More than a year ago I sat on a panel with Jack Dangermond and Vincent Virga (Cartographia). One of the questions from the audience at the New York State Geospatial Summit related to archiving geospatial data. If I recall, we tried to think about both the paper and other printed works that would need to be archived, but also the challenges for archiving digital data. None of use were experts, so I fear we raised more questions that we answered.
Now, the experts are weighing in. The Digital Preservation Coalition offers a PDF of a Technology Watch Report: Preserving Geospatial Data. It’s a good statement of the state of the art, but the introduction makes clear that the recommendations are somewhat limited: “While these recommendations provide a basic checklist of issues to be considered when preserving geospatial data, it must be
emphasized that the collective experience in preserving such data is still very much in an early stage and that further investigations are needed.”