Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Spatial Information Science and Engineering


Harlan Onsrud

Second Committee Member

M. Kate Beard Tisdale

Third Committee Member

Max Egenhofer


Making scientific data openly accessible and available for re-use is desirable to encourage validation of research results, and/or economic development. A significant body of spatially-referenced, locally-produced data produced by individual researchers, non-profit groups, private associations, small companies, universities, and non-governmental organizations across the United States is not online and therefore not generally available to professional scientists and to the general public. If there were an online environment, a "Commons of Geographic Data," where that data could be deposited or registered, and where users could access and re-use it, what infrastructure characteristics might potential contributors find desirable in order for them to be willing to contribute their data without monetary compensation; and what infrastructure characteristics might potential users find desirable in order for them to be willing to access, investigate, and use such contributed data?

Based on data preservation literature, this study hypothesized three such potential characteristics as desirable. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, this study examined the desirability of these infrastructure capabilities in a non-statistical sample of potential contributors and potential users. The results of both the qualitative and quantitative research support the hypothesis. The results can provide guidance for those who may wish to design such a commons environment for locally-generated, spatially-referenced data in the future, and may also be of use to those that operate repositories of other types of data.


This a copyrighted work protected under Creative Commons Version 4 license; CC-BY-NC.