Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U. S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast. Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the U. S. while San Antonio is the second-most populous in the state and seventh largest in the U. S. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively. Other major cities include Austin, the second-most populous state capital in the U. S. and El Paso. Texas is nicknamed "The Lone Star State" to signify its former status as an independent republic, as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico; the "Lone Star" can be found on the Texan state seal.
The origin of Texas's name is from the word taysha. Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes common to both the U. S. Southern and Southwestern regions. Although Texas is popularly associated with the U. S. southwestern deserts, less than 10% of Texas's land area is desert. Most of the population centers are in areas of former prairies, grasslands and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, the desert and mountains of the Big Bend; the term "six flags over Texas" refers to several nations. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845, Texas joined the union as the 28th state; the state's annexation set off a chain of events that led to the Mexican–American War in 1846.
A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U. S. in early 1861, joined the Confederate States of America on March 2nd of the same year. After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation. Four major industries shaped the Texas economy prior to World War II: cattle and bison, cotton and oil. Before and after the U. S. Civil War the cattle industry, which Texas came to dominate, was a major economic driver for the state, thus creating the traditional image of the Texas cowboy. In the 19th century cotton and lumber grew to be major industries as the cattle industry became less lucrative, it was though, the discovery of major petroleum deposits that initiated an economic boom which became the driving force behind the economy for much of the 20th century. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century.
As of 2015, it is second on the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with 54. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, energy and electronics, biomedical sciences. Texas has led the U. S. in state export revenue since 2002, has the second-highest gross state product. If Texas were a sovereign state, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world; the name Texas, based on the Caddo word táyshaʼ "friend", was applied, in the spelling Tejas or Texas, by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves the Hasinai Confederacy, the final -s representing the Spanish plural. The Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was completed near the Hasinai village of Nabedaches in May 1690, in what is now Houston County, East Texas. During Spanish colonial rule, in the 18th century, the area was known as Nuevo Reino de Filipinas "New Kingdom of the Philippines", or as provincia de los Tejas "province of the Tejas" also provincia de Texas, "province of Texas", it was incorporated as provincia de Texas into the Mexican Empire in 1821, declared a republic in 1836.
The Royal Spanish Academy recognizes both spellings and Texas, as Spanish-language forms of the name of the U. S. State of Texas; the English pronunciation with /ks/ is unetymological, based in the value of the letter x in historical Spanish orthography. Alternative etymologies of the name advanced in the late 19th century connected the Spanish teja "rooftile", the plural tejas being used to designate indigenous Pueblo settlements. A 1760s map by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin shows a village named Teijas on Trinity River, close to the site of modern Crockett. Texas is the second-largest U. S. state, with an area of 268,820 square miles. Though 10% larger than France and twice as large as Germany or Japan, it ranks only 27th worldwide amongst country subdivisions by size. If it were an independent country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Zambia. Texas is in the south central part of the United States of America. Three of its borders are defined by rivers; the Rio Grande forms a natural border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas to the south.
The Red River forms a natural border with Arkansas to the north. The Sabine River forms a natural border with Louisiana to the east; the Texas Panhandle has an eastern border with Oklahoma at 100° W, a northern border with Oklahoma at 36°30' N and a western
Houston is the most populous city in the U. S. state of Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, with a census-estimated population of 2.312 million in 2017. It is the most populous city in the Southern United States and on the Gulf Coast of the United States. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is the seat of Harris County and the principal city of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, the fifth most populous metropolitan statistical area in the United States and the second most populous in Texas after the Dallas-Fort Worth MSA. With a total area of 627 square miles, Houston is the eighth most expansive city in the United States, it is the largest city in the United States by total area, whose government is not consolidated with that of a county or borough. Though in Harris County, small portions of the city extend into Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. Houston was founded by land speculators on August 30, 1836, at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou and incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837.
