About the Global Change Information System

The National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) recommended in 2013 that the NCA process “manage data to maximize utility and transparency.” The report also highlighted the importance of “developing a comprehensive web-based system to deploy and manage global change information and present it in a way that can be used by and benefit scientists, the public, and decision-makers.” To achieve these goals, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) established the Global Change Information System (GCIS). GCIS coordinates and integrates information about changes in the global environment and related societal effects, with a focus on Federal information products.

The GCIS, which continues to be managed and curated by USGCRP, is an open-source, web-based resource designed for use by scientists, decision makers, and the public. It links together a network of information, including organizations, datasets, and research, especially those products maintained and disseminated by government agencies and organizations. GCIS serves as a key access point to assessments, reports, and tools produced by the USGCRP – and the native data underpinning all of them. In addition, the GCIS guides users to global change research produced by the 13 USGCRP member agencies.

Global Change

For the purposes of the GCIS, “global change” refers to changes in the global environment that may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life. Global change encompasses climate change, but it also includes other critical drivers of environmental change that may interact with climate change, such as land use change, the alteration of the water cycle, changes in biogeochemical cycles, and biodiversity loss.

Global change information is structured using the GCIS data model; this data model represents relationships and entities such as reports, report chapters, figures, images, tables, bibliographic entries, organizations and people.

External Standards & Resources


GCIS makes use of external identifiers such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), ORCIDs, ISBNs, ISSNs. ISBN resolution is handled through WorldCat. They may also utilize identifiers created for other aggregator systems, such as Data.gov identifiers. When GCIS must create its own identifier, it may utilize a Universally Unique Identifiers (UUIDs) when no human-readable identifier is reasonable.


GCIS utilizes W3C provenance to represent some relationships inside of GCIS. In particular, GCIS utilizes PROV-O and CiTO verbs.


GCIS is written in Perl using the Mojolicious web framework, the Rose::DB Database interface, and many other fine modules from the CPAN. It relies on PostgreSQL for data storage.

Map inserts are supported by OpenStreetMap data with MapBox tiles and implementation through LeafletJS.

Data Export Formats

GCIS offers a multitude of human- and machine-readable data export formats, defaulting with the HTML pages. Publication pages can be downloaded as JSON and YAML data, the semantic formats Turtle, N-Triples, JSON Triples, RDF+XML, and RDF+JSON, and visual representations in Graphiz, and SVG of the semantic mapping. Additionally, the data Array(s) behind Table Publications may be downloaded as CSV. List pages can be downloaded as JSON, YAML, or CSV formatted data.

Development Team

Bradley Akamine : Chief Digital Officer Reid Sherman : Technical Lead Kathryn Tipton : Software Engineer Amrutha Elamparuthy : Data Manager Reuben Aniekwu : Intern Complete Contributor List

GCIS Version


Contacting us and contributing

If you're interested in contributing to the development and evolution of the Global Change Information System, please subscribe to our mailing list.

GCIS is also on GitHub, and we welcome contributions to the source code.

If you have other comments, questions, or feedback about the GCIS please use the form below.