FRAGSTATS is a public-domain GIS implementation of a set of spatial statistics that address a fundamental problem in GIS applications, description and comparison of maps. The spatial statistics from the 1:2,500,000-scale United States geologic map of Nevada, the central United States, and the northeastern United States quantify the differences in complexity and variability between these three geologic terranes. Nevada is defined by a large number of patches of small size and low size variability, whereas the Central area has a small number of patches with smaller relative size variability. All three areas have similar map-unit shape complexity with Nevada having the lowest. Based on the density of edges, the areas can be ranked from highest to lowest, as Nevada, Central, and Northeast. The Shannon diversity index ranks the areas from highest to lowest, as Northeast, Nevada, and Central, but the Shannon evenness index ranks them from highest to lowest, as Northeast, Central, and Nevada. These rankings may reflect the influence of folding in the Northeast and Central areas as opposed to basin and range extension in Nevada. The core areas statistic ranks the areas for spatial accuracy from highest to lowest, as Central, Northeast, and Nevada, with Northeast and Nevada being similar. For a scale comparison, the FRAGSTATS statistics quantify the increased complexity and spatial accuracy that is inherent in going from small- to larger-scale maps. For example for 1:2,500,000-1:500,000-scale maps of Nevada, respectively, the area weighted fractal dimension increase from 1.1 to 1.18, and the total core areas index almost doubles from 39.09 to 63.38. In addition, the fractal dimensions discriminate gross lithology and tectonic terranes. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.