The city is named after former General Sam Houston, president of the Republic of Texas and had won Texas' independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto 25 miles east of Allen's Landing. After serving as the capital of the Texas Republic in the late 1830s, Houston grew into a regional trading center for the remainder of the 19th century; the arrival of the 20th century saw a convergence of economic factors which fueled rapid growth in Houston, including a burgeoning port and railroad industry, the decline of Galveston as Texas' primary port following a devastating 1900 hurricane, the subsequent construction of the Houston Ship Channel, the Texas oil boom. In the mid-20th century, Houston's economy diversified as it became home to the Texas Medical Center—the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located. Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing and transportation.
Leading in healthcare sectors and building oilfield equipment, Houston has the second most Fortune 500 headquarters of any U. S. municipality within its city limits. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. Nicknamed the "Space City", Houston is a global city, with strengths in culture and research; the city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. Houston is the most diverse metropolitan area in Texas and has been described as the most racially and ethnically diverse major metropolis in the U. S, it is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts; the Allen brothers—Augustus Chapman and John Kirby—explored town sites on Buffalo Bayou and Galveston Bay.
According to historian David McComb, "he brothers, on August 26, 1836, bought from Elizabeth E. Parrott, wife of T. F. L. Parrott and widow of John Austin, the south half of the lower league granted to her by her late husband, they paid $5,000 total, but only $1,000 of this in cash. They lobbied the Republic of Texas Congress to designate Houston as the temporary capital, agreeing to provide the new government with a capital building. About a dozen persons resided in the town at the beginning of 1837, but that number grew to about 1,500 by the time the Texas Congress convened in Houston for the first time that May. Houston was granted incorporation with James S. Holman becoming its first mayor. In the same year, Houston became the county seat of Harrisburg County. In 1839, the Republic of Texas relocated its capital to Austin; the town suffered another setback that year when a yellow fever epidemic claimed about one life out of every eight residents. Yet it persisted as a commercial center, forming a symbiosis with Galveston.
Landlocked farmers brought their produce to Houston, using Buffalo Bayou to gain access to Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico. Houston merchants profited from selling staples to farmers and shipping the farmers' produce to Galveston; the great majority of slaves in Texas came with their owners from the older slave states. Sizable numbers, came through the domestic slave trade. New Orleans was the center of this trade in the Deep South. Thousands of enslaved blacks lived near the city before the American Civil War. Many of them near the city worked on sugar and cotton plantations, while most of those in the city limits had domestic and artisan jobs. In 1840, the community established a chamber of commerce in part to promote shipping and navigation at the newly created port on Buffalo Bayou. By 1860, Houston had emerged as a commercial and railroad hub for the export of cotton. Railroad spurs from the Texas inland converged in Houston, where they met rail lines to the ports of Galveston and Beaumont.
During the American Civil War, Houston served as a headquarters for General John Magruder, who used the city as an organization point for the Battle of Galveston. After the Civil War, Houston businessmen initia
Brazoria County, Texas
Brazoria County is a county in the U. S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population of the county was 313,166; the county seat is Angleton. Brazoria County is included in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area, it is located in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. Regionally, parts of the county are within the extreme southernmost fringe of the regions locally known as Southeast Texas. Brazoria County is among a number of counties that are part of the region known as the Texas Coastal Bend, its county seat is Angleton, its largest city is Pearland. Brazoria County, like nearby Brazos County, takes its name from the Brazos River; the county includes what was once Velasco, the first capital of the Republic of Texas. It served as the first settlement area for Anglo-Texas, when the Old Three Hundred emigrated from the United States in 1821. Brazoria County, like Brazos County, takes its name from the Brazos River. Anglo-Texas began in Brazoria County when the first of Stephen F. Austin's authorized 300 American settlers arrived at the mouth of the Brazos River in 1821.
