Geospatial Infrastructure Development
USGS has had decades of experience in developing country-scale geographic information system (GIS) databases and in performing major geologic mapping and resource assessment programs within the Middle East, Eurasia, Asia and South America. The USGS Geospatial Infrastructure Development Project worked to develop an integrated GIS data framework for Afghanistan in order to provide fundamental databases and current, state-of-the-art maps to support natural resource assessment programs and to aid in restoring Afghan geosciences ministries to operational status.
Working with the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS), Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), and Afghanistan Geology and Cartography Head Office (AGCHO), project participants collected, compiled, and digitized existing geologic, topographic, and remote sensing data and used them to produce geologic, cartographic, and satellite image map sets of the entire country. They also trained Afghan partners in various mapping techniques, and initiated work on a national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) for Afghanistan.
GIDP was also responsible for developing and maintaining this website, providing a place to share Afghanistan geologic data and publications produced by USGS and Afghan partners. During the early stages of the program this site was used as a collaboration platform to exchange and share information among partners. As the program’s projects were completed and findings were published the site has evolved into a public resource discovering a broad spectrum of geologic information of Afghanistan and of USGS involvement.
In 2018, when the USGS partnered with USAID to re-engage in Afghanistan’s minerals sector under the USAID Extractive Technical Assistance Program, GIDP became known as the Data Management Component. Its primary deliverable is to give AGS the tools to manage its own geologic data distribution. To achieve this objective, the component activities focus on reestablishing the AGS geospatial data processing, and on strengthening its spatial data infrastructure (SDI) by establishing a Geoportal website.
For the data process element, USGS will support AGS scientists with GIS and remote sensing workshops to reinforce their existing skill sets. Workshops will focus on the collection of field data, remote sensing analysis and interpretation, and map synthesis to support mineral exploration. The geoportal will provide the means for the public to discover and search for geospatial data by location and contextually based on metadata provided. Several workshops will be held to assist AGS in developing and managing this geoportal, compiling an inventory of their data, and its inclusion into the geoportal. Both these data management activities reinforce best practices to advance legitimate mineral exploration by providing access to geographic information and promoting information transparency.
A list of all USGS Geospatial Infrastructure Project publications is available here.