National Geologic Map Database

This page is intended for our cooperators in the State geological surveys, universities, and other organizations, to assist in building the NGMDB. The NGMDB facilitates access and visibility for your agency -- for example, our site is accessed by more than 100,000 users each month and, through the Catalog's Product Description Pages, these users are linked to your agency's Web site and publications. We encourage you to consider the NGMDB as an extension of your Web site's services!
Please contact us with any questions or comments.

The Catalog

NGMDB’s Catalog is a comprehensive resource for information about paper and digital geoscience maps and reports on the Nation's geology, by all publishers. The Catalog is not limited to geologic maps -- because natural resource and hazard information also is critical in order to address various societal issues, many types of geoscience publications are included. Close collaboration between the State geological surveys and USGS ensures that the Catalog is a distributed archive, providing the guidance needed for users to find the authoritative source for each publication.

  • Guidelines for entering Catalog records
  • Submitting a publication to the NGMDB (see Help pages under Guides and Tutorials)
  • Terms and definitions as used by the NGMDB, related to publishing and managing geologic reports, maps, and their databases
  • Significant updates (funded as a STATEMAP deliverable):
    Prior to beginning this task, contact the NGMDB at ngmdb@usgs.gov. A meeting will be arranged, to review strategies for efficiently conducting the update (e.g., adding new records, and corrections to existing records). You then will be given a spreadsheet containing your agency’s records in the NGMDB Catalog, to begin work.
  • Changes to your Agency name, logo, Order Contact, personnel contact? Comment form or send us an email at ngmdb@usgs.gov
  • Corrections to a publication citation or images can be made via its Product Description Page:
    For example, you may wish to suggest a correction to coordinates, citation, or image quality. If so, please use the “Corrections to this entry?” link on the Product Description Page.


An interactive, map-based Web interface that shows a significant part of the NGMDB’s national archive of geoscience information – that is, the systematic, regional mapping of the bedrock and surficial deposits.
MapView is intended as an introduction to the geologic maps of the Nation, and is integrated with the NGMDB Map Catalog, where other geologic maps, and maps and reports for related geoscience themes, are available. From links in mapView, you can find, view, and download all other maps and reports in the NGMDB (over 106,000 publications).
More than 19,000 geologic maps of the 50 States and U.S. Territories and Possessions have been georeferenced, and are available for viewing in mapView; further information for each map is available via a hyperlink to that record in the Map Catalog. Significant effort is now directed toward an overhaul of the codebase and interface in order to support use on mobile devices. Concurrently, mapView's content is being evaluated with the goal of adding all new, and many older, geologic maps to this interface.

Why don’t maps immediately go into mapView, when a citation and the map image are entered to Catalog?
The mapView interface is built around the concept of geologic maps organized by map scale, with all maps in a map scale "bin" processed into a tile cache. This method provides rapid display of map images, in contrast to a separate image for each map in the NGMDB collection. The latter approach was used in the initial mapView interface but, as the number of maps to be displayed increased, the display time became unacceptably slow.
As part of the new process, on a periodic basis we gather new geologic map images, georeference and inspect them, add them to the mapView collection, re-process the tile caches, and post the new tile sets to the public interface.


The authoritative source for Formal Geologic Nomenclature of the U.S., its possessions, and territories. Geolex includes the significant publications of geologic units (e.g., original definitions and subsequent revisions). Publications are stored in The NGMDB Catalog. Information pertinent to the identification of the units is compiled and stated briefly. Geolex promotes uniform geologic nomenclature and classifications among geoscientists, whose studies cover diverse topics and geologic areas; it is foundational to geology-related studies.

GeMS (Geologic Map Schema)

The Geologic Map Schema is the standard schema for geologic map publications funded by: NCGMP (USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program), NGGDPP (USGS National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program), and Earth MRI (USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative).

  • Submitting Files to the NGMDB Trusted Digital Repository
  • Submitting files to the State Geologic Map Compilation:
    State geologic maps being converted to GeMS should follow the same guidance for converting individual maps and regional compilations (see Guidance. Before beginning this task, please contact Carma San Juan. A meeting will then be arranged, to review strategies for efficiently conducting the conversion (e.g., using standardized state boundaries, resolving topology issues, updating information).
  • Questions, Suggestions, Collaborate

Ancillary Databases

The NGMDB is working with State geological surveys and USGS Programs to inventory information about various ancillary databases that are essential for geologic mapping. The following activities are in progress:

  • Engineering properties shown on geologic maps (inventory conducted by the Illinois State Geological Survey)
  • Downhole geophysics (inventory conducted by the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology)
  • Borehole databases and information
  • USGS Geochronology Database -- the schema has been defined and geochronologic data are being compiled. For information, please contact us by email.


Our Personnel page provides a listing of NGMDB project members. For general inquiries, please contact us at ngmdb@usgs.gov.