An update via the USGS and the natioanl map program… Latest West Virginia, New Jersey and Georgia Quads Available: New US Topomaps for West Virginia (418 quads), New Jersey (150 quads) and Georgia (952 quads) have been posted to the USGS Map Locator & Downloader and are also accessible through The National Map viewer. The new maps feature a new design that was launched earlier this year. The new design presents a crisper and cleaner presentation which enhances the readability of the maps for online and printer use.http://on.doi.gov/1ihKlaJ
So you need USGS topos do you? After years and years the USGS topo data is still a hot ticket item that many Geo professionals rely on for their basemaps. Since the dawn of time these data have been quite a pain to get.. imagine sifting through archaic data repositories on academic sites, state portals and antiquated web repositories (think 12 clicks to get your free download). Well, fear not because not only are these data easily available from the USGS via the national map but thanks to Google and the Google Map Gallery project, users have one click access to downloading the USGS topo quad of choice. Note, these data are made available as GeoPDF files so if you need other GIS formats or DRGs consult some of the State data repositories listed here and also in this comprehensive article on downloading free USGS data. See also this primer on working with USGS SDTS data
Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing sectors of renewable energy in the United States. About 3% of the total electricity in the United States was generated by wind turbines in 2012 (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), which is equivalent to the annual electricity use for about 12 million households. In response to the Department of Interior’s Powering Our Future initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has begun investigating how to assess the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife at a national scale.
An interesting research effort via the USGS asks Could Species Conservation be Key to Winning a College Football National Championship? This via the USGS… Believe it or not, sports analysts may want to pay attention to a different set of rankings—the endangered species list. In fact, by studying the work that USGS scientists have conducted on endangered species, the outcomes of many teams this season could have been accurately – though not statistically — anticipated.
There are a number of team mascots in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Bowl Subdivision that have their real-animal counterparts classified as an “endangered” or “threatened” species. Unfortunately for these teams, their season’s winning percentages were at high risk well before the opening kickoff.
So, teams may want to consider using mascots that aren’t endangered!
A recent update from the USGS shares that there are now more than 400 new topographic maps available for the state of Alaska. These new maps that update and detail the physical features of the state are part of the Alaska Mapping Initiative. The AMI is a combined Federal, state, local and tribal program to support and improve maps and digital map data for Alaska, bringing Alaska topographic map and digital map data quality in line with the conterminous United States. Prior to AMI, many of the topographic maps from the state of Alaska had not been updated in nearly 50 years and were created in different scales.
For those of you interested in monitoring not only the flood waters in Colorado but also for any location there’s some very useful resources available from the USGS to keep in mind. First and foremost, there’s the USGS Colorado Water Science Center webpage, packed with useful data, information, and web services, see http://co.water.usgs.gov/index.html
And for those of you interested in monitoring a specific location there’s a handy resource that enables you to set some parameters to determine when you will receive alerts either via text or email – enter the USGS water alert system. see stream guage data and water levels for any station and establish a text alert notification for a set threshold – http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert/
To keep pace with a rapid schedule and increasing demand, the USGS has posted new US Topo quadrangles covering Indiana(640 maps), Iowa (1,011 maps), North Carolina (833 maps), Pennsylvania (798 maps) and Virginia (596 maps). These new quads replace the first edition US Topo maps for those states. The replaced maps will be added to the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection and are also available for free download from The National Map and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website. Re-design enhancements and new features:
- Crisper, cleaner design improves online and printed readability while retaining the look and feel of traditional USGS topographic maps
- New functional road classification schema has been applied
- A slight screening (transparency) has been applied to some features to enhance visibility of multiple competing layers
- Updated free fonts that support diacritics
- New PDF Legend attachment
Have you ever wanted to contribute to the National Map? Well, now that the USGS has embraced the crowd there’s an opportunity for you to do just that! If you have access to the Internet and are willing to dedicate some time editing map data we hope you will consider participating!
The USGS is recruiting volunteers to collect and update USGS geographic data. Similar to how OpenStreetMap allows anyone to collect, edit, and use geographic data through an online map editor, the USGS has developed an online editor customized to our data to allow volunteers to contribute data to The National Map (http://nationalmap.gov/) and The National Structures Dataset .
From the USGS… We are looking for people like you to work with us to collect structures for the USGS. The data you will collect during this project will be loaded into The National Map
The latest in the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites, Landsat 8, officially began its mission on May 30. The purpose is to extend an unparalleled four-decade record of Earth’s land surface as seen from space. NASA launched the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite on February 11. Since then, NASA mission engineers and scientists, with USGS collaboration, have been putting the satellite through its paces – steering it into its orbit, focusing the instruments, calibrating the detectors, and collecting test images. Now fully mission-certified, the satellite will be transferred to USGS operational control and renamed Landsat 8. The specs:
The technical capabilities of Landsat 8 move forward in three areas in comparison to Landsat 7: increased spectral coverage; higher data precision (the ultimate resolution is not changed); and increased quantity of data collection (60% more scenes per day).
Recently, the USGS invited developers, information scientists, biologists/ecologists, and scientific data visualization specialists to create applications for selected USGS datasets, presenting them in innovative and informative new ways – see App-lifying USGS Earth Science Data. The winner for Best Overall App is “TaxaViewer” by the rOpenSci group based out of California.
about the app – TaxaViewer is a Web interface to a mashup of data from the USGS-sponsored Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), the Phylotastic taxonomic Name service, the Global Invasive Species Database, Phylomatic, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. TaxaViewer allows the user to view species-specific taxonomic data, invasive status, phylogenetic relationships, and species occurrence records.
The Challenge was open for submissions from January 9, 2013, to April 1, 2013. Utilizing the Challege.gov platform, the general public chose the winner of the Popular Choice App award.