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USGS Geospatial Data Sources

Primary Sources of FREE USGS Geospatial Data

The National Map
Go to The National Map Download Client to download US Topo and historical topographic maps, and data for the United States for various themes to include: 1) Boundaries; 2) Elevation Products (3DEP); 3) Elevation Source Data (3DEP); 4) Hydrography (NHD) and Watersheds (WBD); 5) Imagery from High Resolution Orthoimagery and National Agriculture Imagery Program; 6) Map Indices; 7) Geographic Names; 8) Land Cover; 9) Structures; 10) Transportation; and 11) Woodland. Contours are under Elevation Products, and lidar point clouds are under Elevation Source Data.
Small-scale data, formerly from The National Atlas, has been migrated to The National Map, which includes Printable Maps, Small-scale Framework data, and Global Map data (1:1,000,000 scale).
The National Map Services provide a complete list of service endpoints, which contain REST, WMS, WMTS (cached base maps only), WFS, WCS, and other service links.
Earth Explorer*
Download data from more than 300 data collections that span over 75 years of coverage. Includes USGS satellite imagery, historical and recent USGS aerial photography, elevation data, land cover products, Lidar point cloud data, Digital Line Graphs (DLGs), Digital Orthophoto Quads (DOQs), and much more.
Just looking for satellite imagery? Don't really need a robust and complex search engine? GloVis is a browse-based viewer that's easier to search and more user-friendly than EarthExplorer. Products include Landsat, ASTER, EO-1, MODIS, and TerraLook imagery, NAPP and NHAP imagery.

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Additional FREE Geospatial Data from the USGS & Our Partners

Georeferenced Landsat and Aster satellite images in JPEG format for users who don’t want to use complicated software. Perfect for simple visual interpretation and to track changes over time. Download optional free software for very basic manipulations. The Landsat images are preselected for best views.
Full-resolution JPEGs of Landsat satellite images that are best used for image selection and simple visual interpretation. Available as thermal or natural color images with optional geographic reference. Not recommended for digital analysis.*
Geospatial information from all levels of government and the public.
National Geologic Map Database
Search over 90,000 maps and reports, including free digital maps and GIS map data. Primary themes are geology, geophysics, marine, energy resources, and natural hazards.
Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS)*
A dynamic online map interface that can be used to view and download USGS datasets for national or international disasters including floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
Water Spatial Data
Maps and GIS data for water related topics such as water use maps and data, watershed boundaries, NHD, streamflow records, and more.
USGS Quaternary Fault and Fold Database
Geologic, geomorphic, and geographic information for over 2,000 Quaternary (active in the last 1,600,000 years) faults in the U.S. Download shape files and Google Earth files.
Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data*
A source for regional and global geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and mineral resource maps and data. Includes map services.
Global Mineral Resource Assessments*
Most of these reports contain GIS data. The USGS is in the process of compiling all the data in a single location, but for now users must review each link.
Energy Data Finder*
Geospatial data related to oil & gas, coal, geochemistry, and geophysics. This is also a good place to look for base data in international locations (used in global energy assessments).
Maps of America’s Submerged Lands
A portal to published USGS maps, reports, and digital data that depict the bathymetry, surficial geology, and/or subsurface structure of selected submerged U.S. areas. This mostly coastal locations, but includes some lakes.
Coastal & Marine Interactive Map Server
GIS data and metadata for past and current projects.

[*Includes international data or information]

