Core Science Systems
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Core Science Systems (CSS) Mission Area builds on the core strengths of the USGS in characterizing and understanding complex Earth and biological systems through research, modeling, mapping, and the production of high-quality data. CSS delivers natural science information to the Nation in support of smart decisionmaking.Read The Mission Overview
Beginning in 2012, the USGS collaborated with the USDA to assess the effectiveness of pollinator plantings and how alteration of landscapes has affected native pollinators and potentially contributed to their decline. The 2008 Farm Bill recognized contributions made by pollinators and made conservation of pollinator habitat a priority. The USGS is assessing native bee habitat, diversity, and...
Working with the Northern Rockies Science Center, the Information Science Branch designed and developed ScienceCache, a scientific geocaching mobile application framework. Initially developed for citizen science data collection, the application was extended to work for any field data collection effort. The lead researcher controls the data collection route, collection forms, and data...
The Information Science Branch developed a set of performance, security, and resiliency models to evaluate information architectures optimized for cloud hosting solutions.
The Information Science Branch provides Agile project management, technical oversight, software research and development, and architectural support to the USGS ScienceBase project. ScienceBase provides a number of features that scientists can use to build data collections, share data through web services, and ensure these data are preserved for use by future researchers. The project involves...
The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and...
High quality 3D elevation data are critical to flood risk management, resource management, conservation, alternative energy, agriculture, infrastructure management, and a broad range of other nationally significant applications. 3DEP is a cooperative program, managed by the USGS on behalf of the community, with the goal to complete national coverage of 3D elevation data in 8 years.
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.
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.
Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) is a web-based resource for species occurrence data in the U.S. and its Territories. BISON holds over 250 million species occurrence records, encompassing most living species found in the United States, from a broad array of sources, including museums, monitoring programs, research studies, citizen science projects and peer-reviewed...
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.
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.
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.
Migrating Bird Survey Data Along the San Pedro River and its Tributaries, Southeastern Arizona, 1989-1994
The Arizona bird count data release includes a CSV file with survey and site location data, including latitudes and longitudes for each site location. All codes and acronyms from the data are defined in the metadata, with the exception of a list of 4 letter species acronyms for which there is a key included as an attachment on the ScienceBase page.
Shapefiles and Historical Aerial Photographs, Little Missouri River, 1939-2003
The data archive contains the aerial photographs and channel delineations used in our analysis. The images have been geo-referenced to the 1995 digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles as described by Miller and Friedman (2009). The channel delineations for all photo years (including 2003) and the delineation of the outer flood-plain boundary are stored as shapefiles.
USGS Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP)
The Dam Removal Information Portal is a Web site that serves information about the scientific studies associated with dam-removal projects. It is a visualization tool, including a map and interactive charts, of a dam-removal literature review designed and developed by a working group at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (Bellmore and others, 2015).
Alaska IfSAR Elevation Data
Radar data is being collected statewide for Alaska under direction of the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). The new data is vastly improving the accuracy and resolution of elevation data for the state, and is being collected using an airborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) sensor. USGS and the State of Alaska maintain web-based status maps and download services.
The transportation data theme consists of roads, airports, railroads, and features associated with the transport of people or commerce. The data includes the location, classification, name/route designator, for most roads, and address ranges. The data supports mapping and geographic analysis for applications for routing, traffic safety, congestion mitigation, and disaster planning and response.
USGS data portray selected structures data, including the location and characteristics of manmade facilities. Characteristics consist of a structure's physical form (footprint), function, name, location, and detailed information about the structure. The types of structures collected are largely determined by the needs of the disaster planning and response and homeland security organizations.
The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) serves as the definitive Landsat-based, 30-meter resolution, land cover database for the Nation.
Boundaries data or governmental units represent major civil areas including states, counties, Federal, and Native American lands, and incorporated places such as cities and towns.
The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are used to portray surface water on The National Map.
The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)
The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and Fall.
The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
ITIS is the authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world. We are a partnership of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican agencies (ITIS-North America); other organizations; and taxonomic specialists. ITIS data is used in thousands of databases in industry, academia and government.
A web-based map viewer allowing users to search, view and download species occurrence data from BISON.
