The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
United States Department of the Interior
The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U. S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resources, the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, territorial affairs, insular areas of the United States. About 75% of federal public land is managed by the department, with most of the remainder managed by the United States Department of Agriculture's United States Forest Service; the department is administered by the United States Secretary of the Interior, a member of the Cabinet of the President. The current Secretary is David Bernhardt, who serves in an acting capacity, concurrently serves in the Department as Deputy Secretary; the Inspector General position is vacant, with Mary Kendall serving as acting Inspector General. Despite its name, the Department of the Interior has a different role from that of the interior ministries of other nations, which are responsible for police matters and internal security.
In the United States, national security and immigration functions are performed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice secondarily. The Department of the Interior has been humorously called "The Department of Everything Else" because of its broad range of responsibilities. A department for domestic concern was first considered by the 1st United States Congress in 1789, but those duties were placed in the Department of State; the idea of a separate domestic department continued to percolate for a half-century and was supported by Presidents from James Madison to James Polk. The 1846–48 Mexican–American War gave the proposal new steam as the responsibilities of the federal government grew. Polk's Secretary of the Treasury, Robert J. Walker, became a vocal champion of creating the new department. In 1849, Walker stated in his annual report that several federal offices were placed in departments with which they had little to do, he noted that the General Land Office had little to do with the Treasury and highlighted the Indian Affairs office, part of the Department of War, the Patent Office, part of the Department of State.
Walker argued that these and other bureaus should be brought together in a new Department of the Interior. A bill authorizing its creation of the department passed the House of Representatives on February 15, 1849, spent just over two weeks in the Senate; the department was established on March 3, 1849, the eve of President Zachary Taylor's inauguration, when the Senate voted 31 to 25 to create the department. Its passage was delayed by Democrats in Congress who were reluctant to create more patronage posts for the incoming Whig administration to fill; the first Secretary of the Interior was Thomas Ewing. Many of the domestic concerns the department dealt with were transferred to other departments. For example, the Department of Interior was responsible for water pollution control prior to the creation of the EPA. Other agencies became separate departments, such as the Bureau of Agriculture, which became the Department of Agriculture; however and natural resource management, American Indian affairs, wildlife conservation, territorial affairs remain the responsibilities of the Department of the Interior.
As of mid-2004, the department managed 507 million acres of surface land, or about one-fifth of the land in the United States. It manages 476 dams and 348 reservoirs through the Bureau of Reclamation, 410 national parks, seashore sites, etc. through the National Park Service, 544 national wildlife refuges through the Fish and Wildlife Service. Within the Interior Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs handles some federal relations with Native Americans, while others are handled by the Office of Special Trustee; the current acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs is Lawrence S. Roberts, an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin; the department has been the subject of disputes over proper accounting for Native American Trusts set up to track the income and distribution of monies that are generated by the Trust and specific Native American lands, which the government leases for fees to companies that extract oil, timber and other resources. Several cases have sought an accounting of such funds from departments within the Interior and Treasury, in what has been a 15-year-old lawsuit.
Some Native American nations have sued the government over water-rights issues and their treaties with the US. In 2010 Congress passed the Claims Settlement Act of 2010, which provided $3.4 billion for the settlement of the Cobell v. Salazar class-action trust case and four Native American water rights cases; the $3.4 billion will be placed in a still-to-be-selected bank and $1.4 billion will go to individuals in the form of checks ranging from $500 to $1,500. A small group, such as members of the Osage tribe who benefit from huge Oklahoma oil revenues, will get far more, based on a formula incorporating their 10 highest years of income between 1985 and 2009; as important, $2 billion will be used to buy trust land from Native American owners at fair market prices, with the government returning the land to tribes. Nobody can be forced to sell. Assistant Secretary for Policy and Budget Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance Office of International Affairs Office of Native Hawaiian Relations Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment Office of Policy Analysis National Invasive Species Council Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Finance and Acquisiti
In modern mapping, a topographic map is a type of map characterized by large-scale detail and quantitative representation of relief using contour lines, but using a variety of methods. Traditional definitions require a topographic map to show both man-made features. A topographic survey is published as a map series, made up of two or more map sheets that combine to form the whole map. A contour line is a line connecting places of equal elevation. Natural Resources Canada provides this description of topographic maps:These maps depict in detail ground relief, forest cover, administrative areas, populated areas, transportation routes and facilities, other man-made features. Other authors define topographic maps by contrasting them with another type of map. However, in the vernacular and day to day world, the representation of relief is popularly held to define the genre, such that small-scale maps showing relief are called "topographic"; the study or discipline of topography is a much broader field of study, which takes into account all natural and man-made features of terrain.
