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By GCN Staff

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USGS map view western virginia

USGS digs deep for national geologic website upgrade

Ever since President Thomas Jefferson in 1804 sent Lewis and Clark to find and map the most direct and practicable water route across the continent to the Pacific Ocean, Americans have been curious about the land they live in.

But it wasn’t until 1879 that the U.S. Geological Survey was established to make a geologic map of the United States. Then in 1992 Congress enacted the Geologic Mapping Act, which required the USGS and the state geological surveys to build a “national archive” of standardized geoscience map information called the National Geologic Map Database. The website debuted in 1996.

Change occurs more rapidly in the 21st century, however. USGS and the Association of American State Geologists, AASG, have just launched a redesigned website that is significantly more advanced in terms of the technology and information now available to the public.

The new system improves the integration of publication citations, stratigraphic nomenclature, downloadable content, and unpublished source information, greatly improving public access to this archive, according to the USGS website.

One significant feature of new site is “MapView”  – a new interface that seamlessly portrays the nation’s geologic maps published by USGS, the state geological surveys, and many others. These maps, now available through the National Geologic Map Database, can be viewed in detail and downloaded from the various publishers.

According to USGS, this is just the first stage in a complete redesign of the database. Other aspects of the site will be upgraded in the months ahead.

Posted by David Hubler on Dec 07, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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