Mission Areas

Core Science Systems

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Filter Total Items: 35
Image: Treasures of the USGS Library: Rare Book Room
Date Published: April 12, 2016

The USGS Library, managed by CSAS&L, supports all fundamental scientific research conducted within USGS. It serves both internal and external customers with comprehensive access to literature, data, and information necessary understand USGS mission areas and make critical decisions about how to proceed with research initiatives and investigations in the earth and natural sciences.

USGS Topographic Maps
Date Published: April 11, 2016

The USGS took over responsibility for mapping the country in 1879 and has been the primary civilian mapping agency of the United States ever since. The best known USGS maps are the 1:24,000-scale topographic maps, also known as 7.5-minute quadrangles. More than 55,000 7.5-minute maps were made to cover the 48 conterminous States.

The National Map Logo
Date Published: April 11, 2016

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.

Date Published: April 11, 2016

This U.S. Geological Survey project consists of two primary studies about long-term land-cover change in the Delaware River Basin, particularly in Pennsylvania. The objectives for these projects were to address and quantify predominant affects and outcomes of land-surface change in urbanizing areas.

Date Published: April 11, 2016

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.

125 Years
Date Published: April 8, 2016

U.S. Geological Survey: a History of the National Program for Topographic Mapping (1884–2009) Topographic maps became a signature product of the USGS because the public found them - then and now - to be a critical and versatile tool for viewing the nation's vast landscape.

Magnifying glass highlighting text Community for Data Integration
Date Published: April 8, 2016

The CDI is a collaboration of USGS scientists, data managers, policy experts, and other organizations that promote data integration capabilities and data management best practices. It is an instrumental community of practice for leveraging expertise and resources to test new technologies and institutionalize best practices.

Standards and Specs
Date Published: April 7, 2016

Standards and specifications are essential to facilitate the development and sharing of geospatial data and products. The USGS standards and specifications define the requirements to ensure that all products and data prepared by the USGS under the National Geospatial Program are consistent in accuracy, structure, format, style, and content.

BGN logo
Date Published: April 7, 2016

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is the Federal standard for geographic names. 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 for the Federal Government, and the source for applying geographic names to Federal electronic and printed products.

Date Published: April 7, 2016

USGS topographic maps originally published on paper in the period 1884-2006 have been scanned and published as PDF documents. This collection is of topographic quadrangle maps with scales between 1:10,000 and 1:250,000. These historic documents are downloadable free of charge through several interfaces.

Date Published: April 7, 2016

Using crowd-sourcing techniques, the US Geological Survey’s Volunteered Geographic Information project known as “The National Map Corps (TNMCorps)” encourages citizen volunteers to collect and edit data about man-made structures in an effort to provide accurate and authoritative spatial map data for the USGS National Geospatial Program’s web-based The National Map and US Topo Maps.

US Topo
Date Published: April 7, 2016

US Topo maps are modeled on the familiar 7.5-minute, 1:24,000-scale quadrangle maps of the period 1947-1992, but are mass-produced from national GIS databases on a 3-year cycle.The maps are layered PDF documents with geospatial extensions. They are downloadable free of charge through several interfaces.

Filter Total Items: 32
Screenshot of GAP Program's Species Viewer
April 12, 2016

GAP Species Data

The GAP Species Viewer provides nation-wide range maps and distribution models for amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles occurring in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. These kinds of maps and data are fundamental to assessing patterns of species richness and planning for the management of the nation's biological diversity.

Screenshot of a sample record from Biocomplexity Thesaurus
April 12, 2016

Biocomplexity Thesaurus

The Biocomplexity Thesaurus is an online resource supporting terms in a 'broader than' and 'narrower than' structure in ecological and biological sciences.

Orthoimagery of Augusta Ga
April 12, 2016

Orthoimagery Data

Orthoimagery data typically are high resolution aerial images that combine the visual attributes of an aerial photograph with the spatial accuracy and reliability of a planimetric map. The National Map offers public domain, 1-meter orthoimagery for the conterminous United States with many urban areas and other locations at 2-foot or finer resolution.

Small Scale Collection USA
April 12, 2016

The National Map Small-Scale Collection

The National Map offers a collection of small-scale datasets, most of which are at 1:1,000,000. The National Map publishes two data collections at one million-scale: one for Global Map users and one for National Map users. In terms of vector geometry, the lines, points, and areas in these data collections are identical. The difference is in the attributes assigned to these features.

