Scientific understanding, technology, and social, economic, and environmental conditions have driven a rapidly changing demand for geographic information, both digital and analog. For more than a decade, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been developing innovative partnerships with other government agencies and private industry to produce and distribute geographic information efficiently; increase activities in remote sensing to ensure ongoing monitoring of the land surface; and develop new understanding of the causes and consequences of land surface change. These activities are now contributing to a more robust set of geographic information called The National Map (TNM). The National Map is designed to provide an up-to-date, seamless, horizontally and vertically integrated set of basic digital geographic data, a frequent monitoring of changes on the land surface, and an understanding of the condition of the Earth's surface and many of the processes that shape it. The USGS has reorganized its National Mapping Program into three programs to address the continuum of scientific activities-describing (mapping), monitoring, understanding, modeling, and predicting. The Cooperative Topographic Mapping Program focuses primarily on the mapping and revision aspects of TNM. The National Map also includes results from the Land Remote Sensing and Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Programs that provide continual updates, new insights, and analytical tools. The National Map is valuable as a framework for current research, management, and operational activities. It also provides a critical framework for the development of distributed, spatially enabled decision support systems.