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This month our question comes from CDI member Anjali Fernandes,, AKA @climbing_ripple.

Anjali asks:

Fellow Geo-nerds, do you know of an open access data-base that offers archival of outcrop scans (geo-referenced point clouds) & surfaces mapped on said scans, as well as geo-referenced grain-size distributions, geochemical analyses, sedimentary facies descriptions, etc.?

...and if your answer is "No" and you do collect such data for your research, how do you go about archiving your data?

And finally, if such a database did exist what else would you have on your wish list of options for such a database (besides point clouds, geo-ref'd samples & descriptions?

Some initial answers from Twitter include:

@CarlosGrohmann: For point clouds only, could @OpenTopography be a way?

@OpenTopography:Yes, @Safaridb is a good option @ZaneJobe. We’re working on something for user contributed point clouds and derivatives that would address some of the requirements too.

@ZaneJobe: @Safaridb ( is a great start, ran by John Howell @Virtualgeol and Simon Buckley. Also check out There is also the numerous gigapans by the late Ron Schott and gigamacros by @callanbentley, although I dont think they have support for surfaces...

Do we have other answers? How is this data released from the USGS? What is on your wishlist for releasing this kind of data?

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Slides from the September 12 Monthly Meeting:


  1. This is a great question. Scientists in my Center will be facing this issue as well. 

    Geochemistry analyses are currently published as independent data releases on ScienceBase (for example, Our Mineral Resource Program (MRP) data eventually resides in the National Geochemical Database (NGDB) ( but is typically not available at the time a report using the data for scientific conclusions is published. We have an upcoming data release that will handle grain size as well but is not published yet. 

  2. Question from the monthly meeting for discussion: 

    How are (USGS) people handling publishing data that is larger than the ScienceBase 10GB limit? Likely an issue with our hyperspectral outcrop scans...

  3. From Megan Carter Orlando:

    The data types described by Anjali should be acceptable for the EarthChem Library. Perhaps you could direct her to

  4. Found via twitter:

    Not exactly what Anjali is asking for, but something related: Outcropedia, and there is a sedimentary section.

    Outcropedia is an initiative of the TecTask  initially to valorize the field data in Structural Geology and Tectonics, initially ideated by three geologists : Cees Passchier, Mark Jessell and Hermann Lebit. TecTask  believes that field data, as obtained from outcrops should be the basis of all tectonic modeling. This is the new website created on July 2018 containing also all the photos uploaded in the old site. In the new webiste the photos are divided into different categories (see home page) and in addition GeoTours (e.g. geological field trips) can be added.

    To propose and upload GeoTours please send a short text, photos and details of the proposed itinerary to:

    Outcropedia is sponsored by Tectask, the Commission on Tectonics and Structural Geology of the IUGS, and the following Tectask officers are involved in setup and maintenance of the site:

    Anna Chanou, Manuel De Paz, Rodolfo Carosi – Curators.