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Land Remote Sensing Archive Collection Policy

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center is the largest civilian archive of remotely sensed imagery in the world. The USGS EROS was created to identify, collect, preserve, and make available land-based, observational, land use / land cover, and elevation data.

The collection policy is based on the concept of maintaining data collections that serve environmental, agricultural, mapping, energy, economics, and global change research communities in addition to the general public. Once collections are formally accepted by the USGS, the records become the responsibility and property of the USGS. Collections accepted by the USGS may ultimately be transferred to other entities such as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), when deemed appropriate by the USGS.


The USGS EROS Center Archive focuses on collections that best support land research activities for the Nation.


We focus on collections that are publicly available, long-term, consistent, and or collected systematically with repetitive coverage. 

Additionally, collections may be acquired by the USGS if they: 

• provide a historical record of the land surface (base data for comparison). 

• can be accepted within USGS EROS Archive funding limitations and processing capabilities. Cooperative funding agreements are welcome. 

• are of important informational or intrinsic value. 


First: U.S. land surfaces 

Second: land surfaces of various locations worldwide


No classified imagery collections. 

No oceanic or atmospheric collections beyond those intended primarily for land applications. 

Appraisals and Dispositions 

Appraisals are a standard part of USGS work processes and are conducted on every collection considered or offered. Collections to be disposed of may be transferred to NARA, donated to another acceptable organization, or destroyed.