The U.S. Geological Survey recently updated the National Seismic Hazard Maps by incorporating new seismic, geologic, and geodetic information on earthquake rates and associated ground shaking. The 2008 versions supersede those released in 1996 and 2002. These maps are the basis for seismic design provisions of building codes, insurance rate structures, earthquake loss studies, retrofit priorities, and land-use planning. Their use in design of buildings, bridges, highways, and critical infrastructure allows structures to better withstand earthquake shaking, saving lives and reducing disruption to critical activities following a damaging event. The maps also help engineers avoid costs from over-design for unlikely levels of ground motion.