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What are the differences between data, a dataset, and a database?

  • Data are observations or measurements (unprocessed or processed) represented as text, numbers, or multimedia.
  • A dataset is a structured collection of data generally associated with a unique body of work.
  • A database is an organized collection of data stored as multiple datasets. Those datasets are generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system that allows the data to be easily accessed, manipulated, and updated. 

Explore USGS data using our Science Data Catalog.