GIS is at the core of supporting NOAA’s mission. Geospatial technologies provide the framework to collect, store, analyze, and disseminate “NOAA’s Environmental Intelligence.” NOAA is also the authoritative source for multiple national datasets that form the foundation for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, to include geodetic control, nautical charts, coastal elevation, weather and climate models, critical habitat, and satellite and observational platforms.

Geospatial activities occur in all parts of NOAA. In order to ensure NOAA offices meet all applicable open data requirements, industry standards, and geospatial community best practices, core NOAA geospatial management responsibilities include:

  • Data quality and standards compliance​: geospatial data collection and creation practices should comply with all applicable data quality and industry standards (e.g., Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)).

  • Data documentation​: all geospatial data and services should include metadata documentation to describe data quality and appropriate use characteristics.

  • Discoverability and access​: all geospatial data should be registered in applicable data discovery portals (e.g., and be accessible in a range of data and mapping service formats to meet the greatest set of user requirements (e.g., data download, OGC mapping services).

  • Value-add​: where applicable, data owners should provide additional information and/or decision-support tools to maximize the value and return on investment of NOAA geospatial data products.

  • Archiving​: all NOAA data owners are required to meet the Public Access to Research Results (PARR) guidelines, and archiving data at NESDIS NCEI meets those requirements for NOAA data collectors. NCEI ensures data is archived in compliance with applicable policies and best practices. NCEI usually provides an additional discoverability and access path for NOAA datasets beyond the primary data owner, and often uses the data for integrated or derived data products.

NOAA GIS Contact Information

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