What USGS products are already publicly available?

As the Nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, we have numerous types of products. Most of these--including data, tools, maps, and publications--are publicly available through our website. Almost all digital materials can be downloaded at no cost to the public.   

For information about the availability of USGS products and data, contact USGS Science Information Services by phone (1-888-275-8747, option 2), Live Chat, or Email.

Frequently-accessed product websites include:

  • Map Locator on the USGS Store - download free digital topographic maps (current and historical) or order paper maps (for a fee). Find maps by entering a zip code, an address, or navigating on an interactive map. Send questions to usgsstore@usgs.gov or call 1-888-275-8747.

  • Science Data Catalog (SDC) - central access to USGS research and monitoring data from across the nation. Search USGS data plus original metadata describing purpose, scope, structure, and provenance. The SDC also publishes content to downstream federal catalogs, including data.gov.

  • USGS ScienceBase Catalog - a collection of formally released datasets and data products that the USGS created or managed. Facilitates public data sharing and helps establish links to associated publications and projects. Tutorials explain how to navigate and search ScienceBase information. Also see the Sciencebase FAQs. Example: data releases for Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana Pretiosa) monitoring at Jack Creek 2015 and in the Oregon Cascades 2012-2015.

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When should I use a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request information?

All USGS products and publications are in the public domain. Most are readily available for free download on our website. Before launching a potentially time-consuming Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, make sure that the information you need cannot be easily obtained by immediate means. Visit the USGS website , explore our FOIA Reading...

How do I request information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

There are several ways to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request: Submit a request through the National FOIA Portal . Use the Department of the Interior’s FOIA Request Form . Email your request to foia@usgs.gov . Put “Freedom of Information Act Request” in the subject line. Write a letter to the USGS FOIA Office using one of the...

What information should I include in my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

While you are not required to give a reason for your request, you should be as specific as possible when describing the records that you seek. That will produce faster and better results. Phrases like “any and all” can significantly delay the processing time and potentially increase your processing fee. Prior to submitting your request, we suggest...

Is there a cost for obtaining federal records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

By law, the USGS is authorized to charge Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing fees to requesters in order to recover the direct costs of search, review, and duplication of requested records. The fees depend on the requester category into which you fall. If the total costs of supplying the requested information is less than $50, the USGS...

What information/data is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

Information/data that is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) includes: Non-agency records and personal records. Public requests for access to physical artifacts or scientific samples (e.g. core samples, sediment, rocks, fossils, specimen samples, blood samples). Access to some samples can be arranged through our laboratories...

What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine...

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...

How do I get a paper copy of a USGS online document?

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 .

How can I find out-of-print USGS publications?

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...

How can I find publications of the USGS?

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...
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sample storage
June 30, 2016

National Geochemical Sample Archive

USGS National Geochemical Sample Archive in Denver, Colorado.

Stacks of organized boxes containing trays of archived samples splits in the National Geochemical Sample Archive, Denver, CO.

Archived samples splits in the National Geochemical Sample Archive

Stacks of organized boxes containing trays of archived samples splits in the National Geochemical Sample Archive, Denver, CO.

Image: On File at the Field Records Collection
April 1, 2008

On File at the Field Records Collection

The Field Records Collection in Denver houses materials generated from nearly 130 years of scientific investigations by more than 1200 scientists. The Denver Library, Field Records Collection includes approximately 24,000 notebooks (pictured) and files, 6000 map groups, and 80,000 aerial photographs Materials are stored in various vertical files, rolling files, map files,

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Graphic - Archives
April 3, 2018

Graphic - Archives

Graphic - Archive

Image: New Accessions Arriving at Field Records
April 1, 2008

New Accessions Arriving at Field Records

Materials arrive from across the country to be accessioned and processed at the Denver Library, Field Records Collection. Geologic Discipline scientists are encouraged to deposit their project materials and with the Field Records Collection. Materials in the collection are managed as Federal records to ensure ongoing access in perpetuity for future researchers.

Image: Records Preservation
April 9, 2009

Records Preservation

Older materials and recently arrived items in the Field Records Collection are in various states of preservation and documentation. In the current reorganization project, items are inventoried for content, transferred to archival storage containers, and archived as shelf items (notebooks and file folders), flat files (maps and diagrams), or in rolls (large-format maps and

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USGS
April 5, 2011

Treasures of the USGS Library

Since its creation in 1882, the USGS Library has grown to become the world's largest library dedicated to earth and natural sciences, holding more than 1.5 million volumes and 800,000 maps. Richard Huffine, Director of the USGS Libraries Program, will highlight some of the rarest, most valuable, and significant materials held by the USGS. These include early maps of