Screenshot for OBIS-USA Search Tool
April 12, 2016

Ocean Biogeographic Information System USA (OBIS-USA)

OBIS-USA is the US Node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, providing the collection and distribution point to OBIS of marine biogeographic records in U.S. waters or collected with U.S. funding. Using the Darwin Core standard, OBIS-USA integrates and makes accessible data on marine species presence, absence, and abundance to aid scientists, resource managers, and decisions makers.

Screenshot of NFHP National Assessment Results Viewer
April 11, 2016

National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) Data System

Data and web services from NFHP’s 2010 and 2015 assessments of streams and estuaries, as well as other data contributed by Fish Habitat Partnerships, are available for download and use via the NFHP Data System. The results of the national assessment can also be viewed online using the National Assessment Results Viewer.

Icons: Gov't building w/ page in front reads National List, U.S. map, magnifying glass for Scientific or Common Name search
April 11, 2016

Species of Greatest Conservation Need Analysis Tool - State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP)

Mandated by Congress, all states and U.S. territories must develop a State Wildlife Action Plan every ten years, outlining the steps that are needed for conservation in their state or territory before wildlife and habitats become too rare or costly to restore. The Species Conservation Analysis Tool provides a national look at Species of Greatest Conservation Need as reported in those plans.

DRW icons for FGDC-compliant Metadata, DOI Number, IPDS Record  Number, USGS Dataset  Repository, Science Data Catalog
April 11, 2016

Data Release Workbench

The USGS Data Release Workbench provides a user-friendly view of USGS data release requirements, in line with with Federal Open Data and Open Access goals, and allows USGS researchers to track progress toward releasing their data.

Screenshot of the USGS Science Data Catalog
April 8, 2016

USGS Science Data Catalog

The USGS Science Data Catalog serves as a single access point for public USGS scientific datasets and as a conduit to external catalogs in response to Federal Open Data requirements. The SDC allows the public to access USGS datasets through text and GIS-based search; topical browse, and keyword, mission area, data source, and scientist faceting.

ARC’s “Yeti” compute cluster offers USGS researchers access to 1576 cores with a total performance of ~27 Tflop/s
April 8, 2016

Advanced Research Computing (ARC)

The ARC activity’s mission is to provide high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities and expertise to USGS scientists for the acceleration and expansion of scientific discovery. Machine access, training workshops, and project consultations are provided to USGS researches in need of these advanced computing capabilities.

MyUSGS suite of tools (icons): Identity Managemant, Confluence, JIRA, Stash, ScienceBase, Questions
April 8, 2016


myUSGS offers an access-controlled online suite of science collaborative tools, ideal for use by USGS scientists and their research teams as well as by other communities of practice involving USGS and its partners.

Screenshot of the Metadata Wizard ScienceBase page. Shows Child Items, Attached Files and Preview Image.
April 8, 2016

Metadata Wizard

The Metadata Wizard tool helps geospatial data users with the creation and editing of metadata compliant with the Federal Geographic Data Committee's 'Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata' (FGDC-CSDGM).

Filter Total Items: 13
Alaska Topographic Map Contours on Glacier
March 10, 2016

New US Topo maps for Alaska are being produced statewide, with digital 7.5 minute 1:25,000-scale maps providing a comprehensive update to the 15-minute 1:63,360-scale printed maps produced nearly fifty years ago. You can view a status map showing where the new maps are available, and link to a site to download the maps.

Filter Total Items: 86
Year Published: 2016

Post-disaster supply chain interdependent critical infrastructure system restoration: A review of data necessary and available for modeling

The majority of restoration strategies in the wake of large-scale disasters have focused on short-term emergency response solutions. Few consider medium- to long-term restoration strategies to reconnect urban areas to national supply chain interdependent critical infrastructure systems (SCICI). These SCICI promote the effective flow of goods,...

Ramachandran, Varun; Long, Suzanna K.; Shoberg, Thomas G.; Corns, Steven; Carlo, Hector J.
Ramachandran, V., Long, S., Shoberg, T., Corns, S., and Carlo, H., 2016. Post-Disaster Supply Chain Interdependent Critical Infrastructure System Restoration: A Review of Data Necessary and Available for Modeling. Data Science Journal, 15: 1, pp. 1-13, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2016-001

Year Published: 2016

Conflation and integration of archived geologic maps and associated uncertainties

Old, archived geologic maps are often available with little or no associated metadata. This creates special problems in terms of extracting their data to use with a modern database. This research focuses on some problems and uncertainties associated with conflating older geologic maps in regions where modern geologic maps are, as yet, non-existent...