Topographic maps are based on topographical surveys. Performed at large scales, these surveys are called topographical in the old sense of topography, showing a variety of elevations and landforms; this is in contrast to older cadastral surveys, which show property and governmental boundaries. The first multi-sheet topographic map series of an entire country, the Carte géométrique de la France, was completed in 1789; the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, started by the East India Company in 1802 taken over by the British Raj after 1857 was notable as a successful effort on a larger scale and for determining heights of Himalayan peaks from viewpoints over one hundred miles distant. Topographic surveys were prepared by the military to assist in planning for battle and for defensive emplacements; as such, elevation information was of vital importance. As they evolved, topographic map series became a national resource in modern nations in planning infrastructure and resource exploitation. In the United States, the national map-making function, shared by both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior migrated to the newly created United States Geological Survey in 1879, where it has remained since.1913 saw the beginning of the International Map of the World initiative, which set out to map all of Earth's significant land areas at a scale of 1:1 million, on about one thousand sheets, each covering four degrees latitude by six or more degrees longitude.
Excluding borders, each sheet was up to 66 cm wide. Although the project foundered, it left an indexing system that remains in use. By the 1980s, centralized printing of standardized topographic maps began to be superseded by databases of coordinates that could be used on computers by moderately skilled end users to view or print maps with arbitrary contents and scale. For example, the Federal government of the United States' TIGER initiative compiled interlinked databases of federal and local political borders and census enumeration areas, of roadways and water features with support for locating street addresses within street segments. TIGER was used in the 1990 and subsequent decennial censuses. Digital elevation models were compiled from topographic maps and stereographic interpretation of aerial photographs and from satellite photography and radar data. Since all these were government projects funded with taxes and not classified for national security reasons, the datasets were in the public domain and usable without fees or licensing.
TIGER and DEM datasets facilitated Geographic information systems and made the Global Positioning System much more useful by providing context around locations given by the technology as coordinates. Initial applications were professionalized forms such as innovative surveying instruments and agency-level GIS systems tended by experts. By the mid-1990s user-friendly resources such as online mapping in two and three dimensions, integration of GPS with mobile phones and automotive navigation systems appeared; as of 2011, the future of standardized, centrally printed topographical maps is left somewhat in doubt. Topographic maps have multiple uses in the present day: any type of geographic planning or large-scale architecture; the various features shown on the map are represented by conventional symbols. For example, colors can be used to indicate a classification of roads; these signs are explained in the margin of the map, or on a separately published characteristic sheet. Topographic maps are commonly called contour maps or topo maps.
In the United States, where the primary national series is organized by a strict 7.5-minute grid, they are called topo quads or quadrangles. Topographic maps conventionally show land contours, by means of contour lines. Contour lines are curves. In other words, every point on the marked line of 100 m elevation is 100 m above mean sea level; these maps show
An orthophoto, orthophotograph or orthoimage is an aerial photograph or satellite imagery geometrically corrected such that the scale is uniform: the photo or image has follows a given map projection. Unlike an uncorrected aerial photograph, an orthophoto can be used to measure true distances, because it is an accurate representation of the Earth's surface, having been adjusted for topographic relief, lens distortion, camera tilt. Orthophotographs are used in geographic information systems as a "map accurate" background image. An orthorectified image differs from "rubber sheeted" rectifications as the latter may locate a number of points on each image but "stretch" the area between so scale may not be uniform across the image. A digital elevation model is required to create an accurate orthophoto as distortions in the image due to the varying distance between the camera/sensor and different points on the ground need to be corrected. An orthoimage and a "rubber sheeted" image can both be said to have been "georeferenced" however the overall accuracy of the rectification varies.
Software can display the orthophoto and allow an operator to digitize or place linework, text annotations or geographic symbols. Some software can produce the linework automatically. Production of orthophotos was achieved using mechanical devices. An orthophotomosaic is a raster image made by merging orthophotos — aerial or satellite photographs which have been transformed to correct for perspective so that they appear to have been taken from vertically above at an infinite distance. Google Earth images are of this type; the document representing an orthophotomosaic with additional marginal information like a title, north arrow, scale bar and cartographical information is called an orthophotomap or image map. These maps show additional point, line or polygon layers on top of the orthophotomosaic. A similar document used for disaster relief, is called a spatiomap. Aerial Photography Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle and Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quadrangle Leica Photogrammetry Suite Orthorectification Software GRASS GIS Photogrammetry Photomapping TopoFlight Socet set Orthophoto Software U.
