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 geologic structure,
mineral resources, and products of national domain." An integral part of that
original 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 U.S. Geological Survey
has grown and been modified to meet the changing needs of the Nation it serves.
As part of that evolution, the U.S. Geological Survey has become the Federal
Government's largest earth-science research agency, the Nation's largest
civilian map-making 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. Programs include:
Along with its
continuing commitment to meet the growing and changing earth-science needs of
the Nation, the U.S. Geological Survey 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
- Conducting detailed assessments of the energy and mineral potential of the
Nation's land and offshore areas.
- Investigating and issuing warnings of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
landslides, and other geologic and hydrologic hazards.
- Conducting research on the geologic structure of the Nation.
- Studying the geologic features, structure, processes, and history of the
other planets of our solar system.
- Conducting topographic surveys of the Nation and preparing topographic and
thematic maps and related cartographic products.
- Developing and producing digital cartographic data bases and products.
- Collecting data on a routine basis to determine the quantity, quality, and
use of surface and ground water.
- Conducting water-resource appraisals in order to describe the consequences
of alternative plans for developing land and water resources.
- Conducting research in hydraulics and hydrology, and coordinating all
Federal water-data acquisition.
- Using remotely sensed data to develop new cartographic, geologic, and
hydrologic research techniques for natural-resources planning and management.
- Providing earth-science information through an extensive publication
program and a network of public access points.