Marine Geoscience Data System

MGDS Overview

The Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS) is a trusted data repository that provides free public access to a curated collection of marine geophysical data products and complementary data related to understanding the formation and evolution of the seafloor and sub-seafloor. Developed and operated by domain scientists and technical specialists with deep knowledge about the creation, analysis and scientific interpretation of marine geoscience data, the system makes available a digital library of data files described by a rich curated metadata catalog. MGDS provides tools and services for the discovery and download of data collected throughout the global oceans produced primarily by National Science Foundation (NSF) supported researchers, and is the recommended data repository for NSF-funded Marine Geology and Geophysics projects.

MGDS is designed to serve the needs of the science user community with a focus on (1) enabling data discovery and access, (2) curating coherent disciplinary collections of data that facilitate the creation of global syntheses, (3) ensuring the long-term preservation and stewardship of research data products, and (4) facilitating compliance with data management and data sharing obligations. MGDS directly complements data stewardship activities of the allied NSF-funded Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R). In addition, MGDS coordinates with and leverages the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA NCEI) for the integration of data into the national long-term archive and for redundancy storage of large-volume data.

Data Services

MGDS is an interactive digital data library, data repository, and curated metadata catalog that offers a suite of services for data discovery and preservation. The system currently provides open, web-based access to 124.1TB of data, corresponding to over 2,076,000 digital data files from more than 3,692 research programs dating back to the 1970’s. Data and metadata can be accessed through a geospatially-enabled search interface and through web services that follow the specifications of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). Program. MGDS is registered as a research data repository with

Data Submission: MGDS encourages submissions of new marine geoscience data sets for inclusion, in particular processed and interpreted data products supporting publications and field data that has not been archived elsewhere. Data can be contributed to MGDS online or by contacting us.

Attribution and Data Citation: MGDS offers data preservation services including long-term archiving, the registration of data with Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs ®) for persistent identification and formal citation, and links to related scholarly publications. Data contributors receive regular reports summarizing data download activity. Through collaborations with several earth-science journals, we provide links between publications and data. We promote the collegial use of data through its Terms of Use and provides semi-annual data download reports to data contributors to inform them of downloads/views of their data.

MGDS is a Registered Research Data Repository

Data Collections

In addition to providing broad access to marine geoscience data enriched by discipline-relevant metadata, MGDS also manages several data collections. These data collections are aggregations of data and information that promote discoverability, integration and synthesis by consolidating similar content. As coherent disciplinary data collections are assembled and curated they enable new exploration and discovery within existing data, including legacy data that are recognized by the community as important resources for modern research.

Active Data Collections:

Legacy Data Collections:


The Marine Geoscience Data System was first developed in 2003 with funding from the National Science Foundation to provide data management services in support of several research communities: the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), the Ridge 2000 and MARGINS programs, and for the active-source marine seismic research community. In 2005, the system was expanded to include dedicated data management services for global bathymetry data. From 2010-2019 MGDS was operated as part of the IEDA data facility for solid earth geoscience data. In late 2019, MGDS resumed independent operations whilst maintaining coordination with complementary data systems and offering access to their data holdings, including the Global Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) Synthesis, GeoMapApp, the US Antarctic Program Data Center (USAP-DC), and the Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R) Program.

The MGDS Team includes Dr. Vicki Ferrini (Director), Dr. Andrew Goodwillie (Lead Data Manager) and Mr. John Morton (Technical Lead), Ms. Rose Anne Weissel (User Support), as well as an IT team that supports infrastructure as part of the Geoinformatics Research Group at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.