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Introducing EarthWorks, Stanford's new GIS data discovery application

Salmon data in EarthWorks

Stanford University Libraries is happy to introduce EarthWorks, our new geospatial data discovery application. EarthWorks is a discovery tool for geospatial (a.k.a. GIS) data. It allows users to search and browse the GIS collections owned by Stanford University Libraries, as well as data collections from many other institutions. Data can be searched spatially, by manipulating a map; by keyword search; by selecting search limiting facets (e.g., limit to a given format type); or by combining these options.

What data are available? 

Data are available from numerous research institutions across the United States covering a vast array of subjects and base layer information.  Thousands of datasets in vector and raster format have been described at the individual layer level allowing for easy searching and retrieval.  You will find both public and restricted data.  The restricted data are tied to the institution that holds the content.  You may download the restricted Stanford content by logging in with your Stanford sunet id via the "Login" link in the top right corner of the EarthWorks application. 

Recommending a data set for acquisition 

You may find a data layer held by another institution that you would like Stanford to acquire.  If you do, send us a note via the feedback link.  We will research purchasing that data for the Stanford community.

Submitting GIS data for deposit

Are you carrying out research that will result in geospatial data (either vector or raster) that could be interesting and useful in research by others?  Send a note to the feedback list and we'll help you deposit the content into the Stanford Digital Repository with visualization and downloading capabilities in Earthworks.

Why isn't a particular data layer available?

Sometimes you'll see that a particular data layer is not available.  Stanford does not actually hold the data from all of the partners.  We point to their data using links in their metadata or cataloging records.  The partner institutions may be in the process of loading the data on their servers, may have a server down for maintenance, or may be working on preparing the content for delivery.  If you need the data and it's not available, let us know through the feedback link and we'll do our best to find it or a suitable substitute for you.

Open-source software

EarthWorks is built on top of the open-source project GeoBlacklight, which adds geospatial capabilities to the widely used discovery system Project Blacklight. GeoBlacklight is the product of an ongoing software collaboration between MIT, Princeton, and Stanford. Contributions and collaborators are most welcome! GeoBlacklight can be used on its own, or as part of GeoHydra, an emerging suite of tools for managing geospatial data assets within a Hydra data repository. For more information about GeoHydra, please see the Hydra Geospatial Interest Group wiki.

Metadata sharing for EarthWorks is enabled through collaboration with the OpenGeoPortal project and the new OpenGeoMetadata initiative.

EarthWorks also uses GeoMonitor to monitor the availability of data being provided by the network of collaborating institutions.

Questions about EarthWorks should be directed to EarthWorks feedback.

Questions about GeoBlacklight, GeoMonitor, or how we collaborate with OpenGeoMetadata can be directed to

Upcoming meetings and events:

Open Repositories - June 8 - 11, 2015 Indianapolis, IN ,USA - Hands on GeoBlacklight Workshop

ESRI Education GIS Conference - July 18-21, 2015 San Diego, CA, USA -  "GeoBlacklight, a New Discovery Platform for Geospatial Data” lightning talk

ESRI User Conference - July 20 - 24, 2015 San Diego, CA, USA - "Preservation and discovery for GIS data” presentation

HydraConnect - September 21 - 24 2015, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - Hydra Geospatial Interest Group 

Looking forward to hearing from and meeting you at these upcoming events.


Geospatial Web Engineer