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Jun 14, 2008

USGS Signs Agreement for Public Access to Geospatial Data

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have reached an agreement to ensure the preservation and access to the USGS's earth imagery and geospatial data resources. Under the agreement NARA will be the legal custodian of the data while the USGS will exercise day-to-day control according to preservation and access standards of NARA. The records will remain at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The EROS Center will become an affiliated archive within the National Archives system.

Dr. Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States explained that the main goal was preserving public access, "This agreement between NARA and USGS is a guarantee that our Nation's collections of aerial and satellite images of the world's land areas will be permanently maintained, preserved, and accessible to the public. These records are crucial to scientists and policy makers around the world in understanding how man and society affect the natural landscape." he said.

According to Dr. Mark Myers, Director of the USGS, the EROS archive of geospatial data is the largest civilian archive of such data in the United States. It occupies over 40,000 square feet and totals nearly three petabytes (3000 terabytes) of electronic data and millions of film frames.

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