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History and Evaluation of the NCGMP

Mandated by the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992, in partnership with the Association of American State Geologists (AASG), the NCGMP represents over two decades of successful cooperation among Federal (FEDMAP), State (STATEMAP), and university (EDMAP) partners to deliver digital geologic maps to customers via the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB).

These four components of the NCGMP share the common responsibility to expedite the production of a geologic database for the Nation, so that appropriate geologic maps can be developed containing information applicable to land-use management, assessment, and utilization and/or conservation of natural resources, groundwater management, natural hazards, and environmental protection.

The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program was created by the National Geologic Mapping Act (NGMA) of 1992 Public Law (P.L.) 102-285. After passage of the NGMA of 1992, Congress reauthorized the Act in 199719992009, and 2019 (Public Laws 105-36, 106-148, 111-11, and 116-9 respectively). The latest reauthorization (P.L. 117-58) in 2021 authorizes the program through 2031.

In response to the NGMA, the following events have occurred:

  • The matching-funds program component with State geological surveys (STATEMAP) was fully implemented in FY 1996, although a limited amount of funding was distributed earlier;
  • The EDMAP matching-funds cooperative with universities was implemented in FY 1996;
  • The NCGMP Federal Advisory Committee first met in 1996;
  • The National Geologic Map Database was implemented as a digital database in 1996;
  • The Digital Geologic Mapping Committee, which represents all of the State geological surveys and works with the NCGMP to establish digital geologic map standards for the National Geologic Map Database, had its first annual Digital Mapping Techniques workshop in 1997; and
  • The first NCGMP five-year strategic plan was released in 2000, and the second five-year plan was released in 2007.

A key partner in geologic mapping efforts across the Nation is the Association of American State Geologists (AASG).  The USGS and AASG work together (see Memorandum of Agreement) to balance the priorities for Federal and State geologic mapping  and to develop cooperative USGS-State geological survey mapping activities. 

The reports of the National Research Council (NRC) in the 1980s on the USGS and its geologic mapping effort helped shape the scope and direction of the future NCGMP:

Further guidance and reports have informed the future of NCGMP:

NCGMP Program Evaluation

The efficiency and effectiveness of the NCGMP is monitored and evaluated regularly by several methods, including:

Federal Advisory Committee

Government Performance and Results Act

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) was enacted to hold Federal agencies accountable for achieving program results; to improve internal management, program effectiveness, public accountability, and delivery of services; and to provide information on program effectiveness and efficiency.

NCGMP annual GPRA measures:

  • Cumulative Outcome Measure:  Percent of the United States covered (square miles) by at least one geologic map (with a scale of 1:100,000 or more detailed) and made available to the public through the National Geologic Map Database. 
  • Output Measure:  Annual production of geologic maps for the Nation (summed and represented as percent of the U.S. land area = 3,537,438.44 square miles) made available to the public through the National Geologic Map Database.