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Questions and Answers About the Future of the National Atlas of the United States

The National Atlas of the United States will be removed from service on September 30, 2014. Some of its products and services will continue to be available from The National Map (nationalmap.gov) while others will not. Everything currently available from the National Atlas will remain accessible until the end of September. We encourage you to explore nationalatlas.gov and to retrieve any products of lasting use to you.

This page provides questions and answers about the future of the National Atlas.

National Atlas Products and Services:

  1. What's happening to all National Atlas products and services?
  2. Will I still be able to find everything from the National Atlas on The National Map Web site?
  3. Is the National Atlas continuing as part of The National Map or is its development ending?
  4. Why was this decision made?
  5. Who made the decision?
  6. What is happening to the USGS staff of the National Atlas?
  7. Will international programs once served by the National Atlas continue to be supported?

1. What's happening to all National Atlas products and services?
Generally, The National Map will continue to maintain, produce, document, and deliver small-scale basic cartographic data such as roads, boundaries, and surface waters. Streamer will be served by nationalmap.gov as will the Set of Topographic Maps Illustrating Physical Features. National Atlas page-sized Printable Maps will also be available from nationalmap.gov. For complete information on what's happening to other products and services, please see the National Atlas transition page.

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2. Will I still be able to find everything from the National Atlas on The National Map Web site?
No. Most National Atlas products and services that were primarily intended for a broad public audience as well as thematic data contributions from outside the National Geospatial Program (NGP) will not be available from nationalmap.gov. To learn more about this, please visit our National Atlas transition page. We also encourage you to download National Atlas products prior to September 30, 2014.

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3. Is the National Atlas continuing as part of The National Map or is its development ending?
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is ending development of the National Atlas of the United States on September 30, 2014. Some National Atlas products will continue to be offered through nationalmap.gov while others will not. A National Atlas transition page is online and will be updated with the latest news on the continuation or disposition of National Atlas products and services.

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4. Why was this decision made?
There were two primary considerations: budget and program priorities. The USGS NGP currently includes both the National Atlas and The National Map. Its strategic focus is on producing high quality elevation and hydrography data for the Nation and on making US Topo maps for America. Within this tight budget climate, the resources once devoted to producing the National Atlas will now be redirected to these NGP priorities.

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5. Who made the decision?
Mark DeMulder, the Director of the NGP, made this decision. He did so with the concurrence of his leadership team and the USGS Associate Director for Core Science Systems, Mr. Kevin Gallagher.

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6. What is happening to the staff members of the National Atlas?
Most NGP staff members currently working on the National Atlas are already moving into higher priority projects within The National Map, such as elevation and hydrography data and US Topo production. National Atlas contributors from other USGS science programs will return to those programs in October 2014. We are eliminating some staff positions held by contractors.

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7. Will international programs once served by the National Atlas continue to be supported?
The USGS will continue to produce authoritative small-scale base cartographic data (such as boundaries, surface waters, and transportation) of the United States at one million-scale. These data will continue to support the international Global Map effort. At this time, there are no plans to revise the American ten million-scale base cartographic data that was contributed to the North American Environmental Atlas. However, the USGS will continue to work with national mapping programs in Canada and Mexico to harmonize cartographic data for this continent to the greatest practical extent.

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