S. Geological Survey Rational Polynomial Coefficient Bolstad, P. GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems, Eider Press, White Bear Lake, MN, 2nd ed. Demers, Michael N.. Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems, John Wiley & Sons. Fernandez, E. Garfinkel, R. & Roman Arbiol. "Mosaicking of Aerial Photographic Maps Via Seams Defined by Bottleneck Shortest Paths". Operations Research. 46: 293–304. Doi:10.1287/opre.46.3.293. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter. Petrie, G. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers: Orthophotomaps New Series, vol. 2, no.1, Contemporary Cartography. Pg. 49-70 Robinson, A. H. Morrison, J. L. Muehrcke, P. C. Kimerling, A. J. Stephen Guptill, Elements of Cartography: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Canada, 6th ed. United States Geological Survey, US Department of Interior, USGS Fact Sheet May 2001 http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/factsheets/fs05701.html United States Geological Survey National Digital Orthophoto Programs - Original Site via Wayback Machine National Digital Orthoimagery Program National Digital Orthoimagery Program Subcommittee
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively; the fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to: Set the map's agenda and select traits of the object to be mapped. This is the concern of map editing. Traits may be physical, such as roads or land masses, or may be abstract, such as toponyms or political boundaries. Represent the terrain of the mapped object on flat media; this is the concern of map projections. Eliminate characteristics of the mapped object that are not relevant to the map's purpose; this is the concern of generalization. Reduce the complexity of the characteristics that will be mapped; this is the concern of generalization. Orchestrate the elements of the map to best convey its message to its audience; this is the concern of map design. Modern cartography constitutes many theoretical and practical foundations of geographic information systems.
What is the earliest known map is a matter of some debate, both because the term "map" is not well-defined and because some artifacts that might be maps might be something else. A wall painting that might depict the ancient Anatolian city of Çatalhöyük has been dated to the late 7th millennium BCE. Among the prehistoric alpine rock carvings of Mount Bego and Valcamonica, dated to the 4th millennium BCE, geometric patterns consisting of dotted rectangles and lines are interpreted in archaeological literature as a depiction of cultivated plots. Other known maps of the ancient world include the Minoan "House of the Admiral" wall painting from c. 1600 BCE, showing a seaside community in an oblique perspective, an engraved map of the holy Babylonian city of Nippur, from the Kassite period. The oldest surviving world maps are from 9th century BCE Babylonia. One shows Babylon on the Euphrates, surrounded by Assyria and several cities, all, in turn, surrounded by a "bitter river". Another depicts Babylon as being north of the center of the world.
The ancient Greeks and Romans created maps from the time of Anaximander in the 6th century BCE. In the 2nd century CE, Ptolemy wrote his treatise on Geographia; this contained Ptolemy's world map – the world known to Western society. As early as the 8th century, Arab scholars were translating the works of the Greek geographers into Arabic. In ancient China, geographical literature dates to the 5th century BCE; the oldest extant Chinese maps come from the State of Qin, dated back to the 4th century BCE, during the Warring States period. In the book of the Xin Yi Xiang Fa Yao, published in 1092 by the Chinese scientist Su Song, a star map on the equidistant cylindrical projection. Although this method of charting seems to have existed in China before this publication and scientist, the greatest significance of the star maps by Su Song is that they represent the oldest existent star maps in printed form. Early forms of cartography of India included depictions of the pole star and surrounding constellations.
These charts may have been used for navigation. "Mappae mundi are the medieval European maps of the world. About 1,100 of these are known to have survived: of these, some 900 are found illustrating manuscripts and the remainder exist as stand-alone documents; the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi produced his medieval atlas Tabula Rogeriana in 1154. By combining the knowledge of Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Far East with the information he inherited from the classical geographers, he was able to write detailed descriptions of a multitude of countries. Along with the substantial text he had written, he created a world map influenced by the Ptolemaic conception of the world, but with significant influence from multiple Arab geographers, it remained the most accurate world map for the next three centuries. The map was divided with detailed descriptions of each zone; as part of this work, a smaller, circular map was made depicting the south on top and Arabia in the center. Al-Idrisi made an estimate of the circumference of the world, accurate to within 10%.
In the Age of Exploration, from the 15th century to the 17th century, European cartographers both copied earlier maps and drew their own, based on explorers' observations and new surveying techniques. The invention of the magnetic compass and sextant enabled increasing accuracy. In 1492, Martin Behaim, a German cartographer, made the oldest extant globe of the Earth. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a globular world map and a large 12-panel world wall map bearing the first use of the name "America". Portuguese cartographer Diego Ribero was the author of the first known planisphere with a graduated Equator. Italian cartographer Battista Agnese produced at least 71 manuscript atlases of sea charts. Johannes Werner promoted the Werner projection; this was an equal-area, heart-shaped world map projection, used in the 16th and 17th centuries. Over time, other iterations of this map type arose; the Werner projection places its standard parallel at the North Pole. In 1569, mapmaker Gerardus Mercato
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