This chapter focuses on the data that support USGS research efforts in pursuit of its mission as one of the nation’s leading producers of natural science information.


Spatial Data Collection

In addition to aerial and ground survey methods, imagery is the USGS’s most common source of spatial data. The Survey began using aerial photographs for mapping in the 1930s (USGS, 2001a; Figure 3.1); by the 1970s satellite imagery became the primary source for capturing broad-scale geographic information (Figure 3.2).

FIGURE 3.1 Early aerial photography, a precursor to modern remote sensing, was an adventure. This pilot (W.Sidney Park, on the right) and photographer are about to begin a 1922 photography flight with the most modern photographic equipment then available, the small camera on the ground under the plane.

SOURCE: USGS Field Records and Photography Library, Denver, Colorado.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement