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Topographic Mapping over the last 125 Years: Special Exhibit Opens at ESRI Conference
Released: 7/10/2009 4:20:04 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Reston, VA 20192
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Phone: (573) 578-0848

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Celebrating the 125th anniversary of its national topographic mapping program, the U.S. Geological Survey will showcase its latest high-resolution geospatial data and state-of-the-art mapping technology at the annual ESRI Users Conference in San Diego, California, July 13 – 17, at the San Diego Convention Center.

A new, walk-through exhibit featuring touchable artifacts will highlight the history of USGS topographic mapping. Technical presentations will describe applications of USGS geospatial data to such complex issues as managing fisheries, restoring ecosystems, and mapping across international borders. The extensive USGS conference participation takes place in multiple venues: the Map Gallery, Special Displays, Technical Sessions, and the Exhibit Pavilion

Below are highlights of USGS participation in the conference.

Special Displays:

Located on the upper level, 3rd Floor of the San Diego Convention Center, the Special Displays open on Monday, July 13 at 3:30 p.m. and will remain open for the duration of the conference.

125th Anniversary of the USGS Topographic Mapping Program

In a bold, visionary statement to Congress on December 5, 1884, USGS Director, John Wesley Powell announced, “A Government cannot do any scientific work of more value to the people at large than by causing the construction of proper topographic maps of the country.”

This exhibit traces the history and technological development of topographic mapping by the U.S. Geological Survey through 125 years, 1884-2009. Featuring instructive historical artifacts and tactile pieces of the past, the 900 sq.ft., walk-through display presents the concept that the Survey helped catalyze today’s national geospatial information industry through innovations in mapping, in geographic information systems, and in the provision of publicly-accessible geospatial data. From field sketching and copper plates to The National Map and interactive topographic maps, the exhibit portrays developments in field surveying, photogrammetry, cartographic compilation, and printing as interwoven threads of USGS mapping history.

Map Gallery:

USGS maps and posters will be on display in the Map Gallery beginning Monday, July 13 at 3:30 p.m. and will be on display throughout the conference. (Sail Area, 2nd floor, San Diego Convention Center) Selected USGS titles are below:

  • Modeling Perennial Streams of Idaho
  • Natural Stream Flow Estimates for Washington
  • Perennial/Intermittent Streams of Colorado
  • Partners in Stewardship of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)
  • LiDAR and Imagery Over Denver, Colorado
  • LiDAR Imagery Used to Identify Earthquake Fault Scarps of the Tacoma Fault Zone
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images in the North polar layered deposits of Mars
  • Petroleum Potential GIS for Southern and Western Afghanistan
  • Geologic Map of Mount Mazama and Crater Lake Caldera, Oregon
  • Utilizing ESRI GIS tools to display earthquake-related data in Google Maps and Google Earth
  • New GeoPDF Map Products from USGS National Map Data on the USGS Online Store
  • Seismic Landslide Hazards in Anchorage, Alaska
  • The National Atlas of the United States of America
  • US/Canada Transboundary Data Harmonization
  • Liquefaction Hazard Mapping
  • Shoreline Habitat and Fish Population Research in Grand Canyon, Arizona
  • The National Map new Digital Service
  • Layers of The National Map
  • Hydrogeology of the Lake Tahoe Basin, California and Nevada
  • Estimation of Land Disturbance from Energy Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin
  • Mapping Human Disturbance and Land Cover/Land Use
  • Geologic Map of the Santa Barbara Coastal Plain Area
  • Modeling seasonal cougar habitat selection at Zion National Park
  • Using LiDAR to Identify Geologic Features
  • GIS-Based Planetary Geologic Maps

Technical Sessions:

Canada, Mexico, and the United States Harmonize Their Small-scale Map Frameworks
Collaboration across international borders is producing harmonized data that was only dreamed of a few years ago. In 2004, the largest nations of North America collaboratively produced basic cartographic data layers at a scale of 1:10,000,000. These integrated data sets were documented in three languages; were made available online by each country for download at no cost to the end users; were provided as Web map services; and were published in a political base map of North America. These fundamental map layers became the geospatial framework for the North American Environmental Atlas. Federal mapping organizations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States have now agreed to produce an entirely new set of frameworks at a scale of 1:1,000,000. These data will be harmonized at national borders and will adhere to the Global Map data dictionary.

Jay Donnelly, Tue, Jul 14, 3:15PM - 4:30PM, San Diego Convention Center Room 23 B 

 Spatial Modeling of Nearshore Habitats, Grand Canyon

Closure of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963 significantly altered the physical processes and environments of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. This has affected the aquatic food web and the native and non-native fish communities. The USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC) is actively investigating habitat requirements of native fishes and the relationships of these habitats to dam operations. Using remotely-sensed data in a GIS environment, we identify specific physical and thermal habitat assemblages considered to be of importance to native fish populations. USGS has developed automated techniques for providing shoreline habitat data for the entire river corridor, spatial-temporal analyses of nearshore habitat availability, and has incorporated thermal model outputs into a physical GIS database for fish habitat research and assessment.

Michael Breedlove, Tue, Jul 14, 3:15PM - 4:30PM, San Diego Convention Center Room 30 E

Regional Application of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHDPlus)

Watershed models, called “SPARROW” (Spatially Referenced Regressions on Watershed Attributes) are being developed by the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program of the USGS for large geographical regions, referred to as 'major river basins' (MRB), that cover the contiguous United States. The National Hydrologic Dataset Plus (NHDPlus) will serve as the hydrologic framework for two of the MRB SPARROW models - the Northeast Atlantic Seaboard (New England through Chesapeake Bay) and the entire Southeastern United States (areas east of the Mississippi River Basin that drain to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico). One of the most valuable benefits of NHDPlus, for water-quality modeling, is the rich set of attributes that have been developed. NHDPlus is an improved 1:100,000-scale National Hydrography Dataset that includes a set of value added attributes for stream network navigation, a National Seamless Database of topographically derived catchments, and estimates of mean annual stream flow and velocity.

Craig Johnston & Richard Moore, Thu, Jul 16, 10:15AM - 11:30AM, San Diego Conv Center Rm 25 C 

Web Services and the National Hydrography Dataset Plus

A variety of Web services that leverage the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus) and information linked to the underlying NHD are now available or planned for the near future. The NHDPlus surface water drainage network enables Web-based up/downstream query of water quality information, including water quality assessments, water quality impairments, and permitted dischargers. This presentation will describe a collection of such Web services that are being delivered by the USGS and the USEPA.

Alan Rea, USGS, and Thomas Dewald, U.S. EPA
Thu, Jul 16, 10:15AM - 11:30AM, San Diego Convention Center Room 25 C 

Exhibit Pavilion

On the ground floor of the Convention Center, the USGS has a large exhibit booth in the Federal Showcase area of the Exhibition Hall, Tuesday through Thursday, during the conference. Please stop by Booth F 1022 for demonstrations, displays, and for answers to any questions.


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