The GAP Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) Viewer provides a spatially explicit inventory that lets any user – from the general public to professional land managers – explore the protected areas network anywhere in the United States and allows them to easily use this inventory in conservation, land management, planning, recreation and other uses.
The OBIS-USA Data Dashboard offers multiple ways to discover, determine suitability for use, and obtain marine biological occurrence data, collected primarily from U.S. Waters or with U.S. funding. It assists users with maps, graphs, tables, and links to metadata while searching. Users can explore the data by geography, taxon, or individual dataset.
The GAP National Land Cover Data Viewer provides detailed, consistent maps of vegetation and land-use patterns for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Knowledge about which types of vegetation occur across the country helps facilitate the planning and management of biological diversity on a regional and national scale.
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.
The viewer allows exploring the condition of stream and coastal habitats across the country at various spatial scales, reported in Through a Fish's Eye: The Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2010. It offers a variety of base maps and provides one-click access to more detailed information on landscape disturbances and habitat scores for individual stream catchments.
The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.
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.
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.
This is the primary search and download application for USGS topographic maps and base-layer GIS data. The same topographic maps are also downloadable through other interfaces.
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.
A linked GeoData map for enabling information access
OverviewThe Geospatial Semantic Web (GSW) is an emerging technology that uses the Internet for more effective knowledge engineering and information extraction. Among the aims of the GSW are to structure the semantic specifications of data to reduce ambiguity and to link those data more efficiently. The data are stored as triples, the basic data...Powell, Logan J.; Varanka, Dalia E.
An open source high-performance solution to extract surface water drainage networks from diverse terrain conditions
This paper describes a workflow for automating the extraction of elevation-derived stream lines using open source tools with parallel computing support and testing the effectiveness of procedures in various terrain conditions within the conterminous United States. Drainage networks are extracted from the US Geological Survey 1/3 arc-second 3D...Stanislawski, Larry V.; Survila, Kornelijus; Wendel, Jeffrey; Liu, Yan; Buttenfield, Barbara P.
Partial polygon pruning of hydrographic features in automated generalization
This paper demonstrates a working method to automatically detect and prune portions of waterbody polygons to support creation of a multi-scale hydrographic database. Water features are known to be sensitive to scale change; and thus multiple representations are required to maintain visual and geographic logic at smaller scales. Partial pruning of...Stum, Alexander K. ; Buttenfield, Barbara P.; Stanislawski, Larry V.
The National Map seamless digital elevation model specifications
This specification documents the requirements and standards used to produce the seamless elevation layers for The National Map of the United States. Seamless elevation data are available for the conterminous United States, Hawaii, Alaska, and the U.S. territories, in three different resolutions—1/3-arc-second, 1-arc-second, and 2-arc-second. These...Archuleta, Christy-Ann M.; Constance, Eric W.; Arundel, Samantha T.; Lowe, Amanda J.; Mantey, Kimberly S.; Phillips, Lori A.
Elevation Difference and Bouguer Anomaly Analysis Tool (EDBAAT) User's Guide
This report describes a software tool that imports gravity anomaly point data from the Gravity Database of the United States (GDUS) of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and University of Texas at El Paso along with elevation data from The National Map (TNM) of the U.S. Geological Survey that lie within a user-specified geographic area of...Smittle, Aaron M.; Shoberg, Thomas G.
Shapes on a plane: Evaluating the impact of projection distortion on spatial binning
One method for working with large, dense sets of spatial point data is to aggregate the measure of the data into polygonal containers, such as political boundaries, or into regular spatial bins such as triangles, squares, or hexagons. When mapping these aggregations, the map projection must inevitably distort relationships. This distortion can...Battersby, Sarah E.; Strebe, Daniel “daan”; Finn, Michael P.
