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Article: United States Geological Survey

United States Geological Survey

Organizational Structure and Responsibilities

  • USGS headquarters located in Reston, Virginia
  • Earthquake monitoring worldwide through the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC)
  • Regional monitoring networks in the United States under the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS)
  • Long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research
  • Release of the UCERF California earthquake forecast
  • Working to create a National Volcano Early Warning System
  • Improving instrumentation for monitoring volcanoes in U.S. territory
  • Establishing methods for measuring relative threats at each site
  • Three sites for research in geology, mapping, hydrology, biology, and related sciences
  • Evaluation of hazards associated with floods, droughts, hurricanes, subsidence, human activity, and climate change
  • Mapping of onshore and offshore geologic framework
  • Assessment of mineral resources and development of discovery techniques
  • Assessment of water resources and understanding impact of human activities and natural phenomena on hydrologic systems
  • Monitoring of magnetic field at magnetic observatories
  • Distribution of magnetometer data in real time
  • Operation of the streamgaging network for the United States
  • Over 7400 streamgages
  • Real-time streamflow data available online
  • Designing, testing, evaluating, repairing, calibrating, and warehousing hydrologic instrumentation
  • Distributing instruments through direct sales and rental program
  • Supporting data collection activities through centralized warehouse and laboratory facilities
  • Providing hydrologic instruments, equipment, and supplies for USGS, Other Federal Agencies (OFA), and USGS Cooperators
  • Offering training and technical support for stocked equipment
  • Seeking new technology and designs for more efficient and accurate instrumentation
  • Collaborating with vendors to produce products that meet USGS mission needs
  • Designing and testing HIF-designed equipment for instrument needs not met by vendors
  • Patenting new designs to encourage mass production at lower cost
  • Working towards producing instruments that are more cost-effective for everyone

Topographic Mapping

  • USGS produces several national series of topographic maps
  • Largest and best-known series is the 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 scale quadrangle
  • Each map covers an area bounded by two lines of latitude and two lines of longitude spaced 7.5 minutes apart
  • Nearly 57,000 maps in this series cover the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, U.S. territories, and areas of Alaska
  • 1:24,000 scale requires a separate and specialized romer scale for plotting map positions
  • Older series used to map the contiguous 48 states at a scale of 1:62,500
  • Discontinued during the last quarter of the twentieth century
  • Each map covered an area bounded by two parallels and two meridians spaced 15 minutes apart
  • 15-minute series remains the primary topographic quadrangle for the state of Alaska
  • Nearly 3,000 maps cover 97% of the state
  • United States is the only developed country without a standardized civilian topographic map series in 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 metric scales
  • Coordination difficult in border regions
  • U.S. military issues 1:50,000 scale topo maps for use by defense forces
  • Next-smallest topographic series is the 1:100,000 scale series
  • 1:100,000 scale primarily employs the metric system
  • Produced by the U.S. Army Map Service in the 1950s
  • Each quadrangle measures 1 degree of latitude by 2 degrees of longitude
  • Consists of 489 sheets covering an area ranging from 8,218 to 6,222 square miles
  • Hawaii is mapped at this scale in quadrangles measuring 1° by 1°
  • Quadrangle maps marked with grid lines and tics for identification
  • USGS produces specialty maps such as county maps and maps of national parks
  • Many maps available on the web for commercial and professional use
  • Georeferenced map images available as digital raster graphics (DRGs)
  • USGS unveiled the topoView website in 2015, allowing users to view and download digitized maps
  • USGS abandoned traditional methods of surveying and now uses automated processes for map production

Research and Data Collection

  • Conducts research in various scientific fields
  • Collects and analyzes data on natural resources, hazards, and ecosystems
  • Provides data on earthquakes, volcanoes, and other geological phenomena
  • Monitors water resources, including rivers, lakes, and groundwater
  • Studies climate change and its impact on the environment

Mapping and Geospatial Data

  • Produces topographic maps of the United States
  • Creates digital elevation models and 3D terrain visualizations
  • Develops geospatial datasets and tools for mapping purposes
  • Offers access to aerial and satellite imagery
  • Provides geodetic control and surveying services

Natural Hazards, Disaster Response, and Environmental Research

  • Assesses and monitors earthquake activity
  • Issues earthquake alerts and forecasts
  • Conducts research on seismic hazards and risk assessments
  • Provides real-time streamflow data for flood forecasting
  • Assists in emergency response and recovery efforts during natural disasters
  • Studies the impact of human activities on ecosystems
  • Monitors biodiversity and species distribution
  • Assesses the health of aquatic ecosystems
  • Conducts research on land use and habitat conservation
  • Provides data on air quality and pollution levels

United States Geological Survey Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph

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