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Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > NDIIPP at 2008 NSGIC Conference

September 24, 2008 -- When members of the National States Geographic Information Council (external link) gather, the discussion usually centers on the latest digital mapping data and how more of it can be produced in the future. At the NSGIC 2008 Annual Conference, held September 7-11, 2008 in Keystone, Colorado, the conversation also focused on the importance of preserving historic digital geospatial data.

Representatives from the Library of Congress-supported Geospatial Multistate Archive and Preservation Project (GeoMAPP) introduced their work to the NSGIC members in a plenary session by inviting them to consider the importance of their historic data, and to start them thinking about how they might preserve it in the future. The panel presentation from Library of Congress staff and GeoMAPP partner members generated a lively discussion, helping to identify future outreach opportunities in the community.

GeoMAPP is exploring ways to expand the capabilities of state governments to provide long-term access to geospatial data. The project is working closely with geospatial and archival staff in Kentucky, North Carolina and Utah to identify, preserve, and make available data with ongoing research or other value.

The ability to preserve and make available historical data has been complicated to this point by the geospatial industry’s "temporal impairment." Software support for historical geospatial analysis has been a lesser priority, and geospatial industry workflows frequently involve the overwriting of older data. These approaches are beginning to change, as project participants noted that users are starting to expect older data to exist in digital form, and software developers are beginning to recognize this business need.

In addition to raising awareness of the business drivers that support the preservation and enhanced access to historic geospatial data, GeoMAPP will address a number of research topics, including geospatial packaging, file formats and data conversions; archival ingest and validation processes; and geospatial metadata.

A key project outcome will be the testing of a geographically dispersed content-exchange network for the replication of state and local geospatial data among several states to promote preservation and access.