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Visiting USGS in Reston - General Introduction to the USGS


  • Established: March 3, 1879, by President Hayes on recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • First Mission: "Classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain."
  • The "national domain" was interpreted to mean all of the United States. Antarctica and the Trust Territories were added to the scope of the national domain in 1958. It was further extended in 1962 by the Secretary of the Interior to include areas of national interest.
Early Surveying
Colorado Survey Early Surveys:
1. 1867 -- Clarence King -- Fortieth Parallel.
2. 1867 -- F.V. Hayden -- Territories of the United States
3. 1869 -- Major Powell -- Colorado Canyon
4. 1872 -- Lt. George Wheeler -- West of the 100th Meridian
The USGS is the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. The USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every State by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters; contribute to the sound conservation, as well as the economic and physical development, of the Nation's natural resources; and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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Page Last Modified: Friday, October 02, 2009