The U.S. Geological Survey was established by an act of Congress on March 3, 1879, to provide a permanent Federal agency to conduct the systematic and scientific "classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain." An integral part of that mission includes publishing and disseminating the earth-science information needed to understand, to plan the use of, and to manage the Nation's energy, land, mineral, and water resources.
Since 1879, the research and fact-finding role of the USGS has grown and been modified to meet the changing needs of the Nation it serves. As part of the evolution, the USGS has become the Federal Government's largest earth-science research agency, the Nation's largest civilian mapmaking agency, the primary source of data on the Nation's surface- and ground-water resources, and the employer of the largest number of professional earth scientists. Today's programs serve a diversity of needs and users. To accomplish its mission, the USGS:
-- Conducts and sponsors basic and applied research in geology, hydrology, mapping, and related sciences.
-- Produces and updates geographic, cartographic, and remotely sensed information in graphic and digital forms.
-- Describes the onshore and offshore geologic framework and develops an understanding of its formation and evolution.
-- Assesses energy and mineral resources, determines their origin and manner of occurrence, and develops techniques for their discovery.
-- Collects and analyzes data on the quantity and quality of surface water and ground water, on water use, and on quality of precipitation.
-- Assesses water resources and develops an understanding of the impact of human activities and natural phenomena on hydrologic systems.
-- Evaluates hazards associated with earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, droughts, toxic, materials, landslides, subsidence, and other ground failures, and develops methods for hazards prediction.
-- Participates in the exploration of space and prepares geologic and other maps of the planets and their satellites.
-- Publishes thousands of reports and maps each year, establishes and maintains earth-science data bases, and disseminates earth-science data and information.
-- Provides scientific and technical assistance for the effective use of earth-science techniques, products, and information.
-- Coordinates topographic, geologic, and land-use mapping, digital cartography, and water-data activities.
-- Develops new technologies for the collection, coordination, and interpretation of earth-science data.
-- Provides scientific support and technical advice for legislative, regulatory, and management decisions.
-- Cooperates with more than 900 Federal, State, and local agencies, and with academia and industry.
Along with its continuing commitment to meet the growing and changing earth-science needs of the Nation, the USGS remains dedicated to its original mission to collect, analyze, interpret, publish, and disseminate information about the natural resources of the Nation-providing "Earth Science in the Public Service."
For more information please write or call:
Public Affairs Office
U.S. Geological Survey
119 National Center
Reston, Virginia 22092
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