Geothermal energy in the subsurface is better understood through data visualization, as in this model developed by Ormat Technologies on the McGinness Hills geothermal project in Nevada. As the National Geothermal Data System continues to gather scientific information from geothermal projects nationwide, access to this free, open-source tool will multiply and can hope to reduce the costs and risk of geothermal energy development.

The official site for NGDS is now live at 

In support of President Obama's Open Data Policy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz officially announced deployment of the National Geothermal Data System at the White House Energy Datapalooza on May 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. Learn more. For a slideshow of the White House Energy Datapalooza, click here.

The Scope of the Project

The National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) - a mammoth catalog of geoscience documents and datasets - provides information about geothermal resources located primarily within the United States. The Geothermal Technologies Office at the United States Department of Energy funded the design and testing process, to compile an active, nationwide network of interoperable nodes, storing new and legacy data that developers, industry, and academia can use to better enable the adoption of geothermal energy. In fact, NGDS was created to respond to industry demand for quantifiable data of the subsurface, to target drilling, understand drilling performance in hard rock formations, and effectively characterize the subsurface for reservoir creation and maintenance. Today, millions of records of research and site demonstration data have been compiled for free access by the geothermal community.

As the federal investment brings down costs of upfront investment, geothermal industries will be better positioned to harness the earth's energy for commercial production. To accelerate the development of U.S. geothermal resources, NGDS applications will aid developers in the following ways:

• Determine geothermal potential
• Guide exploration and development
• Make data-driven policy decisions
• Minimize development risks
• Understand how geothermal activities affect your community and the environment
• Guide investments.

How is NGDS Typically Used?

The NGDS can be used in many ways, depending on your needs and interests. Generally, the NGDS is used by:
• Agencies, businesses, and researchers who wish to use the documents and datasets for research, resource characterization, and prospecting
• Stakeholders who want to contribute additional data
• Web developers who want to create custom applications that interact with NGDS data

Who Contributes Data to NGDS?

NGDS data records are contributed by academic researchers, private industry, and state and federal agencies, including all fifty State Geological Surveys. In addition, all DOE-funded projects are required to register their data in the NGDS, leveraging more than $500 million in total geothermal investment. 

Learn more from this informative fact sheet.