Many of the events leading to the Texas Revolution developed in Brazoria County. In 1832, Brazoria was organized as a separate municipal district by the Mexican government, so became one of Texas original counties at independence in 1836. An early resident of Brazoria County, Joel Walter Robison, fought in the Texas Revolution and represented Fayette County in the Texas House of Representatives. Stephen F. Austin's original burial place is located at a church cemetery, Gulf Prairie Cemetery, in the town of Jones Creek, on what was his brother-in-law's "Peach Point Plantation", his remains were brought to be reinterred at the state capital in Austin. The town of West Columbia served as the first capital of Texas, dating back to pre-revolutionary days. Temple Lea Houston, youngest son of Sam Houston, was c. 1880 the county attorney of Brazoria County. His life story is reflected in the 1963 film The Man from Galveston and the 26-episode 1963-1964 NBC western television series, Temple Houston. Lake Jackson is a community developed beginning in the early 1940s to provide housing to workers at a new Dow Chemical Company plant in nearby Freeport.
The county has elements of both rural and suburban communities, as it is part of the Greater Houston. On June 2, 2016, the flooding of the Brazos River required evacuations for portions of Brazoria County. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,609 square miles, of which 1,358 square miles is land and 251 square miles is water. Harris County Galveston County Matagorda County Wharton County Fort Bend County Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge As of the census of 2000, 241,767 people, 81,954 households, 63,104 families resided in the county; the population density was 174 people per square mile. There were 90,628 housing units at an average density of 65 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 77.09% White, 8.50% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 9.63% from other races, 2.22% from two or more races. About 22.78 % of the population were Latino of any race. About 12.1% were of German, 11.2% American and 7.2% English ancestry according to Census 2000.
About 79.0 % spoke only English at home. Of the 81,955 households, 40.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.20% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, 23.00% were not families. About 19.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.40% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82, the average family size was 3.23. In the county, the population was distributed as 28.60% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 32.40% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, 8.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 107 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.4 males. The median income for a household in the county was $48,632, for a family was $55,282. Males had a median income of $42,193 versus $27,728 for females; the per capita income for the county was $20,021. About 8.1% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.6% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 313,166 people residing in the county. 70.1% were White, 12.1% Black or African American, 5.5% Asian, 0.6% Native American, 9.2% of some other race and 2.6% of more than one race. 27.7 % were Latino. The Brazoria County Jail is located at 3602 County Road 45 in unincorporated central Brazoria County, north of Angleton; the Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates six state prisons for men and its Region III office in unincorporated Brazoria County. As of 2007,1,495 full-time correctional job positions were in the county. In 1995, of the counties in Texas, Brazoria had the second-highest number of state prisons and jails, after Walker County. In 2003, a total of 2,572 employees were employed at the six TDCJ facilities; the TDCJ units are: Clemens Unit, near Brazoria Darrington Unit, near Rosharon - The Windham School District Region III office is within the unit. Wayne Scott Unit, near Angleton. Ramsey Unit - The unit is co-located with Stringfellow and Terrell.
The TDCJ Region III Maintenance Headquarters is within this unit. Stringfellow Unit, near Rosharon - The
The A. M. "Mac" Stringfellow Unit is a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison located in unincorporated Brazoria County, with a Rosharon, Texas postal address it is not inside the Rosharon census-designated place. The prison is located on Farm to Market Road 655, 4 miles west of Farm to Market Road 521, about 30 miles south of Houston; the unit is co-located with the Terrell Unit on a 16,369-acre plot of land. The unit opened in July 1908; the Ramsey Prison Farm consisted of five former plantations. In 1963, before racial desegregation occurred, the Ramsey II Unit housed African-American prisoners over the age of 25; the Stringfellow Unit is within the attendance zone of the Alvin Community College. Stringfellow was included through H. B. No. 2744, filed on March 6, 2007. "Stringfellow Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Map of Stringfellow Unit: Texas Tribune
Rosharon known as "Buttermilk Station," is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Brazoria County, United States, at the intersection of Farm to Market Road 521 and Farm to Market Road 1462. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 1,152; the Rosharon town site went unnamed during its early years. The area was settled by sugar plantations before the Civil War. Once the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway was completed in 1859, the Rosharon stop on the train line was given the name Masterson's Station, after a nearby plantation owned by Thomas G. Masterson. Rosharon was known locally by trainmen as "Buttermilk Station" because an early resident was known to bring a bucket of buttermilk and a dipper to the railroad station to give the engineer and crew a drink. George Wetmore Colles, Jr. an electrical and mechanical engineer educated at Yale University and the Stevens Institute of Technology, bought property in the area around 1900 and called his estate the Rose of Sharon Garden Ranch after the many Cherokee Roses that grew there.
