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Geology Discipline staff

Peter Schweitzer's previous position description



This position is located in the Information Resources Group, Office of the Associate Chief Geologist for Program Operations, Geologic Division. The Information Resources Group formulates policy and directs and evaluates from Headquarters all segments related to geologic information dissemination and outreach.

The incumbent of this position serves as deputy to the Assistant Chief Geologist for Information of the Geologic Division. The incumbent serves as a focal point for planning and coordination of scientific data management activities across the division, and also helps represent the Division's scientific data management activities to other USGS Divisions and the Department of the Interior as directed by the Assistant Chief Geologist for Information.


  1. Coordinate Scientific Data Management Divisionwide - Working with management, research, and operational staff, incumbent clarifies goals and objectives for creating effective, integrated data products throughout the Division's scientific programs. Data management objectives include standards-based approaches to data management, data storage formats, mechanisms for search including geographic criteria, data access, visualization tools, and archiving.

    Incumbent designs, develops, deploys, and supports complete solutions (including software and hardware tools, training, and organizational strategies) that enable groups within the Division to achieve the identified objectives.

  2. Technical Management of Online Information Sources - Based on Division's needs, designs, installs, and maintains online information systems that support coordination of Division research and planning activities through internal document dissemination and collaborative communication.

  3. Technical Guidance - Provides technical expertise in earth sciences as well as data management and dissemination to the Geologic Division and its research projects. Incumbent serves as consultant and technical advisor to Division projects regarding design and translation of scientific results into data products for dissemination to a wide range of government and private sector users. Incumbent also serves as advisor to Division management regarding data and information management policy issues including compliance with federal requirements and participation in interagency efforts such as the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), and the Government Information Locator System (GILS).

  4. Representation/Liaison - Represents the Division on Bureau, and as appropriate Department and Interagency adhoc and standing committees and work groups dealing with scientific data management and standards development.

  5. Independent Studies - As permitted by priority Division needs, may conduct research and development on new or existing data resources and information technologies to forward geological research objectives of the Division, the Bureau, or both.


  1. Advanced knowledge of geology and geophysics, and related knowledge of biology sufficient to enable technical planning and internal coordination of scientific data in a major multi disciplinary research organization.

  2. Demonstrated ability to design, implement, deploy, and support computer programs and data products on MS-DOS, Macintosh, and UNIX computer systems.

  3. Demonstrated ability to administer networked multi-user UNIX computer systems, including maintenance of hardware and software and user support.

  4. Knowledge of applications, information, and processing standards related to scientific data dissemination, including requirements for formal data contained in the FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial data, common data file formats including Hierarchical Data Format (HDF), electronic document preparation formats including Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and Geologic Information Systems (GIS).

  5. Ability to establish goals and priorities that integrate organizational objective and to evaluate program progress and results. Ability to work well with others and coordinate the efforts of diverse teams.


Works under the general supervision of the Assistant Chief Geologist for Information. Within general policies, broad Division objectives, and budget limitations, incumbent functions with technical independence on a day-to-day basis. Periodically discusses status with supervisor in relation to impact on other data management activities and USGS programs. Completed work is reviewed for adherence to policy objectives and overall results.


Broadly stated written guidelines established by Division and Bureau councils, and policy statements of agency and federal coordinating committees are available and consulted. Open, published standards are employed wherever possible to solve specific problems.


Complexity derives from a variety of factors:

  1. the need to communicate effectively with specialists in multiple scientific disciplines to discover common strategies for data product generation, integration, dissemination, and support;

  2. the need to weave results of individual research programs and projects into coordinated interdisciplinary products conforming to common standards for documentation, storage, distribution, visualization, and archiving;

  3. the need to provide sophisticated scientific and technological information and technical solutions for a wide variety of data producers and users, including operating-level project staff, Division-level program coordinators, academic and industrial researchers, and the public; and

  4. the need to maintain, administer, network, and support MS-DOS, Macintosh, and UNIX computers (including UNIX system administration) and software to make research results easily accessible and interpretable by all users.

  5. changing standards for information technology in government and industry.


This position provides scientific and technical expertise and management to the Division's Information Resources Group which coordinates the information content of the Division's service to the Nation. The results of the work have a pronounced effect on the professional reputation of the Division.


Personal contacts are with top-level scientific personnel, key officials of the Bureau and the Department, and users of the Division's research results in other governmental agencies, industrial and academic research settings, and the public. Additional contacts are with personnel engaged in data management and standards development in other Federal and state agencies, the National Academy of Sciences, and various interagency and regional boards, committees, and panels.


The purpose of the contacts is (1) to determine the type and scope of technological activities required to support both the Survey's mission responsibilities and the scientific needs of other government and non-government agencies; and (2) to ensure that the scientific data products of the Division are created efficiently, relevant to the needs of others, well-documented, easily available in convenient formats, and usable in concert with related data products from other researchers, government agencies, and the public.


Primarily the work is sedentary in nature.


Work is performed primarily in an office environment, but may involve occasional participation in the field and in laboratories.

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