Unified Interior Regions


The Southwest Region includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

States L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 140
Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

NASA Planetary Cartography Planning

This page provides information on the history of planetary cartography research and program planning for NASA. This has been a community-based effort driven by the need to develop and maintain a cartographic capability in support of NASA missions of space exploration. To comment or add to this page please contact Brent Archinal (barchinal@...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Planetary Spatial Infrastructure LPSC 2016

Planetary Spatial Infrastructure: At the Intersection Of GIScience and Planetary Science

Wednesday March 23rd 2016, 1:30 PM Waterway Ballroom 4


  • Samuel Lawrence
  • Daniella DellaGiustina
Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

LPSC 2013 Town Hall on Planetary Mapping and Cartography

What is planetary mapping? When do you need to do planetary mapping? How is planetary mapping accomplished? Why is planetary mapping important to you? Planetary mapping is literally foundational to planetary science and exploration. This town hall meeting is intended to present to the general planetary community the need to take planetary and lunar data and turn it into useful...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

NASA/USGS Planetary Geologic Mapping Program

The Astrogeology Team at USGS provides coordination of NASA's planetary geologic mapping program. Geologic mapping investigations of any imaged planetary body (except Earth) are proposed to NASA's Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program on an annual basis (generally due sometime between late April and early June) and then...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active


ISPRS is an international NGO devoted to the development of international cooperations for the advancement of knowlege, research, development and education in the Protogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences (P&RS&SIS), their integration and application, to contribute to the well bieng of hunanity and sustainability of the environment.

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active


The IAU Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements (WGCCRE) has been given the responsibility by the International Astronomical Union to define the rotational elements of the planets, satellites, asteroids, and comets of the solar system on a systematic basis and to relate their cartographic coordinates rigorously to the rotational elements.


Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

Mars Ice Consortium

The Mars Ice Consortium is a joint project between the USGS Astrogeology Research Program (Flagstaff, AZ) and the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facilty (Tempe, AZ) to bring together a single resource for the exploration of martian ices. Much of this research is done at the USGS Flagstaff Science Center.

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

Planetary Data Workshop

 Planetary Data: Workshops for Users and Software Developers 

Date published: September 28, 2018
Status: Active

The Annex of the PDS Cartography & Imaging Sciences Node

The Annex of the PDS Cartography and Imaging Sciences Node (aka “Imaging” or IMG) is a data repository designed to support the public delivery of NASA-funded geospatial data products derived from PDS image data. Examples of geospatial, derived products supported include global mosaics and thematic maps of...

Date published: September 26, 2018
Status: Active

Meteor Crater Drill Cores

While inventorying the drill cuttings from Meteor Crater, we identified 31 boxes of drill core from the crater. Unfortunately, there was little or no documentation for these cores and we initially did not know the drill hole locations or any of the ancillary details. With the assistance of Dr. David Kring, we eventually determined the origin of all of the drill cores. We found...

Date published: September 26, 2018
Status: Active

Meteor Crater Sample Collection

Meteor Crater is a 180 m deep, 1.2 km diameter bowl-shaped impact crater in Northern Arizona, and has long been a terrestrial analog site for planetary exploration. During the 1960’s, Eugene Shoemaker trained NASA astronauts at the crater to prepare for the Apollo missions to the Moon. The Meteor Crater Sample Collection consists of geologic samples from the Meteor Crater...

Date published: September 26, 2018
Status: Active

Lunar Calibration ROLO (Robotic Lunar Observatory)

The USGS lunar calibration program provides radiometric calibration and sensor stability monitoring for space-based remote sensing instruments using the Moon as a reference source. This is a unique on-orbit calibration technique for solar reflectance wavelengths that requires no special flight hardware, only that the instrument must view the Moon. The unmatched stability of the lunar...

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October 20, 2017

Introduction to GIS Data for ArcMap 10.1 and Higher

An introduction to GIS data using ArcMap 10.1 and higher; intended for planetary geologic mappers. 

View of the lush green San Rafael grasslands of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, framed by a cloudy blue sky.
August 31, 2017

The Sonoran desert has grasslands, too.

The San Rafael grasslands are a diverse ecosystem in southern Arizona along the U.S./Mexico border region, a part of the Madrean Archipelago ecoregion. The USGS RAMPS program conducts collaborative

July 31, 2017

Advances in Streamgaging | Reach-Scale Monitoring Experiment (1 of 2)

In this first installment of a two part series, The Arizona Water Science Center has developed new stream gaging methods that would measure flood flows remotely. However, they have to verify the accuracy of these techniques, so they designed an experiment in partnership with the USDA Southwest Watershed Research Center at the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed that

July 31, 2017

Historic Context of the Continuous Slope Area Method

The Arizona Water Science Center details the history and development of the Continuous Slope-Area Method. Learn about the people and events that began these new advances in the field of stream gaging. 

Music Artist: Glenn Jones, “Bergen County Farewell”. CC License. Music provided by www.FreeMusicArchive.com

Two researchers aligning a 2 meter by 2 meter PVC square for an experimental restoration plot within a fenced area.
July 31, 2017

Setting up experimental restoration plots.

