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Components of NGP

There are many components of the National Geospatial Program (NGP) and most of the significant ones are listed below.

Components of NGP

The National Geospatial Program (NGP) provides a foundation of digital geospatial data representing the topography, natural landscape, and manmade environment of the United States. Customers can incorporate NGP geospatial products and services into their decision-making and operational activities. NGP data and derived products and services can be accessed through The National Map Data Download and Visualization Services (TNM Viewer).  These products and services are developed by working with partners and organizations whose activities align with those of NGP. Additionally, NGP works to increase the efficiency of the Nation’s geospatial community by improving communications about geospatial data, products, services, projects, needs, standards, and best practices. and here are some of the components of the NGP.

The National Map

As one of the cornerstones of the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Geospatial Program, The National Map is a collaborative effort among the USGS and other Federal, State, and local partners to improve and deliver topographic information for the Nation. It has many uses ranging from recreation to scientific analysis to emergency response. The National Map is easily accessible for display on the Web, as products and services, and as downloadable data. The geographic information available from The National Map includes orthoimagery (aerial photographs), elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover. Other types of geographic information can be added within the viewer or brought in with The National Map data into a Geographic Information System to create specific types of maps or map views. The National Map is a significant contribution to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and currently is being transformed to better serve the geospatial community by providing high quality, integrated geospatial data and improved products and services including new generation digital topographic maps. To learn more about The National Map an introduction video is provided.

3D Elevation Program (3DEP)

The 3D Elevation Program is managed by the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Geospatial Program to respond to growing needs for high-quality topographic data and for a wide range of other three-dimensional (3D) representations of the Nation's natural and constructed features.  The goal of 3DEP is to complete 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.

National Hydrography

The USGS manages surface water and hydrologic unit geospatial data for the Nation in the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD), and NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR). The NHD represents the Nation’s rivers, streams, canals, lakes, ponds, glaciers, and other hydrologic features. The WBD represents drainage areas of the country as eight nested levels of hydrologic units. The USGS is currently developing the NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR), a scalable national hydrography framework that includes the NHD stream network, WBD hydrologic units, elevation-based drainage areas for each stream segment known as “catchments”, flow direction and flow accumulation raster files, and additional value-added attributes (VAAs) for network navigation and analysis. Hydrography data are integral to a myriad of mission critical activities undertaken by government entities, nonprofit organizations, academia, and private companies including flood modeling and prediction, water quality monitoring, conservation, natural resources management, infrastructure development, and recreational opportunities.

User Engagement

The National Map partnership network cultivates and maintains long-term relationships with partners and develops agreements for The National Map and other initiatives that support USGS science. Partnerships are the foundation of The National Map because they leverage funding across organizations as a way to provide significant cost savings, reduce redundancy in geospatial data acquisition and stewardship, and ensure the availability of common base data to a broad range of users and applications.

Board on Geographic Names

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is the Federal and national standard for geographic nomenclature. The U.S. Geological Survey developed the GNIS in support of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names as the official repository of domestic geographic names data, the official vehicle for geographic names use by all departments of the Federal Government, and the source for applying geographic names to Federal electronic and printed products.

The National Map Corps

The National Map Corps (TNMCorps) is an online crowdsourcing mapping project with volunteers successfully editing structures data in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Structures include schools, hospitals, post offices, police stations, cemeteries, and other important public buildings. By updating and verifying structures data, volunteers are making significant contributions to the USGS National Structures Dataset,  The National Map, and ultimately U.S. Topo Maps! Anyone with an interest in contributing can volunteer. It is easy to sign up and get started!  

The National Map Viewer

The National Map provides easy access to topographic information. The geographic information available from The National Map includes orthoimagery (aerial photographs), elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover. Other types of geographic information can be added within the viewer or brought in with The National Map data into a Geographic Information System to create specific types of maps or map views. 

The National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC)

The U.S. Geological Survey National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC) provides leadership and world-class technical expertise in the acquisition and management of trusted geospatial data, services, and map products for the Nation. NGTOC supports The National Map as part of the National Geospatial Program. 


The U.S. Geological Survey Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS) was created in 2006 and since that time has provided research primarily in support of The National Map. The presentations and publications of the CEGIS researchers document the research accomplishments that include advances in electronic topographic map design, generalization, data integration, map projections, sea level rise modeling, geospatial semantics, ontology, user-centered design, volunteer geographic information, and parallel and grid computing for geospatial data from The National Map

National Digital Trails

Our Nation is home to a vast network of recreational trails traveled by millions of citizens. The trails are managed by numerous organizations and jurisdictions and do not form a coherent, connected network. The overall objectives of the National Digital Trails project are to provide data and tools to enable land managers to visualize opportunities to increase the connectivity within this network.

Alaska Mapping

The Alaska Mapping Initiative is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) program to support and improve maps and digital map data for Alaska, bringing Alaska topographic map and digital map data quality in line with the conterminous United States. The goal of the Alaska Mapping Initiative (AMI) is to acquire and enhance foundational digital map layers such as elevation, surface water, and boundaries that will be used to produce new US Topo maps for Alaska. This multi-year mapping initiative will improve The National Map's Alaska data to benefit high-priority applications in safety, planning, research, and resource management.

Small-Scale Data

The 1997-2014 Edition of the National Atlas of the United States was retired in September 2014. However, The National Map (TNM) recognizes the importance of continuing to make a collection of the small-scale datasets, originally developed for the National Atlas, available to users.