As one of the cornerstones of the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Geospatial Program, The National Map is a collaborative effort among the USGS and other Federal, State, and local partners to improve and deliver topographic information for the Nation. It has many uses ranging from recreation to scientific analysis to emergency response. The National Map is easily accessible for display on the Web, as products and services, and as downloadable data. The geographic information available from The National Map includes orthoimagery (aerial photographs), elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover. Other types of geographic information can be added within the viewer or brought in with The National Map data into a Geographic Information System to create specific types of maps or map views. The National Map is a significant contribution to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and currently is being transformed to better serve the geospatial community by providing high quality, integrated geospatial data and improved products and services including new generation digital topographic maps.
In addition to being an important contribution to the NSDI, The National Map is foundational to implementation of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Geospatial Modernization Blueprint and meeting the DOI mission to protect America's treasures for future generations, provide access to our nation's natural and cultural heritage, offer recreation opportunities, honor our trust responsibilities, conduct scientific research, provide wise stewardship of energy and mineral resources, foster sound use of land and water resources, and conserve and protect fish and wildlife. The National Map also underpins the USGS Science Strategy which is based on a systems approach to help address multi-faceted issues, provide better understanding of earth processes and evaluate broad causes and consequences of the use and management of natural resources.