Frequently Asked Questions

Data, Tools, and Technology

The USGS has developed many tools and techniques for analyzing data and specialized websites for sharing information and products with the public.

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Geologic Map
Detailed geologic mapping has not been completed for the entire United States, but maps are available for most locations. Geologic maps at many scales and from many sources are listed in the National Geologic Map Database. Some geologic maps can be purchased in hard copy through the USGS Store. Download digital geologic maps for entire states from...
Loch Vale lake at Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.
Our National Parks are the showcases of our nation's geological heritage. The National Park Service has websites for most individual parks which include information about their geology and natural history.  A source of information from the USGS is our Geology and Ecology of National Parks website. The website has listings for regions of the...
Men sitting around a table beside a wagon in 1870 Wyoming
A number of images from the "Great Surveys of the American West" can be downloaded through the online USGS Photographic Library. Before the USGS was established by Congress as a part of the Department of Interior, four surveys of the western United States took place between 1867 and 1879. Surveys led by Ferdinand Hayden and John Wesley Powell were...
Image: USGS Topographic Field Party
The USGS Photographic Library, located at our library in Denver, Colorado, is an archive of still photographs dating from the 1870s and taken by USGS scientists as part of their field studies. The works of pioneer photographers W.H. Jackson, T.H. O’Sullivan, Carleton Watkins, J.K. Hillers, Thomas Moran, A.J. Russell, E.O. Beaman, and William Bell...
Idaho Water Science Center publications
Most USGS publications are available in free PDF format through the USGS Publications Warehouse. They are copyright-free, and can be printed at home or at a commercial print shop. If you don't have access to a printer, some USGS reports can be purchased in printed format through the online USGS Store.
Publications Warehouse
Out-of-print USGS publications and maps, depending on series and date, can be obtained in various ways: Check the USGS Publications Warehouse for online availability. If the publication is listed but does not have a link to a digital version, contact the Publications Warehouse Team to request a digital copy. Borrow from your local public, academic...
Photo showing a variety of USGS publications
USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain and can be freely used without permission. All we ask is that you acknowledge the USGS as the source. While the content of most USGS webpages is in the U.S. public domain, not all information, illustrations, or photographs on our site are. Some non-USGS...
Image: Treasures of the USGS Library: Rare Book Room
The USGS Publications Warehouse is an online catalog for searching all USGS publications and downloading free digital versions. USGS Libraries contain sets of all USGS publications plus many state geological survey publications. The public go in person to any USGS library to do research, but USGS library materials can only be borrowed by placing a...