Many Federal, State, and local agencies use a common set of framework geographic information databases as a tool for economic and community development, land and natural resource management, and health and safety services. Emergency management and homeland security applications rely on this information. Private industry, nongovernmental organizations, and individual citizens use the same geographic data. Geographic information underpins an increasingly large part of the Nation's economy.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is developing The National Map to be a seamless, continually maintained, and nationally consistent set of online, public domain, framework geographic information databases. The National Map will serve as a foundation for integrating, sharing, and using data easily and consistently. The data will be the source of revised paper topographic maps. The National Map includes digital orthorectified imagery; elevation data; vector data for hydrography, transportation, boundary, and structure features; geographic names; and land cover information.