A NON-political discussion re: Geo data


I feel the need to set up this thread very carefully so that it won’t digress into a discussion about politicians. So I will start this discussion but I beg of you to keep it away from commenting for or against any particular politician or your views about a particular politician. If the thread gets too political sounding, I reserve the Mod right to edit / trim the posts. :frowning:

So here’s the topic…

How might US Executive Orders affect distribution of “Geo” data in the scientific world, including in US departments like EPA, NASA, Housing, and other “geo-spatial-populations” academic and political work? And how can ordinary citizens fight back?

I’ve been reading lots of concerns about protecting “data” from university level to commercial-governmental groups. Professionals are sheltering their past and future data work. Some US gov’t departments have gone “rogue” in setting up separate ‘Alt’ social media accounts after having their departments politically “gagged”.

In being an advocate for information overload (vs information scarcity), I immediately thought about personal/individual advocacy and protest. For example, if you have favorite Internet sources for scientific issues about people-populations and housing, or Global-Warming and climate changes, or even some obscure topics that scientists love, these sites should be backed up through “The Wayback Machine online”. As one example, the EPA website as it appears now has been backed up there, in case the site gets dismantled or goes dark. And, of course, scientists have been backing up data to alternate private servers, etc.

Other advocacy actions we can take (worldwide) is

  • sign up for email updates, to reinforce public interest in these topics
  • ask questions via social media… for example, The Badlands National Park Service began posting “the weather”… I began asking them general interest questions about Natl Parks, weather in the parks, or “science”, such as “How much CO2 is in the atmosphere every day?” Whether they answer is not important-- but showing public interest is important.

Another targeted item is a ban on making visual representations of populations and issues that affect people! There is a Senate Bill circulating involving this issue. This maybe could affect Tn’s visual creations. I think it is ultra important to preserve this activity as a right and duty of science. I hope @TomnodLuke @tomnodcollin @tomnodryan @HappyMapper might look into this Bill and figure out IF it will affect your work. Many academics are writing letters to their Senators about this. (Congressional bill is HR482, Senate is S103 )

It’s crazy-nervous times, for sure! I hope each of us discovers ways to be advocates in these issues so the USA keeps the Geo-scientific “information highway” open and healthy.



It is indeed; crazy times, Cat. This uncertainty in the geopolitical sphere is alarming and frightening. Haven’t felt this way since the mid '50s. - It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World!!! - bob


If you are interested in learning about or helping with the dataset backup and mirroring see
On the climatemirror.org site you will find links to a GitHub project where you can participate in the backup of sites that need to be mirrored.


If only I had a server. :frowning:


You forgot “…/ delete…” :wink::grin:


Oh come on! Spend some of those millions you’re sitting on and buy a few! :laughing::wink:


As I keep telling my mother-in-law, you can’t take it with you, you’ve earned it now enjoy it and to heck with the kids inheritance-grand or otherwise- they will make their own and have a much better appreciation of it! :wink:


I cannot carry a tray without spilling the drinks, so I can’t be a “server”. Besides, I’d eat all the food!

Oh— yeah… server… that kind of server! I hear they go batty with just bits and bytes. I don’t want to contribute to server insanity. :frowning:


My daughter-in-law - back when my son was just dating her - was a waitress. My wife and I couldn’t believe it! Every time she was at our house and tried to help with the dishes, she drop and break glasses, plates and whatever! We had a limited edition set of 12 faceted glasses (and 2 extras) that we had for years. By the time she and my son got married, we were down to the 2 extras! :face_with_raised_eyebrow: She used to tell us stories of how she would drop the serving trays and food and dishes would go all over - and break. The restaurant must have really been desperate for help as they never fired her. :roll_eyes: To this day, she is still dropping (and breaking) dishes. Heck! She even breaks dishes in the dishwasher! She overfills it and a couple of things are pressing tightly against each other. As the dishwasher runs and everything get hot and expands, we suddenly hear a “pop!” or “snap!” Then we hear something fall down to the bottom. :rofl: I just say, “That’s the Cathy I remember!” :rofl:
Oh, and she always spilled drinks as well - sometimes on the customers! :rofl:


If you want to read the text of the two bills see https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/482/text
1.) My read of the bill indicates that it will not affect efforts like Tomnod, because Tomnod is not funded by the US Government.

2.) The specific language of section 3 does describe the limited databases that would be affected. Direct quote follows.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.”

I have no idea of which US agencies might collect this kind of data, but I don’t see how such data could be effectively collected using satellites.

I know you said not to make political statements but my opinion of forbidding collection of facts/observations suggests that those not wanting them to be made public are afraid of what facts/observations might show/prove.