USGS National Map Viewer – New Data and Resources

Hello everyone:

USGS operates the National Map Viewer ( as a national GIS data resource.  The site has long offered viewing and download access to a number of individual basemap layers (imagery, elevation, land cover, boundaries, hydrography, etc.).  Recently, some new capabilities have been added providing more utility to GIS users.

1. Contour lines – the same contour lines shown on the new 1:24,000-scale US Topo can now be downloaded as vector files for use in GIS.  The contour lines are available in a shapefile format.  Contour lines are pre-staged in one degree blocks for quick retrieval.

2. Download Options – have been expanded to include selecting areas by a bounding box or by specifying coordinates (in decimal degrees).  The site has supported the ability to download data by reference region (such as county or quadrangle or watershed) or by the map viewer extent.  Now these additional options make it easier to select data for the exact region you need.

3. More maps and data to view and download – in addition to the contour lines mentioned above. National Map Viewer had added an elevation availability basemap layer which can be toggled on and off.  This lets users know what resolution of elevation model is available (such as 1/3 arc-second (10m)) for a given area.  Another improvement is the ability to download scanned topographic maps from the historical topographic map collection, which you will see as an option under the “available data for download window.”

We invite everyone to visit the National Map Viewer and see these new additions.  And, as always, if you have any questions or need help locating or downloading data please feel free to contact us anytime.  Thanks,

Drew Decker
Carol Ostergren

Free Online Metadata Training

Online ISO Metadata Training – February 5 to March 15, 2013 Session – UML Basics

With declining budgets and travel limitations, it is challenging for data managers to keep up-to-date on the latest metadata standards and tools. In response, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) is offering Introduction to Geospatial ISO Metadata, a free, online training series beginning in January 2013.

NCDDC set out to meet the increased needs of data managers as many organizations transition from FGDC to ISO standards.  Working with other metadata trainers within the community, the NCDDC Metadata Team has developed a complete package of training materials for the transition to ISO metadata standards. Conducting this training online is an innovative way to meet the increased demand for this training while controlling travel expenses.  NCDDC conducted two prior metadata training series online in which over 1500 participants from 18 countries on five continents took part. The success of these efforts has led to the continuation and expansion of the training with two series of Introduction to Geospatial ISO Metadata and two series of Transitioning from FGDC to ISO Metadata already planned for 2013.

Registration is now open for the next series which will be held every Tuesday from 9:30 a.m-10:30 a.m. CST from January 15 until March 5, 2013.  The series will start with an introduction to metadata, and cover topics such as XML basics, tools, and data discovery. All materials will be made available online, and instructors will be available by request for special one-on-one “My Metadata” sessions to answer specific questions for individual participants.

To register or for more information, please visit:


Jacqueline Mize
NOAA National Coastal
Data Development Center