Colles designed the community water system. Antonio G. Arcaro served as Rosharon's postmaster from 1912 to 1920; the Rosharon post office was discontinued in 1920 and mail was sent to Sandy Point. The post office reopened in 1936, only to be closed again in 1979. A new post office operates today. Tom Lochridge platted the town site. Lochridge was responsible for having a cotton gin moved to Rosharon from Houston. Aside from providing employment for several persons, the gin's engine was used as Rosharon's first power plant; the community's first telephone exchange was operated out of Lochridge's home. Rosharon's school was held in private home, in its own building; the Rosharon school district was consolidated with the Angleton schools. Students began being bussed to Angleton in the late 1900s, a practice. Church meetings were first held in a former school in a tavern that community members had bought and converted into a church. A brick church was constructed; the South Texas Water Company located in Rosharon in 1935, its fresh watercanals for irrigating rice brought some seventy-five to eighty rice farmers to the area.
By the late 1980s, Rosharon had an estimated population of 500. In 1990 the population was 435. Most residents commute to jobs in nearby towns. Neighborhoods include in the surrounding area Songbird Ranch Airport, Lindell Estates, Lakes of Savannah, Southern Colony, Chenango Ranch, Coffee Lake, Seven Oaks Ranch, Sun Creek Estates, Sun Creek Ranch, Cold River Ranch and Sterling Lakes. In 1985 Yani Rose Keo, a Cambodian American, established a farm in an area called "Little Cambodia", in Brazoria County, near Rosharon. Terrence McCoy of the Houston Press stated that there were "perhaps" 90 families of Cambodian origin living there. In the 2000s the farmers got into a dispute with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department over the farming of water spinach, which the TPWD classified as “Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish and Aquatic Plants.” The TPWD allowed the farming of water spinach. "Little Cambodia" sustained damage during Hurricane Ike in 2008, in Hurricane Harvey in 2017. There are four Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison units near Rosharon.
Ramsey and Terrell are all co-located. In addition Darrington Unit is near Rosharon; the Handbook of Texas stated that the prison authority employees and their family members "added to economy."A Schlumberger product center is located in Rosharon. The Rosharon Volunteer Fire Department provides fire services for Rosharon. In the 1940s Rosharon community members, wanting to start a fire department, met with Brazoria County officials and purchased firefighting equipment. From the 1940s until 2004 the firefighting department received all of its support from fundraising events, private donations, small contributions from the Brazoria County government; the volunteer group organized in 1956, in 1986 the Rosharon Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. incorporated as a non-profit corporation. In 2002 taxpayers formed the Brazoria County Emergency Services District #3, which provides EMS services; the United States Postal Service operates the Rosharon Post Office at 1810 East Farm to Market Road 1462. Students in the Rosharon census-designated place attend the Angleton Independent School District schools.
