This descriptive information, termed metadata, has been harvested by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in one form or the other for many years. A key benefit of the harvesting is that other other organizations and users searching for data can more easily discover local, regional, and state data sources. Harvesting organizes this descriptive information and simply points back to the originating sources.
Originally, this harvested information resided in the USGS "Geospatial One-Stop" which eventually morphed into geo.data.gov. Very recently, geo.data.gov has merged into data.gov.
Spend some time in it and you'll soon find that in data.gov there is a treasure trove of data, both spatial and non-spatial. If you want to do a quick search for North Dakota data you have several options once you click on the Data menu item:
- Use the map to draw a rectangle around the state
- Type in North Dakota in the Enter Location field
- Enter a search term in the Search Datasets field (e.g., North Dakota water)
- Use the search filters on the left (e.g., click State Government under Organization Types, then select State of North Dakota under Organizations).
There are additional data sets referenced in the Hub Data Portal that are not yet in data.gov. This is because the metadata for those datasets have to be validated and modified before they can be harvested by data.gov. This is to ensure that the search and browse tools within data.gov properly work. As time allows, the remaining metadata records will be validated and modified so that all Hub Data Portal information will be found in data.gov.