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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Core Science Systems (CSS) Mission Area builds on the core strengths of the USGS in characterizing and understanding complex Earth and biological systems through research, modeling, mapping, and the production of high-quality data. CSS delivers natural science information to the Nation in support of smart decisionmaking.

3D Elevation Program (3DEP)

To respond to growing needs for high-quality elevation data, the goal of 3DEP is to complete the acquisition of nationwide lidar (IfSAR in AK) to provide the first-ever national baseline of consistent high-resolution elevation data – both bare earth and 3D point clouds.


Core Research Center 

The Core Research Center (CRC) was established in 1974 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to preserve valuable rock cores for use by scientists and educators from government, industry, and academia. The cylindrical sections of rock are permanently stored and available for examination and testing at the core storage and research facility in Denver, Colorado.


Science Analytics and Synthesis (SAS)

 SAS synthesizes and delivers Earth system data and information. We strive to accelerate research and decision making through data science, information delivery, advanced computing, and biodiversity analytics. SAS has developed a Five Year Science Strategy that outlines our organization's goals, research questions, and strategic activities.



The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are digital geospatial datasets that map the surface water of the United States and are a part of The National Map. Together, the NHD and WBD, along with data from the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), are processed to create the NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR).


John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis

Offering the opportunity for emergent knowledge in Earth system science through collaborative analysis and synthesis.


Land Change Science Program

Changes in the environment, land use, and climate can have significant impacts on our Nation’s economy, natural resources, infrastructure, and water, food, and energy security. To strengthen our Nation’s ability to respond and adapt to these stressors, the USGS Land Change Science Program conducts research to improve understanding of rates, causes, and consequences of climate and land-use change.


National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program

The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) is the primary source of funds for the production of geologic maps in the United States and provides accurate geologic maps and three-dimensional framework models that help to sustain and improve the quality of life and economic vitality of the Nation and to mitigate natural hazards.


National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP) to preserve and expose the Nation’s geoscience collections (samples, logs, maps, data) to promote their discovery and use for research and resource development. The National Digital Catalog describes geoscience collections managed by USGS and state geological agencies.


National Geospatial Program

The National Geospatial Program provides a foundation of digital geospatial data representing the topography, natural landscape, and built environment of the United States. These data and derived products and services can be accessed through The National Map Data Download and Visualization Services.


National Land Imaging Program

Our Nation’s economic security and environmental vitality rely on continuous monitoring of the Earth’s continents, islands, and coastal regions in order to record, study, and understand land change at local, regional, and global scales. The USGS National Land Imaging (NLI) Program helps meet this need.


USGS Library

Welcome to the largest earth science library in the world! Established in 1879 to build and organize a collection of scientific materials in the earth sciences, the U.S. Geological Survey Library is now the largest library for earth sciences in the world. The Library includes four central libraries and is part of Core Science Systems within the USGS.