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Federal Data Backup and Access

06 Feb 2017 10:25 AM | Craig Clouet

There has been a thread on the Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS) list serve about the possibility of losing access to federally archived geospatial data.   Here is a consolidation of the thread and what you can do to help….

People have been hoping for the best and planning for the worst: 

A number are preparing for loss of the data. There are a few parallel movements, but we do work together. The people taking the lead are the PPEH Lab at UPenn - they're doing amazing work and have professional archivists and librarians involved to make sure data integrity is maintained. On the other side of it, I run a team of volunteers over at http://climatemirror.org where we are tracking and storing datasets to make sure they don't disappear, and working to capture data portals.

More normal backups were taken by the Internet Archive and the California Digital Library (as part of their "End of Term Harvest" that they run at each presidential transition) - these capture web pages and linked small datasets, and can be searched publicly at http://archive.org.  More information on any of this Nick http://nicksantos.com (Nick Santos [nrsantos@UCDAVIS.EDU]

DATA RESCUE SERIES: Perhaps you read last week’s Wired article about scientists archiving US gov climate change data and websites leading up to and continuing through the administration change? This is the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, and since the election, @EnviroDGI has been hosting #DataRescue events for at-risk government datasets. The first was held in Canada, where people were already organized due to the anti-science Harper administration destroying libraries of un-digitized science research in 2013 (https://envirodatagov.org/building-an-archive-of-vulnerability-guerrillaarchiving-at-uoft/)

The next event in the Data Rescue series is happening right here in New York City & your participation will make a difference! Join us on Saturday, February 4.  Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/data-rescue-nyc-tickets-31332874471

Data Rescue NYC works to secure federal environmental data in the face of the Trump administration’s large-scale efforts to dismantle environmental regulation. This work is urgent since the Trump administration has immediately begun to scrub environmental data from federal websites.

Data Rescue NYC brings together concerned citizens with experts in information technology, archiving and environmental science and policy. We need capable web-savvy and technical members of the public, librarians, and people with environmental expertise. Building on experience from similar events, everyone’s skills will be put to work in organized cooperation.

Join us for a day of preserving valuable environmental data from attempts to undermine science in the public service. Bring your laptop, water bottle, and snacks.

Hosted by New York University, Data Rescue NYC is run by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) in collaboration with the PPEHlab’s DataRefuge project. Here are links to background and news coverage. It is part of a decentralized effort including previous events in Toronto, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/data-rescue-nyc-tickets-31332874471

More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/704371486406298/

How you can prepare in advance:
- Download and install our web browser extension, which works with the Chrome browser. http://tinyurl.com/zyuqx7l

- Coders can review our tools, including web crawlers and scrapers, in the EDGI Github: https://github.com/edgi-govdata-archiving - experience using web APIs, and cloudweb services like Amazon S3 is a plus!

Special lead-up event on FOIA Rights and Responsibilities: Friday February 3 hosted by CUNY and broadcast by Public Lab: https://publiclab.org/notes/liz/01-20-2017/edgi-foia-event-at-cuny-in-new-york-city-online

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