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Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data

The USGS provides the mapping and digital geospatial foundation for the Nation.

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What is The National Map Structures Tint?

The National Map’s Structures Tint dataset represents manmade structures using broad-area tints rather than defining the exact shape of individual buildings. The data was provided by Oak Ridge National Labs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.This dataset was introduced in 2021 and is designed for use at the 1:24,000 scale (the standard scale for USGS topographic maps) or smaller. While...

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What is The National Map Structures Tint?

The National Map’s Structures Tint dataset represents manmade structures using broad-area tints rather than defining the exact shape of individual buildings. The data was provided by Oak Ridge National Labs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.This dataset was introduced in 2021 and is designed for use at the 1:24,000 scale (the standard scale for USGS topographic maps) or smaller. While...

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Can I donate a map that isn't already in the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection?

The USGS will gladly accept donations of digital, scanned copies of historical topographic maps (published 1884-2006) that are not in our current Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC). We do not accept donations of paper maps.Donated products must be published USGS topographic maps, 1:250,000 scale or larger, with basic required metadata included. Before submitting map donations to the USGS...

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Can I donate a map that isn't already in the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection?

The USGS will gladly accept donations of digital, scanned copies of historical topographic maps (published 1884-2006) that are not in our current Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC). We do not accept donations of paper maps.Donated products must be published USGS topographic maps, 1:250,000 scale or larger, with basic required metadata included. Before submitting map donations to the USGS...

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How do I use a scale factor with Landsat Level-2 science products?

A scale factor must be applied to both Collection 1 and Collection 2 Landsat Level-2 surface reflectance and surface temperature products before using the data. Please note: Landsat Collection 1 and Collection 2 level-2 science products have different scaling factors, fill values, and are different data types (see table).Users can apply a scale factor to the science products via a data script...

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How do I use a scale factor with Landsat Level-2 science products?

A scale factor must be applied to both Collection 1 and Collection 2 Landsat Level-2 surface reflectance and surface temperature products before using the data. Please note: Landsat Collection 1 and Collection 2 level-2 science products have different scaling factors, fill values, and are different data types (see table).Users can apply a scale factor to the science products via a data script...

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What happened to the Gridfloat, ArcGrid, and IMG formats for elevation data in The National Map?

USGS elevation data available through The National Map was converted to Cloud Optimized Geotiff (COG - GeoTIFF) format in mid-December, 2019. This change was made to improve product processing time, storage, and to support new and evolving cloud processing capabilities. GeoTIFF is a widely supported raster format and is directly useable by most commercial software that reads or processes Digital...

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What happened to the Gridfloat, ArcGrid, and IMG formats for elevation data in The National Map?

USGS elevation data available through The National Map was converted to Cloud Optimized Geotiff (COG - GeoTIFF) format in mid-December, 2019. This change was made to improve product processing time, storage, and to support new and evolving cloud processing capabilities. GeoTIFF is a widely supported raster format and is directly useable by most commercial software that reads or processes Digital...

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When do I need an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account to access Landsat data in the cloud? Is there a cost for that?

Landsat data continue to be freely available through traditional USGS tools such as EarthExplorer, but if you prefer to access the data in the cloud, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account is required. Landsat data are available in the cloud via the AWS Oregon us-west-2 region. There is no charge for the Landsat data, but charges from the cloud vendor might apply for any storage, processing, and...

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When do I need an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account to access Landsat data in the cloud? Is there a cost for that?

Landsat data continue to be freely available through traditional USGS tools such as EarthExplorer, but if you prefer to access the data in the cloud, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account is required. Landsat data are available in the cloud via the AWS Oregon us-west-2 region. There is no charge for the Landsat data, but charges from the cloud vendor might apply for any storage, processing, and...

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Are Landsat data in the cloud still considered to be within the public domain?

Yes. Regardless of how it is accessed, Landsat data are controlled by the USGS and considered to be an official USGS record in the public domain. Permission is not required for use. We do request that you acknowledge the USGS as the source. Learn More: USGS Copyrights and Credits statement Landsat Commercial Cloud Data Access

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Are Landsat data in the cloud still considered to be within the public domain?

Yes. Regardless of how it is accessed, Landsat data are controlled by the USGS and considered to be an official USGS record in the public domain. Permission is not required for use. We do request that you acknowledge the USGS as the source. Learn More: USGS Copyrights and Credits statement Landsat Commercial Cloud Data Access

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How do I use Quality Assessment (QA) bands that are delivered with Landsat products?

