Can the USGS do a survey or study of my private property?

No. The USGS Organic Act (43 U.S. Code § 31) prohibits the USGS from making surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations. On rare occasion, however, the USGS might request access to private property as part of a larger study.

If you need to engage a professional land surveyor, hydrologist, geologist, or geotechnical engineer, the following organizations should be able to identify professionals in your area who have the expertise that you need:

Learn more: Are there geologic maps or publications for where I live?

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What does the United States Geological Survey (USGS) do?

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...

Can you identify my rock or mineral?

Rocks and minerals are extremely difficult to identify through photographs. You will get the best results by taking your rock or mineral to a local source where it can be handled and examined closely. Possibilities include: Your state geological survey A natural science museum A college or university with a geology department A rockshop Members of...

How do I find, download, or order topographic maps?

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been the primary civilian mapping agency of the United States since 1879. The best known USGS maps are the 1:24,000-scale topographic maps, also known as 7.5-minute quadrangles. Download all dates and scales of USGS topographic maps free of charge from the following applications or order paper copies of all...

How do I suggest a research project for the USGS?

Unsolicited proposals for both research and research-related awards are a valuable means for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to obtain innovative methods or approaches from outside the government to accomplish our mission. In order to be considered, proposals must: Be innovative and unique, Be independently derived and developed (...

What is the USGS policy about coming onto private property to conduct research?

When conducting research on private property, United States Geological Survey (USGS) employees must comply with State and Tribal laws, including trespassing and privacy laws. USGS employees are required to obtain written permission from the landowner when conducting new research and must make the data available at the landowner's request.

Will I be able to see my house in an aerial photograph? Will enlarging the image let me see more detail?

The ability to see specific items in an aerial image is mostly a function of scale and resolution. The following aerial photography products all have a resolution of 1 meter or better, so you should be able to see an object the size of a house: High Resolution Orthoimagery (HRO) National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery Digital...

How will my house hold up in an earthquake? Can the USGS send someone out to evaluate my property?

Published maps will only provide generalized, uninterpreted information about specific areas. Every property consists of a unique combination of geologic and structural factors that must be considered to determine what might happen to a house during an earthquake. Therefore, an individual site study is necessary. Geologic factors include: type of...

What are the earthquake hazards/risks where I live?

Determining your risk with regard to earthquakes, or more precisely shaking from earthquakes, isn't as simple as finding the nearest fault. The chances of experiencing shaking from an earthquake and/or having property damage is dependent on many different factors. The National Hazard Maps use all available data to estimate the chances of shaking (...

How do I get USGS data?

The United States Geological Survey (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...

How do I contact the USGS?

For general inquiries, call 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747). You can also use this website to send us a message or to initiate a live Web chat with a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Science Information Specialist. Most of our employees are listed in our online Staff Profiles . USGS offices are located in every state. Please note, however, that most...

Under what circumstances do U.S. Geological Survey landslide personnel conduct field work in landslide-prone areas?

USGS landslide researchers have ongoing field projects in several areas of the United States, including parts of the Pacific coastal ranges, Rocky Mountains, and the Appalachians. USGS scientists also respond to major landslide events, including some that result in federally-declared disasters. In some cases, USGS scientists respond to landslides...

Are there geologic maps or publications for where I live?

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...
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