National Data Repositories meet again

Contrasting styles of national data repositories on display at NDR5 in Washington.

The fifth National Data Repository Meeting (NDR5) was held last month under the auspices of the American Geological Institute in Washington DC. NDR5’s scope has broadened beyond the oil and gas business to encompass multi-use earth science data repositories.


Norway’s Diskos was presented by Eric Toogood (NPD). Diskos has become ‘an essential element in E&P data management strategy’. Today, around 60 Terabytes of quality seismic well data are available on-line. Toogood warned however that creating a successful NDR is not easy. The task ‘often takes much more time than first expected due to the complexity of the task and the many issues involved.’


The AGI’s Christopher Keane contrasted Diskos with the lack of a ‘strong centralized policy or agency in the US’ that could assure preservation and accessibility of geologic data. Offshore data is held privately with eventual migration into the public domain. Onshore data remains the property of the operator and is governed by state laws. Some states operate data repositories of varying quality and scope. AGI’s ‘NGDRS’ project was established to facilitate an interconnection between these facilities and the data end users and to preserve ‘at risk’ data.

Company viewpoint

Bill Kempner presented a joint initiative between ChevronTexaco, the USGS and the AGI to preserve vintage 2D and 3D seismic data from the West Coast of the USA. The initiative sets out to create a single dataset on modern media and provide public access over the internet. Economic justification, legal and logistical details and final contracts are nearing completion.

Indiana Geological Survey

John Steinmetz (Indiana Geological Survey) emphasized the importance of metadata in both geographic information (GIS) systems and as a means of building a catalogue of data for the organization.

Iowa State

Cinzia Cervato (Iowa State University) described the Chronos system, a data network for sedimentary geology and paleobiology. Beverly Blakeney-DeJarnett described the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology’s core and sample repositories and a searchable online database provided by the BEG. The BEG has also proposed a new business model for operating the Houston Research Center.

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