My company has collected about 30 TBs of GIS data over the past 8 years, and I always find myself asking the following questions:
- What type of data do we have for a given geographic area?
- What are the details about that data (e.g., resolution in meters per pixel)?
- Where does the data exist on the hard drive so I can actually use it?
- Have we processed the data already, or is it in an unaltered form from the source?
Up to and including now, I have attempted to address these questions by devising an appropriate folder and file taxonomy/hierarchy. Does anyone have any ideas/suggestions on some understandable, perhaps even standard ways of organizing GIS data using files and folders?
I am also open to learning more about how using a database might benefit my company; we are software developers, not GIS experts, so I suspect we're quite a bit behind the curve on how best to approach the problem of storing/organizing GIS data for ease of use. I did see the question Best practices for managing geospatial data but was only able to draw marginal use out of the answers because I am so unfamiliar with geodatabases.
UPDATE: This last week I spent a fair bit of time reading about GIS databases, and got started familiarizing myself with PostGIS. Long-term, I think we will end up moving towards employment of a database plus metadata server as recommended by JasonBirch in Best practices for managing geospatial data.