Digital Mapping Techniques '99 -- Workshop Proceedings
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-386

The National Atlas of the United States of America

By Gregory J. Allord

U.S. Geological Survey
505 Science Drive
Madison, WI 53711-1061
Telephone: (608) 238-9333 x200
Fax: (608) 238-9334

A new National Atlas was authorized in 1997 to update the original Atlas published in 1970. The first National Atlas was generally found in reference collections of libraries as well as being used by educators and government organizations. This edition was a 400 page, 12 pound printed book with 765 maps that took 7 years to produce. The $100 price was a deterrent for purchase for home use. This new National Atlas is intended to reach audiences not typically addressed by U. S. Government programs and products. Initial Atlas design efforts concentrated on identifying customers, determining their expectations, and using this market research to refine product definitions. The new National Atlas is designed for individuals who own powerful home computers.

The National Atlas of the United States of AmericaTM ( will include four distinct products: high-quality small-scale maps; authoritative, documented national geospatial and geostatistical data sets; easy-to-use web-based software for data display, query and custom information; and hot links to other sites on the WWW for up-to-date, real-time, and regional data. The U.S. Geological Survey, the lead agency in this Government-wide effort, is also developing partnerships to make a product that is responsive to the needs of secondary markets like education, businesses, and libraries. The National Atlas will realize these goals for delivery of information through the WWW and on CD-ROM products through a combination of Government support as well as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements signed with one or more private businesses.

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