In the 20th century the Rosharon school district was consolidated into the Angleton district, busing into Angleton began in the late 20th century. Angleton High School serves all district residents. Students in the surrounding area are zoned to AISD schools as well as the Fort Bend Independent School District for residents in Fort Bend County; some Rosharon residents attend Manvel schools in the Alvin ISD. Manvel High School, Manvel Junior High, E. C Mason Elementary. In the neighborhoods west of Chocolate Bayou, along the north side of F. M. 1462, students attend Alvin Primary, Alvin Elementary, Fairview Junior High and Alvin High School in Alvin. Prior to the opening of Hightower High School, Elkins High School served parts of the Rosharon area in Fort Bend County. Rosharon is within the attendance zone of the Alvin Community College. Rosharon was included through H. B. No. 2744, filed on March 6, 2007. Rosharon Volunteer Fire Department Handbook of Texas Online entry for Rosharon TDCJ Directory of Prison Units
A prison farm is a large correctional facility where penal labor convicts are put to economical use in a farm for manual labor in open air, such as in agriculture, logging and mining. The concepts of prison farm and labor camp overlap; the historical equivalent on a large scale was called a penal colony. The agricultural goods produced by prison farms are used to feed the prisoners themselves and other wards of the state, secondarily, to be sold for whatever profit the state may be able to obtain. In addition to being forced to labor directly for the government on a prison farm or in a penal colony, inmates may be forced to do farm work for private enterprises by being farmed out through the practice of convict leasing to work on private agricultural lands or related industries; the party purchasing their labor from the government does so at a steep discount from the cost of free labor. Depending on the prevailing doctrine on judicial punishment and penal harm, psychological and/or physical cruelty may be a conscious intent of prison farm labor, not just an inevitable but unintended collateral effect.
Louisiana State Penitentiary is the largest prison farm covering 18000 acres, is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi River Convicts may be leased for non-agricultural work, either directly to state entities, or to private industry. For example, prisoners may make license plates under contract to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, work in textile or other state run factories, or may perform data processing for outside firms; these laborers are considered to be a part of prison industries and not prison farms. The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which ended slavery perpetuated the concept of penal servitude – i.e. unfree labor as a punishment for a crime. Britain had a long history of penal servitude prior to the passage of the Penal Servitude Act of 1853, used convict labor to settle its conquests, either through penal colonies or by selling convicts to settlers to serve as slaves for a term of years as indentured servants; this type of penal institution has been implanted in rural regions of vast countries.
For example, the following passage describes the prison system of the U. S. state of Virginia in the early twentieth century: "The state prison is at Raleigh, although most of the convicts are distributed upon farms owned and operated by the state. The lease system does not prevail, but the farming out of convict labor is permitted by the constitution. A reformatory for white youth between the ages of seven and sixteen, under the name of the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School, was opened at Concord in 1909, in March 1909 the Foulk Reformatory and Manual Training School for negro youth was provided for. Charitable and penal institutions are under the supervision of a Board of Public Charities, appointed by the governor for a period of six years, the terms of the different members expiring in different years. Private institutions for the care of the insane, feeble-minded and inebriates may be established, but must be licensed and regulated by the state board and become a part of the system of public charities."
In 21st-century Illinois, several prisons continue to run farms to produce food for wards of the state, including the prisoners themselves. The 1911 Britannica reported that the state of Rhode Island had a farm of 667 acres in the southern part of Cranston City housing: "the state prison, the Providence county jail, the state workhouse and the house of correction, the state almshouse, the state hospital for the insane, the Sockanosset school for boys, the Oaklawn school for girls, the last two being departments of the state reform school." There are prison farms in other countries. Canada had six prison farms, where up to 800 inmates did everything from tending pigs to milking cows until they were closed in 2010 by the Conservative government; the Current Liberal government is conducting feasibility studies to determine if the program can be restarted. Films featuring prison farms and forced prison labor: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is an award-winning movie released in 1932, which depicted the degrading and inhumane treatment on chain gangs in the post–World War I era.
