A Spatial Collaboration: Building a Multi-Institution Geospatial Data Discovery Portal

Mara Blake, Karen L Majewicz, Ryan Mattke, Kathleen Weessies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As academic education and research increasingly take advantage of geospatial data and methodologies, we see a corresponding exponential growth in the number of available geospatial resources in the form of GIS datasets and scanned historical maps. However, users can experience difficulty finding these resources due to the unconnected multitude of platforms and clearinghouses that host them. Additionally, the resources are not always well described with web semantic metadata that facilitates discovery. In response to this challenge, The Big Ten Academic Alliance Geospatial Data Project began in 2015 to provide discoverability, facilitate access, and connect scholars to geospatial resources. Our project leverages a multi-institutional collaboration and open source technologies to improve discovery for users of geospatial data and scanned maps. We outline collaborative workflows and strategies for a successful multi-institution collaboration.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
Pages (from-to)196-214
JournalCollaborative Librarianship
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • geoportals
  • consortia
  • collaboration
  • geospatial
  • maps
  • discovery
  • metadata


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