Some Landsat products include Quality Assessment (QA) bands with unsigned integers that represent bit-packed information for each pixel. Details for individual products are at: Landsat Level-1 (Collection 1 and Collection2) Landsat Level-2 Surface Reflectance Landsat Level-2 Provisional Aquatic Reflectance These files must be unpacked to a binary form to be used effectively. The bit-packed...

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How do I use Quality Assessment (QA) bands that are delivered with Landsat products?

Some Landsat products include Quality Assessment (QA) bands with unsigned integers that represent bit-packed information for each pixel. Details for individual products are at: Landsat Level-1 (Collection 1 and Collection2) Landsat Level-2 Surface Reflectance Landsat Level-2 Provisional Aquatic Reflectance These files must be unpacked to a binary form to be used effectively. The bit-packed...

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Where can I find a topographic map symbol sheet?

Like topographic maps, topographic map symbols have evolved over time. There is no single document that describes all the symbols used on all USGS topographic maps since they were first created. Maps published 2013-present: US Topo maps (PDF format only) have a topographic symbol sheet attached to the map file. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and click on the paperclip icon.Maps published 1947...

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Where can I find a topographic map symbol sheet?

Like topographic maps, topographic map symbols have evolved over time. There is no single document that describes all the symbols used on all USGS topographic maps since they were first created. Maps published 2013-present: US Topo maps (PDF format only) have a topographic symbol sheet attached to the map file. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and click on the paperclip icon.Maps published 1947...

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Does the USGS have 1:50,000-scale maps, like the military uses, for the United States? 

The USGS has a limited number of 1:50,000-scale maps available for the United States. These are maps that the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) has released for sale to the public.  To see which maps are available for sale (or free digital download), go to the online USGS Store: Click on “Maps” in the left navigation menu.Look for the NGA Foreign Maps button (includes domestic NGA maps).In the...

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Does the USGS have 1:50,000-scale maps, like the military uses, for the United States? 

The USGS has a limited number of 1:50,000-scale maps available for the United States. These are maps that the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) has released for sale to the public.  To see which maps are available for sale (or free digital download), go to the online USGS Store: Click on “Maps” in the left navigation menu.Look for the NGA Foreign Maps button (includes domestic NGA maps).In the...

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What updates are being made in Landsat Collection 2?

Landsat Collection 2 marks the second major reprocessing event of the USGS Landsat archive. Continuing the tiered collection management structure implemented in Landsat Collection 1, Landsat Collection 2 introduces several advancements in data processing, algorithm development, as well as data access and distribution capabilities, including: Improved per-pixel geodetic accuracy by incorporating...

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What updates are being made in Landsat Collection 2?

Landsat Collection 2 marks the second major reprocessing event of the USGS Landsat archive. Continuing the tiered collection management structure implemented in Landsat Collection 1, Landsat Collection 2 introduces several advancements in data processing, algorithm development, as well as data access and distribution capabilities, including: Improved per-pixel geodetic accuracy by incorporating...

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What is the naming convention for Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 and Level-2 scenes?

The naming convention for Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 products remains the same as in Collection 1. While most of Landsat Collection 2 scenes are produced to both Surface Reflectance (SR) and Surface Temperature (ST), a small number of scenes cannot be processed to ST due to missing auxiliary data. The naming convention of Landsat Collection 2 Level-2 products indicates the data included for each...

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What is the naming convention for Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 and Level-2 scenes?

The naming convention for Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 products remains the same as in Collection 1. While most of Landsat Collection 2 scenes are produced to both Surface Reflectance (SR) and Surface Temperature (ST), a small number of scenes cannot be processed to ST due to missing auxiliary data. The naming convention of Landsat Collection 2 Level-2 products indicates the data included for each...

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Will Landsat Collection 1 data products remain available?

Landsat Collection 1 products will remain available for search and download through December 31, 2022.Landsat Collection 1 processing of Level-1, Level-2 Surface Reflectance and Surface Temperature; U.S. Landsat ARD; and Level-3 Burned Area, Dynamic Surface Water Extent, and Fractional Snow Cover Area products will continue through December 31, 2021, concurrent with Landsat Collection 2 processing...

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Will Landsat Collection 1 data products remain available?

Landsat Collection 1 products will remain available for search and download through December 31, 2022.Landsat Collection 1 processing of Level-1, Level-2 Surface Reflectance and Surface Temperature; U.S. Landsat ARD; and Level-3 Burned Area, Dynamic Surface Water Extent, and Fractional Snow Cover Area products will continue through December 31, 2021, concurrent with Landsat Collection 2 processing...

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