Shoberg, Thomas G.
Shoberg, T., 2016. Conflation and Integration of Archived Geologic Maps and Associated Uncertainties, Journal of Geography and Geology, 8(1), 28-40.

Year Published: 2016

High performance computing to support multiscale representation of hydrography for the conterminous United States

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) for the United States furnishes a comprehensive set of vector features representing the surface-waters in the country (U.S. Geological Survey 2000). The high-resolution (HR) layer of the NHD is largely comprised of hydrographic features originally derived from 1:24,000-scale (24K) U.S. Topographic maps....

Stanislawski, Larry V.; Liu, Yan; Buttenfield, Barbara P.; Survila, Kornelijus; Wendel, Jeffrey; Okok, Abdurraouf
Stanislawski, L.V., Liu, Y., Buttenfield, B.P., Survila, K., Wendel, J., and Okok, A. 2016. High performance computing to support multiscale representation of hydrography for the conterminous United States. 19th ICA Workshop, Automated Generalisation for On-Demand Mapping, June 14, Helsinki, Finland.

Year Published: 2016

An evaluation of unsupervised and supervised learning algorithms for clustering landscape types in the United States

Knowledge of landscape type can inform cartographic generalization of hydrographic features, because landscape characteristics provide an important geographic context that affects variation in channel geometry, flow pattern, and network configuration. Landscape types are characterized by expansive spatial gradients, lacking abrupt changes between...

Wendel, Jochen; Buttenfield, Barbara P.; Stanislawski, Larry V.

Year Published: 2015

Evaluation of the U.S. Geological Survey standard elevation products in a two-dimensional hydraulic modeling application for a low relief coastal floodplain

Growing use of two-dimensional (2-D) hydraulic models has created a need for high resolution data to support flood volume estimates, floodplain specific engineering data, and accurate flood inundation scenarios. Elevation data are a critical input to these models that guide the flood-wave across the landscape allowing the computation of valuable...

Witt, Emitt C.

Year Published: 2015

Geospatial resources for the geologic community: The USGS National Map

Geospatial data are a key component of investigating, interpreting, and communicating the geological sciences. Locating geospatial data can be time-consuming, which detracts from time spent on a study because these data are not obviously placed in central locations or are served from many disparate databases. The National Map of the US Geological...

Witt, Emitt C.

Year Published: 2015

1-Meter Digital Elevation Model specification

In January 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey National Geospatial Technical Operations Center began producing the 1-Meter Digital Elevation Model data product. This new product was developed to provide high resolution bare-earth digital elevation models from light detection and ranging (lidar) elevation data and other elevation data collected over...

Arundel, Samantha T.; Archuleta, Christy-Ann M.; Phillips, Lori A.; Roche, Brittany L.; Constance, Eric W.
Arundel, S.T., Archuleta, C.M., Phillips, L.A., Roche, B.L., and Constance, E.W., 2015, 1-meter digital elevation model specification: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 11, chap. B7, 25 p. with appendixes, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/tm11B7.

Year Published: 2015

Automated extraction of natural drainage density patterns for the conterminous United States through high performance computing

Hydrographic networks form an important data foundation for cartographic base mapping and for hydrologic analysis. Drainage density patterns for these networks can be derived to characterize local landscape, bedrock and climate conditions, and further inform hydrologic and geomorphological analysis by indicating areas where too few headwater...

Stanislawski, Larry V.; Falgout, Jeff T.; Buttenfield, Barbara P.

Year Published: 2015

A rapid approach for automated comparison of independently derived stream networks

This paper presents an improved coefficient of line correspondence (CLC) metric for automatically assessing the similarity of two different sets of linear features. Elevation-derived channels at 1:24,000 scale (24K) are generated from a weighted flow-accumulation model and compared to 24K National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) flowlines. The CLC...

Stanislawski, Larry V.; Buttenfield, Barbara P.; Doumbouya, Ariel T.

