Core Science Systems


CSS leads USGS’s mission as the civilian mapping agency for the Nation. We?conduct?detailed surveys and develop?high quality, highly accurate topographic, geologic, hydrographic, and biogeographic maps and data. Our maps allow precise planning for critical mineral assessments; energy development; infrastructure projects; urban planning; flood prediction; emergency response; and hazard mitigation.

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National Geospatial Program

National Geospatial Program

The National Geospatial Program is the Federal civilian mapping agency and provides the digital geospatial foundation for the Nation. It engages partners and communities of use to collaboratively produce consistent and accurate topographic map data.

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Science Analytics and Synthesis (SAS)

Science Analytics and Synthesis (SAS)

The USGS Science Data Catalog, supported by SAS, provides seamless access to USGS research and monitoring data from across the nation. Users have the ability to search, browse, or use a map-based interface to discover data.

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Date published: April 22, 2021

Celebrating Earth Day from Above

Happy Earth Day! As we celebrate our wonderful planet and the fascinating things we learn about it every year, we wanted to share a unique view of the Earth, provided by the longest continuously running Earth-observing satellite program: Landsat.

Date published: April 15, 2021

USGS Landsat Satellites Enable Google to Portray Global Change

USGS Landsat satellite data and imagery are the key foundation for the newly released Google Earth 3D Timelapse tool. The upgraded Timelapse presents a global, zoomable time-lapse video of the planet from 1984 to 2020.

Date published: April 14, 2021

New York Tries Creative Ways—Like Satellites—to Fight Hemlock-Killing Insect

Hunting for an insect the size of a poppy seed in a forest of trees that can soar 100 feet high is, admittedly, a tall task.

But after seeing the “gray ghosts” of dead eastern hemlock trees haunt forests farther south, officials in New York have been intent on preventing the same fate for the state’s eastern hemlocks as the aphid-like hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) creeps north.


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Year Published: 2021

GIS object data properties

Data properties are characteristics of GIS attribute systems and values whose design and format impacts analytical and computational processing.  Geospatial data are expressed at conceptual, logical, and physical levels of database abstraction intended to represent geographical information. The appropriate design of attribute systems and...

Varanka, Dalia E.

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Year Published: 2021

Drought stress and hurricane defoliation influence mountain clouds and moisture recycling in a tropical forest

Mountain ranges generate clouds, precipitation, and perennial streamflow for water supplies, but the role of forest cover in mountain hydrometeorology and cloud formation is not well understood. In the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico, mountains are immersed in clouds nightly, providing a steady precipitation source to support the...

Scholl, Martha A.; Bassiouni, Maoya; Torres-Sanchez, Angel J.

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Year Published: 2021

Identification of Global Priorities for New Mountain Protected and Conserved Areas

Mountain ecosystems are extremely diverse and fragile. They include astonishing biodiversity in terms of number of taxa and endemicity, and globally provide the most diverse range of ecosystem services. The world’s system of protected and conserved areas includes many outstanding areas within the earth’s mountainous landscape: about 19% of...

Jacobs, Peter; Beever, Erik A.; Carbutt, Clinton; Foggin, Marc; Juffe-Bignoli, Diego; Martin, Madeline Thomas; Orchard, Shane; Sayre, Roger