Geospatial resources for the geologic community: The USGS National Map

Journal of Geology



Geospatial data are a key component of investigating, interpreting, and communicating the geological sciences. Locating geospatial data can be time-consuming, which detracts from time spent on a study because these data are not obviously placed in central locations or are served from many disparate databases. The National Map of the US Geological Survey is a publicly available resource for accessing the geospatial base map data needs of the geological community from a central location. The National Map data are available through a viewer and download platform providing access to eight primary data themes, plus the US Topo and scanned historical topographic maps. The eight themes are elevation, orthoimagery, hydrography, geographic names, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover, and they are being offered for download as predefined tiles in formats supported by leading geographic information system software. Data tiles are periodically refreshed to capture the most current content and are an efficient method for disseminating and receiving geospatial information. Elevation data, for example, are offered as a download from the National Map as 1° × 1° tiles for the 10- and 30- m products and as 15′ × 15′ tiles for the higher-resolution 3-m product. Vector data sets with smaller file sizes are offered at several tile sizes and formats. Partial tiles are not a download option—any prestaged data that intersect the requesting bounding box will be, in their entirety, part of the download order. While there are many options for accessing geospatial data via the Web, the National Map represents authoritative sources of data that are documented and can be referenced for citation and inclusion in scientific publications. Therefore, National Map products and services should be part of a geologist’s first stop for geospatial information and data.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Geospatial resources for the geologic community: The USGS National Map
Series title Journal of Geology
DOI 10.1086/682008
Volume 123
Issue 3
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher The University of Chicago Press
Contributing office(s) Center for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS)
Description 12 p.
First page 283
Last page 294
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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