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FAQThere are some questions we receive again and again. You'll find our answers to them here.
Frequently Answered Questions
|1. What software do I need to run the National Atlas?
|2. What products and services are included in the National Atlas?
Please see our Products page for a complete listing of the products and services included in the National Atlas.
|3. I need help using the Map Maker. Where do I go?
Please visit the Help for the National Atlas Map Maker page. If you still have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|4. How do I find (a town, place, feature, etc.)?
The National Atlas Map Maker can be used to locate named places within the United States. Go to the Map Maker, click on the Find tab, then follow the onscreen directions.
|5. What is the scale of the atlas maps?
Most of our data are collected at a scale of 1:2,000,000 and are intended for use at national or large regional scales. In the Map Maker, a bar scale appears under the map. The scale of each wall map is included on the Wall Maps page. We use a wide variety of scales on National Atlas printable maps.
|6. How do I get more detailed information?
There are several ways to get more detailed information than what you find in the National Atlas.
First, National Atlas Data come from many different Federal agencies and these agencies are often the best sources for more detailed information. Links from the National Atlas to Federal Web sites are provided in two ways. The Identify function in the Map Maker returns information with links to additional sites. There are also links provided in our National Atlas Data Download page. Click on a map layer name in the first column of the table on this page or on the map layer name in the Map Maker.
|7. I need a prepared page-size map of the United States or my State that I can print from my computer. Is there one on your site?
Yes, the National Atlas offers plenty of choices in page-size maps. Please see our Printable Maps page for the latest list of the printable maps we offer. In addition, the following sites have links to United States maps in formats appropriate for printing. We welcome information on other sites that provide similar maps.
|8. I need a zip code map of the United States. Is one included
in the National Atlas?
We do not have a zip code map layer at this time. However, in the National Atlas Map Maker you can search for a place by its zip code and then zoom to that location on your map. Go to the Map Maker, click on the Find tab, then follow the onscreen directions.
As far as we know, there are no free zip code maps available online. Several private companies sell zip code maps, either online or on CD-ROM. Also see the U.S. Postal Service zip code look-up and address information page.
|9. Does the National Atlas include a map showing the regions of
the United States?
We have not included a "Regions" map layer because the definition of regions is highly subjective. The definition of a particular region depends on the perspective of the user, the purpose of the map, or other factors. The following sites contain more information on the determination of regions.
Helping Your Child Learn Geography, U.S. Department of Education
|10. Can I use the National Atlas to get driving directions between
two points in the United States?
No, this is not a function of the National Atlas. The following Web sites do provide this service and we welcome information on additional sites.
|11. I want to buy a topographic map. How do I get it?
The USGS Science Information and Library Services (SILS) locations sell topographic maps. Visit the SILS home page or call 1-888-ASK-USGS. There are also thousands of USGS map dealers in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Current maps and a growing number of historic topographic maps are also available online from the USGS Store. See our information on using the National Atlas to locate and display a topographic map or digital .
|12. How do I report a problem with the data or with the National
Please send comments, bug reports, suggestions for improvements, questions, and any other communications to us at email@example.com.
We appreciate your input and try to respond promptly to all messages.
|13. I've noticed the little registered trademark symbol
in "The National Atlas of the United States of America®." Does
this mean that there are restrictions on using National Atlas data and maps?
No, not usually. Nearly all information collected by the Federal Government is in the public domain and use of National Atlas Data produced under this project is not restricted in any way. Both "National Atlas of the United States®" and "The National Atlas of the United States of America®" are registered trademarks of the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS has been publishing National Atlas products since 1970 and has simply taken action to trademark this term to incorporate all new graphic and electronic products of The National Atlas of the United States of America®.
Although the content of most National Atlas Web pages is in the public domain, some pages may contain material that is copyrighted by others and used by the National Atlas with permission. You may need to obtain permission from the copyright owner for other uses. Furthermore, some non-National Atlas data, products, and information linked, or referred to, from this site may be protected under U.S. and foreign copyright laws. You may need to obtain permission from the copyright owner to acquire, use, reproduce, or distribute these materials.
14. What is the appropriate citation for National Atlas information?
National Atlas of the United States, March 5, 2003, http://nationalatlas.gov
Use the date found on the bottom of the National Atlas Data Download page. For individual layers, we suggest a slightly different format. Include the author and the map layer title, and use the publication date for the individual map layer, i.e.
Chris Daly, Spatial Climate Analysis Service, September 2000, United States Average Annual Precipitation, 1961-1990, in National Atlas of the United States, http://nationalatlas.gov
For National Atlas articles, we suggest including the article title and date. If authors are credited at the end of an article, cite them and any originating publication as well:
Ecoregions of the United States, in National Atlas of the United States, January, 2005, http://nationalatlas.gov
15. I use a geographic information system (GIS). Can
I download National Atlas map layers or connect to them as Web map services?
You can also embed the National Atlas in your own application if your code takes advantage of the evolving Web Map Service (WMS) specifications from the Open Geospatial Consortium. Technical information for our WMS is available.
|16. I like to make map mashups. Does
the National Atlas support these?
Sure, as long as your application supports the open Web Map Service (WMS) implementation specification. Consult our technical information about the National Atlas WMS.
|17. Is the old National Atlas still available?
No. The National Atlas of the United States of America® published by the USGS in 1970, is out of print. However, the Library of Congress has added the original National Atlas to its American Memory collection on the World Wide Web. See the American Memory site to browse through the earlier atlas.
Also, many maps from the 1970 edition can be purchased from the USGS. See our page on Maps from the 1970 National Atlas for more information. Used or antique book stores and on-line auction sites are possible sources for the 1970 National Atlas. Reference copies are available in many libraries.
|18. I can't find the map I need
or an answer to my question here. Who should I contact?
For additional questions about the National Atlas, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other questions, we suggest trying the USGS Science Information and Library Services offices. Each SILS location offers nationwide information on biology, geography, geology, and water. They also provide sales service for USGS map products and natural science publications. SILS staff members can fill orders for custom products such as aerial photographs and orthophotoquads, digital cartographic data, and geographic names data. In addition, these offices can provide information about maps from other organizations. Visit the SILS home page or call their toll free number, 1-888-ASK-USGS."
National Atlas of the United States®
and The National Atlas of the United States of America®
are registered trademarks of the United States Department of the Interior
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Last modified: Thursday, 19-Jul-2012 14:41:57 CDT