devise and regularly update new strategies to ensure timely presentation of scientific information and effective use of this information by decisionmakers. To reach this objective, there is a strong need for coordination at the division level.

With the proliferation of GIS and integrated digital data bases, users of GD products now expect both paper products and digital products. These products must be accessible through a searchable index such as the GD's National Geologic Map Data Base, which allows users to easily locate USGS geological, geochemical, and geophysical maps and spatial data. The GD will ensure that its products, both new and old, are published in digital format, have consistent data standards, and are available through the Federal Government's National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).

Strategic Actions

Ensure that programmatic data-base-management objectives are consistent with GD and USGS objectives and that diverse data systems can be integrated seamlessly.
Achieving integration may require hiring information technology experts as coordinators, working with external consultants, or assuring data-format consistency through the publication-approval process.

Expand the GD's National Geologic Map Data Base.
This data base is a searchable index of all geological, geophysical, geochemical, geochronological, and paleontological spatial data and maps of U.S. areas. This distributed, integrated data base will be developed at the division level, will include all relevant USGS data, and will link to existing State and university data bases. Industrial partners and contractors will be encouraged to contribute. The digital products of the National Geologic Map Data Base will be searchable through the NSDI Clearinghouse, and the digital map data of the data base will be made available by using the principles of the NSDI framework. Out-of-print maps will be digitized (rasterized) and made available through an on-demand printing system.

Move rapidly toward consistent data structures and standards for all GD and USGS products and maps.
By using uniform data models and standards, the USGS eases the process by which the public obtains and integrates earth science information. The GD will lead the effort to define and update the geoscience map standards that will be used by State-, industry- and university-based mapping programs. Once the standards are established, procedures can be developed to link data products.

Explore cooperative agreements for data archiving and distribution.
These agreements can be made with the NMD, other Federal agencies, or the private sector. Maintaining multilayered, integrated data bases is labor intensive and expensive. Yet it is an integral part of the USGS mission, requiring the GD to keep abreast of advancing technologies. By relying on partnerships for data archiving and distribution, the GD can focus on improving and updating the scientific content of its data bases and on interpreting and effectively using GD science.

Extend the function of digital maps.
The GD will link data bases, GIS technologies, and interpretive computer models in integrated, digital, earth science information systems that can be used to support scientifically informed decisions by scientists, policymakers, regulators, the public, and others. A prototype information system is described in Highlight 16.

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Last updated 04.08.98