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Other Sites of Interest

United States Interagency Elevation Inventory
Where to find high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the U.S., including LIDAR, IfSAR, hydrographic surveys, multibeam data, and bathymetric LIDAR.
GIS Lessons for the Classroom
Use ArcView or ArcGIS to create a DEM or to explore the geography of Africa.
USGS Resources for Working with Topographic Maps
List of links for interpreting and using topographic maps; working with coordinates, datums, and projections; and classroom activities that use topographic maps.
USGS Natural Hazards Support System (NHSS)*
Monitor and analyze natural hazards events as they are occurring anywhere on the earth. Dynamic links connect to additional information.
Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
The official repository of geographic names data for the U.S. Contains information about physical and cultural geographic features of all types in the United States and defines the feature location by state, county, USGS topographic map, and geographic coordinates.
Planetary Nomenclature
Download shapefiles or KML files of all named features on planets and moons.
Astrogeology MCTR GIS Lab
Graphical, statistical, and spatial GIS tools for analyses of planetary data. All downloads are free. Links to Interactive GIS maps of Mars, the Moon, and Venus.
USGS Publications Warehouse*
Search bibliographic citations for USGS publications. Links to online sources for many publications, including maps.
The National Map Corps
Citizen mapping! Volunteer map data collection projects including input on structure locations.
USGS Education Map Catalog
Go to the USGS Store site and click on "Education Products" to find paper maps that are popular with educators and the general public. Most paper maps must be purchased (teacher discounts are available), but many have links to PDF versions that can be freely downloaded.

[*Includes international data or information]

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Where to Get Digital (FREE) and Printed Topographic Maps

Digital US Topo Quadrangles (updated approximately every 3 years)
- For individual maps in GeoPDF format, go to the USGS Store and Click on "Map Locator & Downloader"
- For large blocks of maps in GeoPDF format, go to The National Map Viewer 
Digital Historical Topographic Quadrangles
- The USGS Store (Click on "Map Locator & Downloader")
- Historical Topographic Map Collection
- TopoView
- USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer (a partnership between the USGS and esri)
Purchase paper copies of US Topo Quadrangles or Historical Topographic Quadrangles
- The USGS Store (Click on "Map Locator & Downloader")

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FREE Bulk Downloads of Maps and Geospatial Data

The National Map Bulk Download Applications
Start with this application if you need less than an entire hard drive of data. Includes orthoimagery but not satellite imagery.
National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)
Full national coverage of the NHD is available on DVDs. This includes all medium-resolution and high-resolution (where available) data. To request the DVDs, please send 1) the desired format (or both formats if preferred), and 2) your mailing address to: For additional information, send email to
Available formats:

3D Elevation Program (3DEP)
You supply the external hard drive (within our specifications), along with a paid return label for return shipping. Turnaround time is 1-4 weeks. Detailed options and instructions.
Minimum deliveries are for complete datasets of:
Orthoimagery, National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD)
You supply the external hard drive (within our specifications), along with a paid return label for return shipping. Turn-around time can take up to 4 to 8 weeks. Detailed options and instructions.
Available data includes:
Landsat Imagery, some EarthExplorer Data, Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS) Imagery
Use the Bulk Data Application (BDA) to download up to 500 individual files after generating a scene list in EarthExplorer (comma separated metadata export), GloVis (saved scene list), or HDDS.

US Topo and Historical Topographic Maps
Bulk delivery by county, state, geographic rectangle (lat/long bounding box), or the entire product series is possible through four mechanisms at no charge. Options 3 and 4 provide means for keeping a private file-set current. Additional information.

  1. For 1,000 or fewer maps: The USGS mails you a custom script for multiple downloads; this requires your computer to have the free wget utility. For more details, send a message describing your requirements to Please include which product(s) (US Topo or HTMC) you want, and your area of interest. This script is not general-purpose software, but is a batch file for a specific area such as a State, county, or geographic rectangle.
  2. For more than 1,000 maps (up to the entire map collection): If you ship us a portable disk drive with prepaid return shipping, the USGS will load the drive with maps and return it to you. For more details, send your requirements (including product type and area of interest) to
  3. For advanced users: Use this application to search for subsets of US Topo and historical topographic maps. Save search results to a CSV file that includes a download URL for each map. A complete CSV dump of the database is refreshed nightly and posted to the same page. See information about writing download scripts.
  4. For skilled web programmers: Monitor USGS product databases through the API of the ScienceBase catalog. This is similar to option 3, but is more elegant and powerful. See documentation.

[*Includes international data or information]

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 22-Jun-2016 18:09:18 EDT