TopoLens: Building a cyberGIS community data service for enhancing the usability of high-resolution National Topographic datasets
Geospatial data, often embedded with geographic references, are important to many application and science domains, and represent a major type of big data. The increased volume and diversity of geospatial data have caused serious usability issues for researchers in various scientific domains, which call for innovative cyberGIS solutions. To address...Hu, Hao; Hong, Xingchen; Terstriep, Jeff; Liu, Yan; Finn, Michael P.; Rush, Johnathan; Wendel, Jeffrey; Wang, Shaowen
Defining resilience: A preliminary integrative literature review
The term “resilience” is ubiquitous in technical literature; it appears in numerous forms, such as resilience, resiliency, or resilient, and each use may have a different definition depending on the interpretation of the writer. This creates difficulties in understanding what is meant by ‘resilience’ in any given use case, especially in...Wilt, Bonnie; Long, Suzanna K.; Shoberg, Thomas G.
Measuring distance “as the horse runs”: Cross-scale comparison of terrain-based metrics
Distance metrics play significant roles in spatial modeling tasks, such as flood inundation (Tucker and Hancock 2010), stream extraction (Stanislawski et al. 2015), power line routing (Kiessling et al. 2003) and analysis of surface pollutants such as nitrogen (Harms et al. 2009). Avalanche risk is based on slope, aspect, and curvature, all...Buttenfield, Barbara P.; Ghandehari, M; Leyk, S; Stanislawski, Larry V.; Brantley, M E; Qiang, Yi
Use of lidar point cloud data to support estimation of residual trace metals stored in mine chat piles in the Old Lead Belt of southeastern, Missouri
Historic lead and zinc (Pb-Zn) mining in southeast Missouri’s ―Old Lead Belt‖ has left large chat piles dominating the landscape where prior to 1972 mining was the major industry of the region. As a result of variable beneficiation methods over the history of mining activity, these piles remain with large quantities of unrecovered Pb and Zn and to...Witt, Emitt C.
Book review: Mapping gendered routes and spaces in the early modern world
This book encapsulates and extends many seminal ideas presented at the eighth “Attending to Early Modern Women” conference held at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in June 2012. Merry Wiesner-Hanks has done a masterful job editing these papers within a central theme of the interaction of spatial domains with gender-based phenomena. The...Varanka, Dalia E.
Infrastructure system restoration planning using evolutionary algorithms
This paper presents an evolutionary algorithm to address restoration issues for supply chain interdependent critical infrastructure. Rapid restoration of infrastructure after a large-scale disaster is necessary to sustaining a nation's economy and security, but such long-term restoration has not been investigated as thoroughly as initial rescue...Corns, Steven; Long, Suzanna K.; Shoberg, Thomas G.
A 3D Elevation Program lidar point cloud colored by RGB color from imagery from the National Agriculture Imagery Program and showing simulated flooding (in blue) of an area in Denver, Colorado.
The US Geological Survey National Geospatial Program has released a new version of the USGS Lidar Base Specification that defines deliverables for nationally consistent lidar data acquisitions.
Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program and Chair of the USGS Lidar Points of Contact Working Group, was selected by the USGS National Geospatial Program to serve as the USGS Federal Point of Contact for the national 3D Nation Elevation Requirements and Benefits Study, coordinating survey nominations across Mission Areas and Regions and compiling responses.
Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC Research Microbiologist) will attend Oceanology International in London, England, March 13–15, in her capacity as a judge for the Shell Ocean Discovery Xprize.
The USGS citizen science project, The National Map Corps, has reached another major milestone.
The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) team has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 “LIDAR Leader Award”, presented February 5 at the International LIDAR Mapping Forum in Denver.
Congratulations to the winners of the 5th Annual Best Student Geologic Map Competition, held at the Geological Society of America's recent Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA.
As part of an ongoing effort to improve performance and reliability for the suite of USGS Hydrography web-based map services, the USGS is migrating the National Hydrography Dataset and Watershed Boundary Dataset services to a Cloud location.
The USGS announces the release of the Species of Greatest Conservation Need national database. The SGCN lists are part of the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) process and identify the species most in need of conservation action in that state or territory. In total, 16,420 species have been included in the SGCN national list.
USGS scientists to be featured at GSA 2017
Many of The National Map dynamic overlay services have new schemas and updated cartography to provide a better user experience in The National Map viewer and other applications.
Earth cores provide a glimpse of what lies beneath the surface.
To celebrate Earth Science Week and Geologic Map Day, the USGS, in collaboration with the American Geosciences Institute, is pleased to announce a “Geologic Open House” on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at Great Falls Park, near McLean, Va.