In support of the Obama Administration’s Open Data Policy to make data more accessible to the public and entrepreneurs, the Energy Department today officially launched the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS), an online open-source platform that facilitates the discovery and use of geothermal data, enabling researchers to speed geothermal energy development. This innovative online tool will allow academia and industry to access quantifiable, technical data in digital format, breaking down one of the geothermal energy industry’s greatest barriers to development and deployment of this promising clean energy source.
The goal of the NGDS is to accelerate research and development in order to drive down the cost and improve the accuracy of subsurface exploration while also encouraging investment in geothermal energy production. The public data platform encompasses thousands of databases, geologic maps, and reports, drawing from millions of digitized records that were previously unavailable—and can aid discovery of new data on geologic features, faults, seismicity, heat flow, geochemistry, drilling, and temperatures at various depths and in specific geographic areas. Already, industry is using the free, online tool to simulate geological features and locate and monitor geothermal reservoirs beneath the Earth’s surface.
All Energy Department-funded geothermal projects submit cutting-edge research data to the network through a dedicated interface called the Geothermal Data Repository. NGDS conforms to the U.S. Geosciences Information Network (USGIN) protocols, a joint undertaking of the United States Geological Survey and the Association of American State Geologists, and the framework uses the same free, open-source content management system as Data.gov, making NGDS data fully transparent to researchers and developers.