MGDS: Data resources for geoscience research and education Abstract


  • MGDS, the Marine Geoscience Data System (, provides an integrated system of web-based data portals giving free public access to a wide variety of marine and terrestrial geoscience data. An increasing number of researchers and educators are using these MGDS resources, including MGDS-based education modules, in their labs and classrooms.

    MGDS data portals for the NSF-supported multi-disciplinary MARGINS and Ridge 2000 research programs cover a broad range of land and marine field programs. Examples of data types include GPS and seismic data, and rock, fluid, biology and sediment samples. MGDS also serves as a data portal for Antarctic geophysical data and as the seismic field reflection data center.

    The GeoMapApp map-based data visualisation tool ( supports dynamic exploration of data using a multi-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) of the global oceans and continents. Built-in land and marine data sets include EarthChem and PetDB geochemistry, global plate boundaries, DSDP core logs, earthquake events, sea floor photos, and submersible dive tracks. Seamless links to partner institutions allow users to examine land and marine holdings of UNAVCO, IRIS and NGDC. With GeoMapApp, users can also generate custom maps and grids and import their own data sets and grids.

    Data Link provides a web-based search capability to query the integrated MGDS data holdings. Data Link enables keyword searches by data and instrument type, geographical bounds, scientist, expedition name and dates.

    Field program station information and the MGDS global DEM which includes a global bathymetric synthesis of the world ocean are made available as web map and web feature services for use in web-service-enabled GIS packages including Google Earth.

    MGDS is actively working with research partners to develop metadata standards and best practices for geoscience data generation and discovery, storage and sharing.


publication date

  • 2007