Hell's Highway Prison Farm Gone with the Wind scenes of Scarlett O'Hara's leased convicts at work in her lumber mills Sullivan's Travels City Without Men Chain Gang starred Douglas Kennedy as a reporter working as a guard to expose corruption and brutality. Cool Hand Luke Papillon Scarecrow Nightmare in Badham County Buckstone County Prison They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way Brubaker Life O Brother, Where Art Thou? Civil Brand In "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo, which has had several movie adaptations, the character Jean Valjean is part of a chain gang as part of his punishment for stealing bread. Trusty system Chain gang Tom Murton Care farming Gorgona Agricultural Penal Colony Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Prison § Prison Industries". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22. Cambridge University Press. P. 369. Thomas, Nicki "Prison farms facing execution." Capital News Online. Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication. March 5, 2010. David M
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, the natural hazards that threaten it; the organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility; the USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS employs 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia; the USGS has major offices near Lakewood, Colorado, at the Denver Federal Center, Menlo Park, California. The current motto of the USGS, in use since August 1997, is "science for a changing world." The agency's previous slogan, adopted on the occasion of its hundredth anniversary, was "Earth Science in the Public Service." Since 2012, the USGS science focus is directed at six topical "Mission Areas", namely Climate and Land Use Change, Core Science Systems, Ecosystems and Minerals and Environmental Health, Natural Hazards, Water.
In December 2012, the USGS split the Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health Mission Area resulting in seven topical Mission Areas, with the two new areas being: Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health. Administratively, it is divided into six Regional Units. Other specific programs include: Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide; the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines detects the location and magnitude of global earthquakes. The USGS runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the United States under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System; the USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, the public, both domestic and worldwide, about significant earthquakes. It maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research, it conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards. USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast.
As of 2005, the agency is working to create a National Volcano Early Warning System by improving the instrumentation monitoring the 169 volcanoes in U. S. territory and by establishing methods for measuring the relative threats posed at each site. The USGS National Geomagnetism Program monitors the magnetic field at magnetic observatories and distributes magnetometer data in real time; the USGS collaborates with Canadian and Mexican government scientists, along with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to produce the North American Environmental Atlas, used to depict and track environmental issues for a continental perspective. The USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online. National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center implements partner-driven science to improve understanding of past and present land use change, develops relevant climate and land use forecasts, identifies lands and communities that are most vulnerable to adverse impacts of change from the local to global scale.
Since 1962, the Astrogeology Research Program has been involved in global and planetary exploration and mapping. In collaboration with Stanford University, the USGS operates the USGS-Stanford Ion Microprobe Laboratory, a world-class analytical facility for U--Pb geochronology and trace element analyses of minerals and other earth materials. USGS operates a number of water related programs, notably the National Streamflow Information Program and National Water-Quality Assessment Program. USGS Water data is publicly available from their National Water Information System database; the USGS operates the National Wildlife Health Center, whose mission is "to serve the nation and its natural resources by providing sound science and technical support, to disseminate information to promote science-based decisions affecting wildlife and ecosystem health. The NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues." It is the agency responsible for surveillance of H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in the United States.
The USGS runs 17 biological research centers in the United States, including the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The USGS is investigating collaboration with the social networking site Twitter to allow for more rapid construction of ShakeMaps; the USGS produces several national series of topographic maps which vary in scale and extent, with some wide gaps in coverage, notably the complete absence of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps or their equivalent. The largest and best-known topographic series is the 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 scale, quadrangle, a non-metric scale unique to the United States. Each of these maps covers an area bounded by two lines of latitude and two lines of longitude spaced 7.5 minutes apart. Nearly 57,000 individual maps in this series cover the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, U. S. territories, areas of Alaska near Anchorage and Prudhoe Bay. The area covered by each map varies with the latitude of its represented location due to convergence of the meridians. At lower latitudes, near 30° north, a 7.5-minute quadrangle contains an area of about 64 square miles.
At 49° north latitude, 49 square miles are contained within a quadrangle of that size. As a unique non-metric map scale, the 1:24,000 scale requires a separate and specialized romer scale for pl