also works with international governments and organizations: at the time of writing this report, the Survey is currently entered into 256 international agreements with 75 countries and 12 international organizations.

USGS international work is supported financially through two means: (1) federal appropriations that may be used for international Earth science projects, provided the projects support U.S. policy or benefit the Survey’s domestic mission and the American public; and (2) reimbursable funds from other U.S. agency partners, international organizations, and foreign governments.


The Survey’s primary international activities, as they relate to its domestic mission and broader national interests, are summarized below with reference to each of the seven mission areas. All of these international activities help to support U.S. diplomacy and capacity building, as well as other federal agencies in their missions and responsibilities.

Climate and Land-Use Change

The DOI Strategic Plan recognizes the need to engage internationally in climate and other mission areas as a core mission responsibility, and identifies key activities and strategies related to sustainable resource management. The USGS priorities for climate and land-use change include improving the understanding of

  • past global changes;
  • the global carbon cycle;
  • land-use and land-cover change;
  • droughts, floods, and water availability;
  • coastal response to sea-level rise, climatic hazards, and human development; and
  • biological responses to global change.

In addition to the Survey’s international projects to support these six priorities, the USGS management of the Landsat system is an important asset that enables monitoring and data collection to support an enormous range of decisions about the environment, climate, natural resources, and natural hazards.

Core Science Systems

All Survey activities have a strong spatial component and require a comprehensive mapping capability and infrastructure, which fall under the USGS Core Science Systems

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