Externally Developed Resources

To facilitate interoperability and reduce upkeep costs, USGIN relies on specifications, standards, applications, and profiles developed independently of USGIN. This page describes resources that are used by USGIN that were not developed directly by, or for, the USGIN Foundation.

Use the Categories filter to display resources by category. Click individual categories for a description.

More information about these resources can be found on the USGIN Lab; see the Standards, Profiles, Applications, and Implementations pages. Note that the USGIN Lab is no longer actively maintained.

Category: Applications
Resource Description Uses

Amazon Web Services

Computing resources available for rent. More..

Several servers that host USGIN websites or provide USGIN services are provided by Amazon Web Services.

Apache Tomcat

Free-and-open-source servlet engine. Many key applications for providing web services can be hosted using Tomcat. More...

Used to host software applications, such as GeoServer and GeoPortal, which provide Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)-compliant web services


Open-source web application framework written in the Python programming language. More...

Provides a number of USGIN sites and web services and custom applications, including the USGIN URI redirection engine


Modular, extensible, actively maintained free-and-open-source web site content management framework; capable of running on any computing platform that supports PHP-capable web server software and database software. More...

Several websites related to the USGIN Initiative were built using the Drupal CMF, including:

ESRI ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Explorer, ArcGIS Server, and Geoportal

Commercial geographic information system software and web service-compatible server software. Supports both proprietary service protocols (Geoservices API) and OGC web services.

Commonly used for deploying geospatial data as web services.


Free-and-open-source web service-compatible server software. More...

Southern Methodist University, a contributor to the  National Geothermal Data System, uses GeoServer to host web services; the landing page is available here.


Extension for PostgreSQL relational database; adds support for geographic objects. More...

PostGIS databases are used store spatial data for ArcGIS, GeoServer, Django, and many other applications.


Free-and-open-source object-relational database system with over 15 years of active development. More...

PostgreSQL is used by GeoPortal, GeoNetwork, and CKAN.


A programming language. More...

Python is used for Django sites and converting Excel spreadsheets into ISO metadata (the application responsible for which can be found at http://github.com/usgin/csvtometadata).

Category: Web Service Protocols
Resource Description Uses

ESRI Map Service

Specifications for web services deployed using ESRI software. Currently under consideration as an OGC standard. More...

Many USGIN data services are published using ArcGIS server; ESRI Map Services are often deployed in parallel with OGC services.

OGC Catalog Service for the Web (CSW 2.0.2)

Specification to support a web service used to publish and search metadata describing existing geospatial data resources. More...

Catalog services deployed by USGIN are as follows:

OGC CSW APISO - OGC ISO19115/ISO19119 application profile for CSW 2.0

A profile of the OGC CSW 2.0.2 standard. Users who wish to deploy an OGC-compliant catalog service for their data should do so in accordance with this profile. More...

Users typically deploy catalog services to list and manage queries regarding a large number of different web-accessible resources. Compliance with this profile of OGC specifications maximizes compatibility with other OGC services and ensures a degree of compatibility with USGIN services.

OGC Web Feature Service (WFS 1.1)

OGC specification used to support a web feature service representing features described by attributes.

National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) data is often deployed as both a web map service and a web feature service. Web map services provide georeferenced imagery; web feature services provide georeferenced features described by attributes; these attributes are relevant to geospatial analysis.

OGC Web Map Service (WMS 1.3)

OGC specification used to a web map service providing georeferenced images.

National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) data is often deployed as both a web map service and a web feature service. Web map services provide georeferenced imagery; web feature services provide georeferenced features described by attributes; these attributes are relevant to geospatial analysis.

Category: XML Interchange Formats
Resource Description Uses

Geography Markup Language (GML)

An XML grammar for encoding geospatial data, including the location and attributes of features. Developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium. More...

Basis for Geospatial location encoding in USGIN-compliant web feature services.


GeoSciML is a GML profile that facilitates application-neutral encoding of geoscience data and related spatial data. More...

Used for OneGeology level 5 services.


A simplified implementation of the GeoSciML conceptual model; provides simple feature encoding for geologic unit outcrops, contacts, faults, boreholes, and data observations. More...

GeoSciML-portrayal should be used for OneGeology US web services. For more information, see the GeoSciML-Portrayal Cookbook.

W3C Extensible Markup Language (XML)

A markup language framework developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. More...

XML is the basis for the specialized markup languages, interchange formats, and schemas used by USGIN; these include GML, GeoSciML, and GeoSciML-portrayal. For more information about XML, see the USGIN XML Tutorial

Category: Profiles
Resource Description Uses

GeoSciML WFS Architecture

profile of the OGC WFS standard designed to create web feature services that are standardized according to the GeoSciML markup language.

Used to create web feature services that are interoperable with other web feature services structured according to GeoSciML.

Category: Other Standards
Resource Description Uses


Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) specification for construction of Universal Resource Identifier strings. More...

For more information, see the USGIN URI Tutorial.

USGIN URIs conform to a USGIN-specific profile of the IETF URI standard.

W3C Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS)

A standard way to represent knowledge organization systems using the Resource Description Framework (RDF). More...

Encoding of vocabularies for GeoSciML documents by the CGI Geoscience Terminology Workgroup.

Category: Metadata Standards
Resource Description Uses

ISO 19115

Standard for geospatial metadata; developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO). More...

Governs metadata records describing existing datasets and other entities.

ISO 19119

Standard for metadata describing geospatial web services. More...

Governs metadata records describing web services.

ISO 19139

XML implementation of ISO 19115 and ISO 19119 standards. More...

All USGIN-compliant metadata conforms to this standard.