Field crew install a Restoration Field Trial Network garden in the rangelands of Northern Arizona. Each garden in the network is examining seedlings and seeds in conjunction with restoration treatments to better

July 30, 2017

A Record of Change: Science and Elder Observations on the Navajo N.

A Record of Change—Science and Elder Observations on the Navajo Nation is a 25-minute documentary about collaborative studies using conventional physical sciences, combined with tribal elder observations to show that local knowledge and conventional science partnerships can effectively document ecosystem change and determine the resulting challenges to livelihoods. 

Photo of seeding experiment to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest.
July 17, 2017

Seeding experiment to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest.

USGS ecologists Molly McCormick (left) and Katie Laushman (right) conducting a seeding experiment that is a part of RAMPS, a new USGS-led initiative to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest. 

Blowing dust in a fallowed agricultural field in central Arizona.
June 30, 2017

Bare Ground = Blowing Dust

Across the desert Southwest, ground void of plant material is prone to soil erosoin and dust storms. In this fallowed agricultural field, we see that a spring breeze can carry away fertile top soil and create air quality concerns. USGS RAMPS defines causes of environmental hazards created by degraded land, and creates collaborative solutions to reduce these types of risks

Satellite images showing landsat 7 and landsat 8 fire images on the western U.S.
June 29, 2017

Fires in the Western United States

On an average day during the fire season, multiple wildfires burn in the western United States. For example, 216 fires were active on July 7, 2017. Firefighters were battling 27 of these fires through ground and air support.

A few of the larger fires in early July were in Arizona, Washington, and Utah. As with many wildfires, 

Satellite image showing the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon area
June 16, 2017

Satellite Image of the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon Area

This image of the Las Vegas /Lake Mead / Grand Canyon area was acquired on June 16, 2017, with Indian Space Research Organization’s Resourcesat-2 AWiFS sensor. Images of this region can be useful to help detect changes in vegetation and water availability for growing desert communities.

May 31, 2017

New USGS Maps of Mars Reveal Ancient Oases

Flyover of the southeast Ceti Mensa map. Distinct groups of rock layers, called geologic units, are shaded in different colors, with dark browns representing the oldest rocks and green representing the youngest rocks. All of these rocks formed as wind-blown sand that became trapped in shallow, ephemeral lakes, similar to the wet playas of the desert southwest US. The

May 31, 2017

Reach-Scale Monitoring | Advances in Stream Gaging

The Arizona Water Science Center demonstrates new methods in Reach-Scale Monitoring to improve accuracy and measurability of high flow events. By installing pressure transducers and using LiDAR to measure topography data, hydrologists are able to simulate flows with two dimensional models which will help better calibrate stream gages. These advances have potential to aid

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Planned US Topo map production schedule for the next three- year revision cycle
November 19, 2015

With the release of new US Topo maps for Illinois and South Dakota, the USGS has completed the second, three-year cycle of revising and updating electronic US Topo quadrangles. This means that since late 2009, the USGS has published nearly every map in the conterminous U.S., twice.

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 3, 2015

On average, streams in the Niobrara-Mowry Play of eastern Wyoming, Fayetteville Play of Arkansas, and Barnett Play of Texas ranked most vulnerable to unconventional oil and gas development, but for different reasons, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey coauthored research.

October 5, 2015

US Geological Survey scientists are presenting on numerous topics related to climate change, drought and resource management at the 13th Biennial Conference of Science and Management on the Colorado Plateau & Southwest Region. Below are some of the newest science topics that the USGS will present.

imaging from Mars
September 2, 2015

A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars helps limit the range of possible answers about how and why Mars changed from a world with watery environments billions of years ago to the arid Red Planet of today.

Map of the Glen Canyon Dam study area
August 19, 2015

Although the Grand Canyon segment of the Colorado River features one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States, it is not immune to exposure from toxic chemicals such as mercury according to newly published research in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

May 5, 2015

Water availability in the middle San Pedro watershed in southeast Arizona is strongly dependent on climate and water use, according to a new water resource assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Image: Female Golden Eagle with GPS-GSM Transmitter
April 8, 2015

Golden eagles in the Mojave Desert travel farther, to different areas, and at different times of the year than previously understood, according to research by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners from other federal agencies, academia and the private sector. 

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
March 3, 2015

While the earth contains enough potash to meet the increased global demand for crop production and U.S. supplies are likely secure, some regions lack potash deposits needed for optimal food crop yields. According to a recent USGS global assessment of potash resources, the costs of importing potash long distances can limit its use and imports are subject to supply disruptions.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 10, 2015

A new U.S. Geological Survey study shows how plants’ vulnerability to drought varies across the landscape; factors such as plant structure and soil type where the plant is growing can either make them more vulnerable or protect them from declines.

New (2014) Black Canyon City, Arizona US Topo quadrangle
January 7, 2015

Newly released US Topo maps for Arizona now feature mountain bike trails, segments of the Arizona National Scenic Trail and Public Land Survey System data. Several of the 1,880 new US Topo quadrangles for the state now display these selected new features along with other improved data layers.

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