Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



How do I use USGIN?

Data consumers discover and access data resources available via USGIN data-sharing networks by using a web browser to navigate to the appropriate web-accessible metadata catalog. The National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) is an example of a USGIN data-sharing network; NGDS data resources can be discovered and accessed through the NGDS metadata catalog. For more detailed examples of NGDS data access, see the NGDS Data Access Scenario Video Series.

Data contributors and developers can use the resources on this website to deploy their data as part of a USGIN data-sharing network such as NGDS. In addition to USGIN specifications, this website also provides tutorials, best practices, and a workflow outline for prospective data providers.

For more information, see Using USGIN.

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What are USGIN Specifications?

USGIN specifications are the standards, practices, and protocols employed by USGIN to address the challenges associated with sharing large amounts of diverse data stored in geographically disparate locations. Compliance with USGIN specifications allows technical users to share their data in such a way that the data they share is interoperable.

USGIN specifications include:

  • Catalog systems for data discovery on a distributed network
  • Recommended data file formats that can be accessed by multiple different client applications
  • Networking protocols used to make data available on the Internet and accessible to various web browsers and client applications
  • Web service definitions that define interfaces for searching catalogs and accessing data resources
  • Client software applications that are recommended or supported by USGIN
  • International standards used for USGIN data development
  • Schemas used for databases and interchange files to encourage interoperability at the data level

For a more specific list of USGIN specifications, see the USGIN Specifications page.

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What are USGIN Subdomains?

USGIN Subdomains are websites within the USGIN domain ( that provide USGIN users with utilities. There are two USGIN subdomains of note:

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What is OpenData?

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

In addition to facilitating interoperability, USGIN specifications ensure that USGIN data remains open. Any data shared as part of a USGIN data-sharing network can be hosted and accessed by free-and-open-source software; likewise, USGIN specifications conform to international standards.

Read about going beyond Open Data on the USGIN website.

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