Frequently Asked Questions

Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data

The USGS provides the mapping and digital geospatial foundation for the Nation.

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Screen shot of streams near the Dillon Reservoir, Frisco, CO on imagery basemap
A complete list of service URLs can be found at The National Map-Service Endpoints website, which contains available REST, WMS, WMTS (cached base maps only), WFS, WCS, and other service links.
Screen shot of the Topo TNM Style Template customized to the Park Place, Texas 7.5-minute Quadrangle
The "Error: Inventory request failure" message occurs if our ScienceBase catalog database is not responding to download requests. To ensure data integrity, the Science Base catalog is shut down for nightly backup at 11:00 pm Mountain time, which takes 1-2 hours. If you find that the message is still occurring even after the allotted two hours,...
A multicolored lidar image of the Great Sand Dunes
If you use the Mozilla Thunderbird email client, download links through an 'ftp' protocol might return empty files. The work-around is a procedure to associate ftp links in Thunderbird with a Web browser (such as Chrome), which then allows links to open and correctly download. Use this procedure at your own discretion:  Open the Thunderbird...
National Map Viewer
Yes, direct access is provided via browsable links through our FTP Server and Amazon's Cloud. Navigate to the appropriate theme folders to access staged products for download.
Landsat satellite dish inside radome at USGS EROS
An error that times out the Web browser can sometimes occur after clicking on a download link. You might be able to open the archive (.zip) file by refreshing your screen. In the case of an incomplete download, first clear your browser history to avoid the cache interfering with subsequent future attempts. Then use Ctrl+F5 keys to refresh the...
National Land Cover Database (NLCD)
Download a set of scripts to help in the transition of raster data to different file formats. These scripts require either Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL) or ESRI ArcGIS software for raster data file conversions. Documentation is under the 'How_To' folder. Learn more: The National Map Training Videos The National Map Quick Start Guide...
National Elevation Dataset
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a way for developers to interface with data. The National Map (TNM) has one API (TNMAccess) that provides access to all TNM downloadable products that are available to the public through the Download Client.  Developers can use HTTP GET and POST requests to directly access products, or the light...
The legacy National Map Viewer being retired on September 29, 2017
Data from The National Map is free and in the public domain. There are no restrictions on downloaded data; however, we request that the following statement be used when citing, copying, or reprinting data: "Data available from U.S. Geological Survey, National Geospatial Program." Learn more: USGS Copyrights and Credits Statement
The National Map Viewer Quick Start Guide can be found here.  For information on downloading, please visit the Download and Cart portion of the guide.  Tutorial videos are also available.
1. To request bulk elevation data, please email and provide the following: Your contact information (address, phone number, and email address). Product(s) you are requesting. Requested data format(s). 2. An email will be sent to you containing the following information: Job ID Number. Size estimates for requested data. External...
Satellite image of Cape Hope, Northern Canada
Graphics showing 3DEP product availability and recent updates can be found on the 3DEP Product Availability Web page. Areas containing recent updates are refreshed monthly. Spatial metadata shapefiles showing the updated areas for each product are also available for download from the 3DEP Product MetadataWeb page. Product updates can be acquired...
3D Rendering of part of Grand Tetons National Park
The Elevation Point Query Service in The National Map returns elevations that are interpolated from the 1/3 arc-second 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEM dataset. Spot elevations are not official and do not represent precisely measured ground surveyed values.  Spot elevations derived for a specific location using the Elevation Point Query Service ...