This Web site contains information on activities of the National Geologic Map Database Project (NGMDB). The NGMDB is a collaborative effort primarily involving the USGS and the Association of American State Geologists. This Web site contains informal, generally time-sensitive material intended for project members, cooperators, and interested parties.

Background Information --
Developing digital cartographic
standards for geologic maps

1995 -- In September, 1995, USGS Open-file Report 95-525 (entitled "Cartographic and digital standard for geologic map information") was released as a draft standard proposed by a USGS working group led by Mitch Reynolds. Two thousand copies were printed and advertised via the Internet as a free product. The interest in this document was noteworthy -- it went out of stock later that fall. Given the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) role as the coordinator of digital information standards for the Federal government, it was incumbent on the FGDC's Geologic Data Subcommittee to evaluate the standard for consideration as a FGDC draft Federal standard.

1996 -- In early 1996, a comprehensive technical review of the document was organized. Comments were solicited from mappers, cartographers, and data managers in the USGS, all State Geological Surveys, and the FGDC Secretariat. The review was completed in late 1996, and a report was published containing plans for development of various Federal geologic mapping standards.

1997 -- The USGS Western Region Publications Group converted the symbols, colors, and patterns to digital (Postscript) format, to support both development of the FGDC draft standards document and digital cartography. An informal review of these symbols was conducted in the Fall.

1998 -- Revisions to the draft standard were begun, and an Arc/Info and ArcView version was discussed in cooperation with the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.

1999 -- The draft standard was prepared, and was submitted to the FGDC Geologic Data Subcommittee for review. The draft was approved pending minor revisions.

2000 -- The revised draft was submitted to the FGDC Standards Working Group, and was approved pending minor revisions. The draft was then approved for Public Review by the FGDC Coordination Group. The Public Review period extended from May 19, 2000 through September 15, 2000. Information on the public review is posted at the FGDC Geologic Data Subcommittee web site. A Postscript implementation of the draft standard was released as USGS OFR-99-430. The standard and the review process are described in a paper.

2001 -- Comments from the FGDC Public Review were evaluated, in preparation for making revisions and submitting the draft to the FGDC for approval as a Federal standard. A Standing Committee to assist with the revisions and to provide long-term maintenance of the standard was formed.

2002 -- The standard remained under evaluation and revision by the Standing Committee. Based on the Public Review, a significant new section was added to improve description of the scientific and locational accuracy of geologic features.

2003-2004 -- The standard remains under evaluation and revision by the Standing Committee. Following completion of the revised draft, the document will be forwarded for comment to the FGDC Geologic Data Subcommittee. We expect submission to the FGDC in early 2005.

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Maintained by Dave Soller
last update: Sept. 1, 2004