Beyond Open Data

What is Open Data?

Data is considered open when "anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it - subject only to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike," according to

In addition to facilitating interoperability, USGIN specifications ensure that USGIN data remains open. Any data shared according to these specifications can be hosted and accessed by free-and-open-source software; likewise, USGIN specifications conform to international standards set by the Open Geospatial Consortium.

Interoperability Enriches Data

Naturally, you wish to share your data with the largest possible audience. How do you make sure your data can be easily used and integrated with other data in new contexts? The answer is interoperability.

USGIN interoperable data is based on simple, well documented interchange formats and standardized data exchange protocols so users can view and analyze interoperable data through the program of their choice. USGIN accepts three tiers of data quality. Tier 1 type data is unstructured data can be viewed and often must be downloaded. Tier 2 can be analyzed in some programs but is not standardized, and conversion may take time and effort. Tier 3 data, or interoperable data, is standardized to open in multiple formats and to effortlessly merge with additional data sources in a content model for ease of analysis.



Interoperability Accelerates Development

NGDS Data Explorer tool developed for the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS).Interoperability adds value to data by facilitating analysis and comparison to outside data sets and by encouraging the development of analytical tools. Interoperable data creates a market for software customized to specific audiences in academia, government and commercial users.

For example, the NGDS Data Explorer tool developed for the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) searches NGDS for geothermal features based on a keyword and/or defined map extent. Using this tool, features can be displayed on a map, created into an HTLM table or downloaded as a CSV file. This custom application is one example of the many possibilities open to software developers.

Open Source Interoperability Reduces Obsolescence

While interoperability invites development of new applications, it also protects data from obsolescence. Interoperable data is configured to standard interchange formats using common exchange protocols written in widely used markup languages. Highly trusted open source platforms maintain free access and ensure agile improvements to software products.These elements are widely adopted by every large information-sharing platform, and updates are non-proprietary.  Any future software or platform development must consider the interchange formats and exchange protocols currently in use.   

USGIN is one of the only options for creating Tier 3 Data. Explore our Open Data Solutions to learn more about our unique tools and workflow processes.