Mission Areas

Core Science Systems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 35
Image: Treasures of the USGS Library: Rare Book Room
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
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
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.

USGS logo
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.

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
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
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
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
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.

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.

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
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: 29
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).

Text design which reads in the order of: XML <ome> FGDC CSDGM
April 8, 2016

Online Metadata Editor (OME)

The OME is an online metadata creation tool that allows scientists to document their data using the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata by answering simple questions about their data.

Globe showing United States, Mexico, & South America side, surrounded by circular lines.
April 8, 2016


ScienceBase is data and information management infrastructure that enables data upload, documentation, sharing, and dynamic data services using standards-compliant methods and technological components. ScienceBase furnishes a foundation for data stewardship, government open data, and scientific discovery.

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: 78
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.; Barbara P. Buttenfield; 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

Minerals, lands, and geology for the common defence and general welfare, Volume 4, 1939-1961: A history of geology in relation to the development of public-land, federal science, and mapping policies and the development of mineral resources in the United States from the 60th to the 82d year of the U.S. Geological Survey

The fourth volume of the comprehensive history of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is titled “Minerals, Lands, and Geology for the Common Defence and General Welfare—Volume 4, 1939‒1961.” The title is based on a passage in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. The late Mary C. Rabbitt (1915‒2002), a geophysicist who served with...

Rabbitt, Mary C.; Nelson, Clifford M.
Rabbitt, M.C., and Nelson, C.M., 2015, Minerals, lands, and geology for the common defence and general welfare—Volume 4, 1939–1961: Reston, Va., U.S. Geological Survey, 704 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/70142267.

Year Published: 2015

Complex Topographic Feature Ontology Patterns

Semantic ontologies are examined as effective data models for the representation of complex topographic feature types. Complex feature types are viewed as integrated relations between basic features for a basic purpose. In the context of topographic science, such component assemblages are supported by resource systems and found on the local...

Varanka, Dalia E.; Jerris, Thomas J.

Year Published: 2014

An applied ontology for semantics associated with surface water land cover

Ahlqvist, Ola; Varanka, Dalia; Fritz, Steffen; Janowicz, Krzysztof; Varanka, Dalia E.; Usery, E. Lynn

Year Published: 2014

Crisis crowdsourcing framework: designing strategic configurations of crowdsourcing for the emergency management domain

Crowdsourcing is not a new practice but it is a concept that has gained significant attention during recent disasters. Drawing from previous work in the crisis informatics, disaster sociology, and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) literature, the paper first explains recent conceptualizations of crowdsourcing and how crowdsourcing is a...

Liu, Sophia B.
Liu, Sophia B. (2014). Crisis Crowdsourcing Framework: Designing Strategic Configurations of Crowdsourcing for the Emergency Management Domain. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) special issue on Crisis Informatics and Collaboration.

Year Published: 2013

Tools and data for meeting America's conservation challenges

The Gap Analysis Program (GAP) produces data and tools that help meet critical national challenges such as biodiversity conservation, renewable energy development, climate change adaptation, and infrastructure investment. The GAP is managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. GAP supports a wide range of national, State, and...

Gergely, Kevin J.; McKerrow, Alexa
Tools and data for meeting America's conservation challenges; 2013; USGS Unnumbered Series; GIP; 151; Gergely, Kevin J.; McKerrow, Alexa

Year Published: 2013

Species data: National inventory of range maps and distribution models

The Gap Analysis Program (GAP) produces data and tools that help meet critical national challenges such as biodiversity conservation, renewable energy development, climate change adaptation, and infrastructure investment. The GAP species data includes vertebrate range maps and distribution models for the continental United States, as well as...

Gergely, Kevin J.; McKerrow, Alexa
Species data: national inventory of range maps and distribution models; 2013; FS; 2013-3087; Gergely, Kevin J.; McKerrow, Alexa

Year Published: 2013

PAD-US: National Inventory of Protected Areas

The Gap Analysis Program produces data and tools that help meet critical national challenges such as biodiversity conservation, renewable energy development, climate change adaptation, and infrastructure investment. The Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) is the official inventory of protected open space in the United States....

Gergely, Kevin J.; McKerrow, Alexa
Gergely, K.J., and McKerrow, Alexa, 2016, PAD-US—National inventory of protected areas (ver. 1.1, August 2016): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3086, 2 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2013/3086/.

