Pinpointing America’s Geothermal Resources With Open Source Data

on July 17, 2015 at 5:00 PM
Geothermally Heated Water Well 13995

A geothermally-heated greenhouse just west of Newcastle, Utah. The National Geothermal Data System — a new, interactive open source data tool — is helping researchers and industry identify more geothermal resources across America. | Photo by Robert Blackett, NREL.

When it comes to harnessing America’s vast geothermal energy resources, knowing where to look is half the battle.

Geothermal energy — the heat contained within the earth — represents a growing part of the country’s clean energy mix. Still, for continued growth of this industry, gaining easy access to reliable, comprehensive geothermal data remains a critical barrier.

To help solve this challenge, the Energy Department is partnering with the Arizona Geological Survey — among other public and private sector contributors — to create the National Geothermal Data System at This interactive, open source database provides project developers and other industry partners with the critical information they need to cut the time to identify and develop new production areas and reduce upfront discovery costs.

The National Geothermal Data System collects data from a growing number of key sources — including university research centers, state geological surveys and private industry. The system provides updates on the latest industry statistics — from information on geology, faults and seismicity to details on heat flow, temperature and well characteristics. Over the past year, the data system has added information from more than one million oil, gas, water and geothermal wells, and expects to include data from at least three million wells by the end of the year.

In addition, the data system features interactive maps and data sets that make it easy for project developers and researchers to customize the data to their needs. Just as important — the data system’s open source standards and protocols can be leveraged by software developers to create innovative apps and tools that adapt to this evolving U.S. energy industry.

With its comprehensive, growing suite of interactive, open data tools, the National Geothermal Data System helps the geothermal industry know exactly where to look. As America’s geothermal industry continues on the path forward, this important new data set is helping U.S. companies get the data they need to grow our nation’s domestic energy production.

Check out the National Geothermal Data System and find more information on its interactive tools at

To learn more about the building blocks of geothermal energy technology — take a look at our Geothermal Basics page.