Frequently Asked Questions

About USGS

The USGS is the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. We provide science about natural resource conditions and problems.

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young students examine dated tree cross section
The USGS has some great science fair ideas related to earthquakes. Find inspiration for projects on other science topics by browsing the USGS Education website.
citizen scientist fieldwork
As a science agency for the United States government, the USGS serves all United States citizens. The USGS can only be “joined” by its employees, but citizens can get involved in USGS research through its Citizen Science programs. Additional Citizen Science opportunites are listed here. Keep up with the latest USGS science by subscribing to our...
Image: USGS Scientist is Interviewed by Media at the Flooded Souris River
Please see the following sources: USGS News Releases News Releases by state Media Contacts
A USGS scientist leads field trip
The USGS does not have a formal program for providing field trips or classes. USGS employees will sometimes lead field trips or teach classes that are coordinated through an outside organization, but these are not advertised by the USGS. The USGS also has many published field-trip guides to geologic areas. Use the USGS Publications Warehouse to...
Northwest Washington Field Office
Very few USGS offices are set up to accommodate visitors. Before stopping by a USGS office, you should check their website or call ahead to make sure that visitors are welcome. There are USGS offices in each state. Members of the public are welcome to use libraries that are located at some USGS offices, but materials can only be checked out...
Image: Volunteers Monitor Bird and Beach Health
Volunteers assist on some USGS projects. In all cases, the volunteers are carefully trained. Then they are supervised by a federal employee while they work. In addition, to ensure quality-control, their data are checked by USGS supervisors. Volunteers must abide by the same rules, regulations, policies, and laws as employees.
Volunteer Information Program logo with badges
The Volunteer.gov website is the best starting point for volunteer positions with the United States federal government. However, many USGS volunteer positions are not formally announced, so they do not appear on that site. You could try contacating a local USGS office directly to ask about possible volunteer opportunities. Another way to get...
Image shows a man leaning over two laptop computers
The USGS provides data on many different science topics. Most of it can be downloaded for free from our website. Our Science Data Catalog is a good starting point. If you are looking for a particular data set and cannot find it through Internet searches or our Science Data Catalog, please call USGS Science Information Services toll-free at 1-888-...
Pacific Region Map with Science Centers and Major Offices 2
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has offices in every state. The USGS Headquarters office is located in Reston, Virginia.  
USGS Nebraska Water Science Center office, Lincoln, Nebr.
For general inquiries, call 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747) or use this website to send us a message or to initiate a live Web chat with a USGS Science Information Specialist. If you know the name of the person that you would like to contact, look them up using the USGS Employee Directory. USGS offices are located in every state. Please note,...
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The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a science bureau within the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS provides science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on; the health of our ecosystems and environment; and the impacts of climate...
Measuring water levels at a Summit Springs Canyon well in the Black Rock National Conservation Area, Nev.
The USGS is a Federal science agency in the U.S. Department of the Interior that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and...