EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A survey of geoscience map users was conducted to determine current and anticipated future geoscience map needs in the United States. The survey was conducted through a questionnaire sent to a statistically selected sample-set of members from nine diverse scientific and professional associations, whose members are known to include users of geoscience maps. Addressed was the current and future importance of both kind and scale of geoscience maps by user group (discipline) relative to major geologic provinces of the United States.

Users of geoscience maps from private industry constitute the largest category of respondents, with 66 percent. Government—federal, state, and local—respondents constitute the second largest group, with 16 percent. Academic respondents constitute 13 percent. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents were engaged in resource planning, exploration, or development. About 15 percent were engaged in scientific research, 10 percent in engineering, and 7 percent in hazard mitigation.

Over 80 percent of the respondents used one or more geoscience maps annually, and over two-thirds indicated an annual usage of between 10 and 500 maps. Conservative extrapolation from the sampled population of map users indicates the number of geoscience maps used annually in the United States is in excess of 5 million. Industry relies upon itself for 38 percent of the maps it uses and upon federal agencies for 27 percent and state agencies for 18 percent. Since only 10 percent of the geologists are employed by federal agencies and 4 percent by state agencies, there is a great dependence by industry on these agencies. Most geoscience maps produced in industry are retained within and available solely for the individual entity producing the map. Federal and state agencies are



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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A survey of geoscience map users was conducted to determine current and anticipated future geoscience map needs in the United States. The survey was conducted through a questionnaire sent to a statistically selected sample-set of members from nine diverse scientific and professional associations, whose members are known to include users of geoscience maps. Addressed was the current and future importance of both kind and scale of geoscience maps by user group (discipline) relative to major geologic provinces of the United States. Users of geoscience maps from private industry constitute the largest category of respondents, with 66 percent. Government—federal, state, and local—respondents constitute the second largest group, with 16 percent. Academic respondents constitute 13 percent. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents were engaged in resource planning, exploration, or development. About 15 percent were engaged in scientific research, 10 percent in engineering, and 7 percent in hazard mitigation. Over 80 percent of the respondents used one or more geoscience maps annually, and over two-thirds indicated an annual usage of between 10 and 500 maps. Conservative extrapolation from the sampled population of map users indicates the number of geoscience maps used annually in the United States is in excess of 5 million. Industry relies upon itself for 38 percent of the maps it uses and upon federal agencies for 27 percent and state agencies for 18 percent. Since only 10 percent of the geologists are employed by federal agencies and 4 percent by state agencies, there is a great dependence by industry on these agencies. Most geoscience maps produced in industry are retained within and available solely for the individual entity producing the map. Federal and state agencies are

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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs by far the major sources of geoscience maps that actually reach the general user community, with federal sources relied upon one-half again as much as the state sources. Respondents clearly indicated that full-color geologic maps are the most desirable geoscience map type. They indicated that for geologic maps a medium to large scale was most important (less than 1:62, 500). The largest single element of the questionnaire dealt with determining, by geologic-physiographic province, the geoscience mapping needs for the current and future, and by region, what scale would be most needed. Of the 42 provinces the highest ranked is the Gulf Coastal Plain. Of the other top-10-ranked regions (see Table 14), six are in the Basin Range-Rocky Mountains, and three are in the Great Plains- Midcontinent. The geographic concentration of these provinces strongly reflects the influence of industry- employed respondents, particularly petroleum exploration, which represented 60 percent of the respondents. For the future, of the 10 most important provinces, the Gulf Coastal Plain dropped to third position; six of the top 10 are in the Basin Range-Rocky Mountain provinces; seventh and eighth are in the Midcontinent; and the Appalachian Fold and Thrust Belt was elevated to tenth position. For planners, engineering geologists, geohydrologists, and those involved in hazard mitigation, the tectonically active Pacific Coastal area states ranked highest in future importance. Those involved chiefly in engineering ranked the southern Appalachian provinces as most important. In comparison of current to future importance, respondents indicated an increase in importance for 38 of the 41 provinces, with only two provinces, the currently top-ranked Gulf Coastal Plain and the Southern Great Plains, showing decreases. Data suggest that geoscience mapping needs may have peaked for the Gulf Coastal Plain and may be approaching the peak for the Midcontinent. Seismic and other hazard-related problems undoubtedly account for the strong increase in the Western Cordillera region, in addition to other problems related to rapid population growth. The large increase in future map needs for the Basin Range-Rocky Mountain region may reflect a partial geographic shift in resource exploration and development. In terms of future needs the Alaskan provinces showed greater percentage increase needs than any other provinces, with percentage increases that range from 41 to 50. The offshore areas, with the exception of the Atlantic

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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs Gulf Coast, were ranked moderately low in their current level of importance, but responses indicated sizable future increased importance. For the conterminous United States, most respondents stressed the need for geoscience maps at relatively large scales, most desiring scales at or larger than 1:62, 500. There was greater importance attached to smaller scales for Alaska, probably because large areas are still essentially unmapped and information is needed as soon as possible. In response to “Is there a single most important type of geoscience map you will need in the next decade?” the answer was, overwhelmingly, large-scale geologic maps. Large-scale geologic maps were requested almost 3 times more than the next most frequently cited map type. Response to the question “Are there any innovations in geoscience maps you would recommend?” was quite varied. The responses centered on the needs for additional high-quality ground truth data, for a ready and inexpensive means for data manipulation, for development of improved ways to portray and present map and map-based data, or for a ready means to determine where map-related data reside and how they can be accessed. Overall, respondents, representing a wide spectrum of users, clearly attached a high level of importance to geoscience maps and foresaw a significant increase in the need for such maps in the future.