Environmental Data Standards

Data sharing is an important aspect of sound environmental management. Together, States, Tribes, Territories, and EPA face the critical and ongoing challenge of sharing information among themselves, their respective stakeholders, and with the public. Data standards are fundamental to the seamless exchange of data and they help improve the ability of Partners to exchange data efficiently and accurately. They also assist secondary data users understand, interpret, and use data appropriately.

Environmental data standards are documented agreements on representations, formats, and definitions of common environmental data. They improve the quality and share-ability of environmental data by increasing data compatibility, improving the consistency and efficiency of data collection, and reducing data redundancy. They also provide a common vocabulary for citizens, local governments, States, Territories, Tribes, Federal Agencies, and private-sector organizations to communicate about environmental data. More information is available in Data Standards Frequently Asked Questions.

The Exchange Network Leadership Council (ENLC) considers development and adoption of a data standard to improve environmental data sharing among Partners, when there is an environmental management business reason and Partners are ready to lead the development.  The ENLC supports development of environmental data standards either through the formation of an ENLC-sponsored IPT or through independent external authorities (e.g., recognized standard-setting bodies, Tribal-State-Federal organization, etc.). The ENLC manages an inclusive Data Standards Life-Cycle Process for developing data standards. The ENLC-approved Exchange Network Environmental Data Standards follow: