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In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), EDC is conducting an accuracy assessment of the land-cover classification system. Field personnel are visiting 3,500 randomly selected sites throughout the United States and gathering land-cover information.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the USFS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and the United Nations Environment Programme-Global Resources Information Database initiated the development of a Western Hemisphere land-cover data base in late 1993; completion of a preliminary data base is scheduled for late 1994. Plans will continue, continent by continent, to characterize the remaining land masses. Priorities for the eventual completion of the effort will depend on recommendations from the scientific community.

Thomas R. Loveland has been involved in remote-sensing research at the EROS Data Center in Sioux Falls, S. Dak., for more than 14 years

Side-Looking Airborne Radar Program

ide-looking airborne radar (SLAR)

data have been acquired for over 40 percent of the United States. The USGS began collecting SLAR data in 1980 as a result of a congressional request “to begin the use of side-looking airborne radar imagery for topographic and geologic mapping, and geologic research surveys in promising areas." Each data-collection mission is designed around local geology and specific earth-science research criteria for the area. Because SLAR can penetrate most clouds, it has great value as an almost all-weather imaging system. SLAR data are available both in stereographic strip form and mosaicked onto 1:250,000scale USGS quadrangles. Since 1986, computer-compatible digital tapes have also been available. All data acquired since 1990 are also available on CD-ROM.

During FY 1993, SLAR data for

eight quadrangles were acquired, processed, and delivered to the USGS by a contractor. Data conversion from highdensity digital tape to more useful 9-track

This map represents seasonal regions of the conterminous United States and was

developed through the analysis of March–October 1990 1-km AVHRR imagery, digital elevation, ecoregions, and climate data. The complete land characteristics data base, available on CD-ROM, can be tailored to classification legends or parameters required for specific applications.

To order CD-ROM, contact:

Telephone: (605) 594–6507

Mail: Customer Services,
USGS, EROS Data Center,
Sioux Falls, SD 57.198

Analog -
* Analogo
- CD

USGS SLAR data holdings available from the EROS Data Center.


For more information on SLAR,


Telephone (703) 648–4524



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are also requiring a wider variety of source material such as those available from advanced remote-sensing and satellite technologies. Advanced Cartographic Systems is a multiyear effort that is replacing outdated graphic mapping equipment with more efficient, advanced computer-assisted cartographic systems and developing innovative applications capable of producing cartographic and image data in both graphic and digital form. The automated production equipment and specialized facilities acquired under this program also provide the USGS with improved ability and greater flexibility for supporting civilian government agency use of remote-sensing capabilities for national concerns such as predicting, detecting, and monitoring natural events and disasters, monitoring environmental conditions and effects, and managing resources.

National Advanced Remote Sensing Applications

D. FY 1993, USGS activities supporting the coordinated civilian use of advanced cartographic capabilities were moved into a new facility in Reston, Va. Initial implementation of the national advanced remote sensing applications project (which deals

This map of Park Ridge, Ill., is an excerpt of the first topographic quadrangle map produced and published by the USGS using fully automated digital technology. The map was produced by using digital orthophoto quadrangles from orthorectified aerial photography and digital line graph data scan digitized from the original graphic map separates. The graphic data on the map were plotted by using automated computer technology; only the type was placed manually. The techniques and equipment used to produce this map were developed by the USGS Advanced Cartographic System's development program. The processes used will increase the efficiency of USGS map production and shorten the map-updating cycle. They will also result in digital imagery and cartographic data that can be used in computerized geographic information systems to support complex land and resource management analysis and decisionmaking.

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At Work Across the Nation
in Geologic Studies


The Geologic Division evaluates the Nation's geologic structure and the geologic processes that have shaped it, assesses the Nation's mineral and energy resources, and identifies and investigates geologic hazards.

* Investigations of geologic hazards provide information for pre-
dicting and delineating hazards from earthquakes and
volcanoes and for identifying engineering problems related to
ground-failure hazards.

* Regional geologic studies provide geologic maps and regional
syntheses of detailed geologic data essential to mineral, energy, and
hazard assessments and to land-use decisions such as
landfill siting and selection of transportation routes.

- Offshore geologic studies characterize the marine Federal lands, identifying and describing the mineral and petroleum resources of the offshore areas of the U.S., including the Exclusive Economic Zone, an area one-third larger than the land area of the United States.

* Mineral resource investigations assess the distribution, quantity, and quality of the Nation's mineral resources and their environmental implications that are required for making land-use decisions by Federal, State, and local land-management agencies.

* Surveys of energy resources provide assessments of the Nation's coal, petroleum, uranium, and geothermal resources and enhance capabilities to explore for and develop new sources of energy.


Marine and Coastal Geologic Surveys

A. onshore resources are depleted and as the population continues to shift toward the coasts, more societal pressure will be placed on the Nation's already severely stressed coastal and marine environments. These stresses will increase further as the Nation turns to the coasts and oceans in its search for new sources of minerals and energy, for increased food production, for recreation, and for safe disposal sites for waste materials. Increased use of coasts and oceans in turn increases the potential risk to people and property from natural hazards such as coastal erosion, landslides, earthquakes, and severe storms. Much multidisciplinary information is needed to manage the development of the ocean's vast resources in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

The USGS Marine and Coastal Geologic Surveys program provides data, analysis, and information on issues of national, regional, and local concern in marine and coastal areas; it is the seaward extension of the USGS's onshore geologic investigations. The program covers coastal wetlands, beaches, and estuaries and Federal lands contained in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico, which are 30 percent larger than the land area of the continental United States. Research topics include determining the geologic framework of coasts and oceans, mapping the EEZ by using sidescan sonar, identifying and quantifying the processes responsible for transporting and depositing sediments, and characterizing offshore hazards and resources.

Contamination in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay

oston Harbor, cited in the late 1980's

by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the most contaminated harbor in the United States, is presently benefiting from a $4.8 billion cleanup effort that involves elimination of sludge discharge, construction of a secondary sewage




Effluent dilutions for the existing outfall in Massachusetts Bay and the proposed outfall simulated for the period from December 1, 1990, to March 29, 1991 (typical unstratified conditions) and assuming conservative behavior of the effluent.

treatment plant, and relocation of a sewage effluent outfall from its present position at the harbor mouth to a point 9 miles into Massachusetts Bay. The USGS is conducting a research program in cooperation with State agencies in Massachusetts and scientists from universities and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to provide basic scientific information on the transport and accu mulation of contaminated sediments in the bay area. Not only is this information critical to making management and engineering decisions, but it also contributes to evaluating the cleanup effort. Such information is needed in many coastal areas around the United States where the


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