Filter Total Items: 34
2016 (approx.)
Lesson 13B Part 3– USGS Emergency Operations Collection Management Tool This lesson is comprised of instructions on how to register for access to the Collection Management Tool through the EROS Registration System (ERS), how to navigate around the Collection Management Tool, or CMT and finally, How to Submit a Data Acquisition Request (DAR). For the complete listing of videos part of the 'Using...
2016 (approx.)
Lesson 11c: Creating a KML file and Shapefile - In this lesson, you will learn how to create a KML file for your area of interest in Google Earth, and how to create a shapefile using the SeaSketch Interagency Elevation and Bathymetry Coordination site.
2016 (approx.)
Lesson 11b: Using the 3DEP BAA- Public Areas of Interest Project Collector Tool - In this lesson, you will learn how to use the public areas of interest project collection tool to add your lidar project to the SeaSketch Demonstration Site for Federal Mapping Data Acquisition Coordination.
2016 (approx.)
Lesson 11a: The US Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI) - This video demonstrates how to use the USIEI application to zoom, view footprints and attributes for existing topographic and bathymetric data and download the inventory to navigate to sites where the data can be downloaded. For the complete listing of videos part of the 'Using The National Map Products and Services' training, visit...
2016 (approx.)
Lesson 11d: Using SeaSketch to View 3DEP Lidar Areas of Interest - In this lesson you will learn how to zoom to your area of interest and view the footprints of existing and proposed topographic lidar projects. For the complete listing of videos part of the 'Using The National Map Products and Services' training, visit this link: http://training.usgs.gov/TEL/TheNationalMap/TNM-TEL-Index.html
Image shows a silver benchmark set in concrete
July 20, 2016
A USGS benchmark at the USGS National Center.
May 19, 2016
The USGS Hydrography Webinar Series shares success stories from users, provides information on The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and other related products, and provides a forum for users to learn more about Hydrography-related topics.
Black and white photo showing an engraver creating a contour plate for a topographic map
April 27, 2016
With great precision, an engraver carefully cuts away small ribbons of copper to create the contour plate for a USGS topographic map.
Alaska Surveying
2016 (approx.)
Alaska surveying crew circa 1924 using alidade and plane table; transportation by dogsled. USGS photo files.
Alaska IfSAR Elevation Image
April 22, 2016
Alaska IfSAR elevation shaded relief .jpg image created using new 5-meter elevation grid data near Anchorage.
April 19, 2016
Shaded relief image of Digital Elevation Model of glaciated area in Alaska.
Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
2016 (approx.)
Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
Filter Total Items: 132
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.

Screen shot of topoView featuring Philadelphia 1888
July 19, 2017

Earlier this month, the USGS launched “TopoView 2.1”, an enhancement to the current popular TopoView mapping service that lets users discover, interact, and download historical USGS topographic maps scans.

photo of volunteer rjerrard with special patch
July 18, 2017

Citizen Scientists edit structures to improve US Topo Maps and along the way earn virtual badges.

Photo of Best Student Geologic Map Competition winners from 2016 posing with awards.
July 14, 2017

The USGS announces details for the 2017 Best Student Geological Map Competition

USGS supervisory geographer Kimberly Mantey (right) explains details of the USGS the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) to a conference
July 13, 2017

Recently, representatives from the USGS National Geospatial Program and National Geospatial Technical Operations Center participated in the 2017 International Cartographic Conference in Washington, DC.

The National Map Corps volunteer “DilloParker8” looks at the next set of mountains to conquer.
July 12, 2017

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

Improved Topo Base map of the Glacier Peak WA area
July 11, 2017

An updated “USGS Topo Base Map” service named “USGS Topo” includes some new design changes and refreshed data content.

“fconley” posing with his special edition International Year of Mapping badge from The National Map Corps
July 6, 2017

The National Map Corps recognizes major volunteers to national mapping efforts

US map of added trails and recreational points of interest
July 5, 2017

Updated USGS digital topographic maps feature more trails and other recreation points of interest

National Elevation Dataset
July 3, 2017

Everything happens at a place, the place matters, and the USGS has the science of place.

Status graphic of Post Offices in Illinois showing structures that have been checked, reviewed, and finished
June 8, 2017

The National Map Corps is requesting volunteer assistance to verify Post Office information in Illinois