Year Published: 2015

Framework for modeling urban restoration resilience time in the aftermath of an extreme event

The impacts of extreme events continue long after the emergency response has terminated. Effective reconstruction of supply-chain strategic infrastructure (SCSI) elements is essential for postevent recovery and the reconnectivity of a region with the outside. This study uses an interdisciplinary approach to develop a comprehensive framework to...

Ramachandran, Varun; Long, Suzanna K.; Shoberg, Thomas G.; Corns, Steven; Carlo, Héctor
Ramachandran, V., Long, S., Shoberg, T., Corns, S., and Carlo, H. (2015). "Framework for Modeling Urban Restoration Resilience Time in the Aftermath of an Extreme Event." Nat. Hazards Rev. , 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000184 , 04015005.

Year Published: 2015

A Systems Thinking approach to post-disaster restoration of maritime transportation systems

A Systems Thinking approach is used to examine elements of a maritime transportation system that are most likely to be impacted by an extreme event. The majority of the literature uses a high-level view that can fail to capture the damage at the sub-system elements. This work uses a system dynamics simulation for a better view and understanding of...

Lespier, Lizzette Pérez; Long, Suzanna K.; Shoberg, Thomas G.
Peréz Lespier, L., Long, S., and Shoberg, T., 2015. A systems thinking approach to post-disaster restoration of maritime transportation systems, in, Cetinkaya, S., and Ryan, J.K., eds., Proceedings of the 2015 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference, Institute of Industrial Engineers, Norcross, GA.

Year Published: 2015

Crowdsourcing The National Map

Using crowdsourcing techniques, the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) project known as “The National Map Corps (TNMCorps)” encourages citizen scientists to collect and edit data about man-made structures in an effort to provide accurate and authoritative map data for the USGS National Geospatial Program’s web-...

McCartney, Elizabeth; Craun, Kari J.; Korris, Erin M.; Brostuen, David A.; Moore, Laurence R.

Filter Total Items: 61
Lidar point cloud of wind turbines in Texas
2017 (approx.)
Lidar point cloud of wind turbines in Texas- QL2 data. Turbines were spinning as data was being collected.
3D rendering Great Sand Dunes
2017 (approx.)
3D rendering of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, from 3DEP DEMs
A perspective view of Mount hood
2017 (approx.)
A perspective view of Mount hood, made from the OR_Sandy_River_2007 lidar data
Bismarck, ND DEM
2017 (approx.)
Bismarck, ND DEM- inverted blue color ramp.
Filter Total Items: 142
Major road in Southern Louisiana underwater during the August 2016 flooding
August 16, 2017

To illustrate the USGS and FEMA working together in the 2016 Louisiana flood response, the agency has released an interactive Story Map.

Status graphic displaying the current number and location of Illinois education support structures that need to be checked, are
August 9, 2017

The National Map Corps is requesting volunteer assistance to verify geographic information related to education structures in Illinois.

Status graphic displaying the current number and location of Illinois education support structures that need to be checked, are
August 9, 2017

The National Map Corps is requesting volunteer assistance to verify geographic information related to education structures in Illinois.

3D elevation data for El Paso, Texas, in the form of a lidar point cloud.
July 28, 2017

The USGS is seeing a dramatic increase in the use of 3D geospatial data for infrastructure planning, modeling and construction

The NHD represents the Nation’s inland water drainage network including rivers, streams, canals,
July 27, 2017

Interested in finding a good river to float down this hot summer? Or a favorite fishing hole? Ever wonder where those blue lines mapping the rivers, streams and lakes on the US Topo and other maps come from?

Screenshot of the 1915 Fairfax, Virginia quadrangle
July 26, 2017

As the USGS continues to celebrate “Mapping Month”, we again promote noteworthy contributors to The National Map Corps “crowdsourcing” project.

Geologic map, Holy Cross quad, Colorado
July 25, 2017

As part of the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, EDMAP is supporting upcoming geologic mappers by providing invalubable experience and matching-funds grants.

Alaska mapping status map showing 84% statewide IfSAR coverage available
July 24, 2017

The USGS continues to collect high resolution elevation data, contributing to greatly improved Alaska map data

Graphic showing more than edited 1,200 Post Offices locationsin Illions
July 21, 2017

USGS crowd-sourcing project volunteers have updated more than 1,200 Post Office locations and data in Illinois

Aerial graphic of Oso landslide
July 20, 2017

The USGS uses cutting edge technologies to investigate and forecast landslides and other natural hazards.