State geological surveys vary in organizational structure, but are political powers in the field of geology by virtue of their intimate knowledge of and involvement in legislative and political processes. Origins of state geological surveys lie in the recognition of society that settlement and prosperity depended on access to a variety of natural resources, resources that are most familiar to geologists. As the surveys adapt to modern societal pressures, making geology serve the public has become the new mission for many state geological surveys. Geologic mapping was the foundation of most early surveys, and the state surveys have brought mapping back into the public realm to meet today's challenges of growing population density, living environment desires, and resource access.
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State geological surveys: Their growing national role in policy