In August 1993, the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Mapping Division and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service signed an Interagency Agreement to begin a single-edition joint mapping program. This agreement established the coordination for producing and maintaining single-edition primary series topographic maps for quadrangles containing National Forest System lands. The joint mapping program saves money by eliminating duplication of effort by the agencies and results in a more frequent revision cycle for quadrangles containing national forests. Maps are revised on the basis of jointly developed standards and contain normal features mapped by the USGS, as well as additional features required for efficient management of National Forest System lands. Single-edition maps look slightly different but meet the content, accuracy, and quality criteria of other USGS products.
The Forest Service is responsible for the land management of more than 191 million acres of land throughout the continental United States, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, including 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands. These areas make up the National Forest System lands and comprise more than 10,600 of the 56,000 primary series 7.5-minute quadrangle maps (15-minute in Alaska) covering the United States. The Forest Service has assumed responsibility for maintaining these maps, and the USGS remains responsible for printing and distributing them.
Before the agreement, both agencies published similar maps of the same areas. The maps were used for different purposes, but had comparable types of features that were revised at different times. Now, the two products have been combined into one so that the revision cycle is stabilized and only one agency revises the maps, thus increasing the number of current maps available for National Forest System lands. This agreement has improved service to the public by requiring that the agencies share the same maps and that the maps meet a common standard, as well as by significantly reducing duplication of effort.