In Spatial Data Infrastructure or Cyber Infrastructure, the description of geographic data semantics is intended to support data discovery, reuse and integration. In the vast majority of cases the producers of these data generate descriptions based on particular understandings of what uses the data are good for. This producer-oriented perspective means that the descriptions often do not help to answer the question of whether a data set is of use for a consumer who might want to apply it in a different context. In this paper, we discuss the role geographic information observatories can play in providing an infrastructure for observing the context of data use by consumers. These observations of data pragmatics lead to operational statistical methods that will support better fitness-for-use assessment. Finally, we highlight some of the challenges to building these observatories, and briefly discuss strategies to address those challenges.