Explore our planet through photography and imagery, including climate change and water all the way back to the 1800s when the USGS was surveying the country by horse and buggy.
Lush thicket of staghorn coral in the Dry Tortugas National Park
Download a Topographic map from The National Map
Example of the National Map Viewer
In 2018, USGS and partners completed an incredible feat against a harmful aquatic invasive species when over 240,000 pounds of invasive Silver Carp and Bighead Carp were removed from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri.
Reston Stable Isotope Laboratory Solid Reference Materials
Marshmallow-like formations were photographed on the Cannonball River at Regent, North Dakota (USGS streamgage 06350000) on April 3, 2018. Foam is produced naturally from organic material in the water in combination with turbulence resulting from water flowing over the weir. The cold temperatures allowed the foam to freeze into these unique marshmallow-like formations.
A stream type at the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range, Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. The stream is part of the Agashashok River watershed. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.
USGS storm-tide sensor bolted to a cement jetty on the Atlantic Ocean coast at Fire Island, New York. USGS scientists deployed over 50 sensors along the coast of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Delaware to study a Nor'easter that affected the Northeast in March of 2018.
USGS geomorphologist Pat Limber drives an all-terrain vehicle equipped with differential GPS, on Ellwood Beach in Goleta, California, collecting topographic, or elevation and contour, data. These data, accurate to about 1 inch (about 2 centimeters) both horizontally and vertically, are used to monitor seasonal beach changes.
USGS geomorphologist Pat Limber drives an all-terrain vehicle equipped with differential GPS, on San Buenaventura Beach south of Ventura Pier, Ventura California, collects topographic, or elevation and contour, data. These data, accurate to about 1 inch (about 2 centimeters) both horizontally and vertically, are used to monitor seasonal beach changes.
USGS volunteer Josh Brown on Santa Claus Beach, Carpinteria, at the start of a 14-mile walking survey of southern California beaches. The differential GPS equipment carried in the backpack collects elevation, or topographic, data of the beach, accurate to about 1 inch (2 centimeters) both horizontally and vertically. Data are used to monitor seasonal beach changes and are incorporated into...
Jackson Currie of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center drives a personal watercraft (PWC) offshore of Butterfly Beach in Montecito, California. The equipment on the PWC collects bathymetry, or depth, data which is used to map the nearshore. USGS has been mapping this area twice yearly—every spring and fall—since 2005. The data collected is incorporated into models of future...
Jackson Currie and Alex Snyder of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center drive personal watercraft (PWCs) offshore of San Ysidro and Oak Creeks, which let out onto Miramar Beach in Montecito, California. The equipment on the PWCs collects bathymetry, or depth, data which is used to map the nearshore. USGS has been mapping this area twice yearly—every spring and fall—since 2005. The...
Fresh excavation of a storm-petrel nesting burrow on an island in Humboldt County. Note the fresh dirt that has been scraped by the bird onto grass in front of the burrow entrance. Storm-petrels only visit these secretive sites nocturnally and are very difficult to monitor or study, which is why USGS biologists are using acoustic monitoring technology to detect storm-petrel vocalizations at...
USGS biologists with the Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) climb the upper slopes of False Klamath Rock, off the California coast. They are deploying acoustic monitoring devices near the nests of Ashy Storm-Petrels, an elusive, nocturnal seabird known to nest only on offshore rocks and islands throughout California and northern Baja California, Mexico. The scientists’ goal is to learn...
USGS Civil Engineer Brent Hanson measuring the streamflow of the Little Missouri River near Watford City, ND (streamgage 06337000). More information about this streamgage is available at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=06337000.
Dive Safety Officer (DSO) Jake Emmert from Moody Gardens Aquarium enters a flooded coastal cave beneath the tropical forest of the Yucatan Peninsula through a small open-water pool, locally known as a cenote. Cave diving scientists John Pohlman (USGS) and David Brankovits (USGS/WHOI) will use these entrances over the coming days to access a vast network of passages where they are...
Flow over road on way to Teton Riv nr Dutton streamgage
An acoustic monitor deployed on False Klamath Rock in Del Norte County, with snowy mountains in the background! The unit is forest green with a gray battery box and partially hidden under rocks.
View from Ogden Valley of a snow-capped mountain in Wasatch Range
Brett Tipple (University of California, Santa Cruz) collects a sample of charcoal and soil adjacent to a gully forming on a hillslope above Sonoma Creek, which was burned by the Nuns wildfire in October 2017.
John Pohlman (USGS), David Brankovits (USGS/WHOI) and Jake Emmert (MG) deploy acoustic devices in open water sinkhole (or cenote) prior to a 6-month long installation in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico cave
Ice jam on the White River near White River, SD (USGS streamgage 06447450) on March 15, 2018. Ice jams occur when floating ice carried with a stream’s current accumulate at any obstruction to the stream flow. These ice jams can develop near river bends, mouths of tributaries, areas of decreased river slope, and upstream of obstructions like bridges. Ice jams can cause upstream flooding when...