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Geospatial data and services are critical elements needed to meet the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and remote sensing are the primary elements which fall under the geospatial data and services umbrella.
Geospatial services provide the technology to create, analyze, maintain, and distribute geospatial data and information. GIS, GPS and remote sensing play a vital role in all of the Service’s long-term goals and in analyzing and quantifying the USFWS Operational Plan Measures.
Nationally coordinated support for geospatial services, along with regional support and infrastructure, promotes cost savings and enables improved business practices. GIS, GPS and remote sensing can enable improved visualization, analysis, interoperability, modeling, and decision support. The benefits include increased accuracy, increased productivity, and more efficient information management and application support.
This site was created to enable the USFWS to be effective in managing geospatial data resources and technology to successfully deliver geospatial services in support of the Service’s mission.
Geospatial Data identifies and depicts geographic locations, boundaries and characteristics of features on the surface of the earth. Geospatial data includes geographic coordinates (e.g., Latitude and Longitude) to identify the location of earth’s features, and data associated to geographic locations; for example land survey data and land cover type data.
Geospatial Applications are online, web-based mapping applications that are easy-to-use and compatible in most web browsers. Geospatial applications feature interactive visualization tools and allow for the effective management of data resources and technology to successfully support the Service's mission. Informing the public and sharing our data with the conservation community are just some examples of how geospatial applications serve our goals.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a system of hardware and software used for storage, retrieval, mapping, and analysis of geospatial data. Practitioners also regard the total GIS as including the operating personnel and the data that go into the system. Spatial features are stored in a coordinate system, which references a particular place on the earth. Descriptive attributes in tabular form are associated with the spatial features. Spatial data and associated attributes in the same coordinate system can then be layered together for mapping and analysis. GIS has many uses including scientific investigations, resource management, development planning, and web mapping applications.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is a space-based global navigation satellite system developed by the Department of Defense (DOD). GPS allows land, sea, and airborne users to determine their exact location, velocity, and time 24 hours a day, in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world. This technology has been widely utilized in natural resource and conservation management including locating invasive plant species, mapping new infrastructure on public lands, monitoring the movement of wildlife and aiding fire fighters to navigate to specific locations to protect valued resources.
Remote Sensing is the means to capture and measure a view of the earth from above at any point in time. Aerial photography and satellite imagery are the primary methods we use to image the lands and waters. Remote sensing can be used for numerous conservation applications including: showing impacts and changes over time, management activities and climate change research and management.
This site is managed by the USFWS Division of Information Resources and Technology Management, Branch of Data and Systems Services. It is reviewed by the USFWS GIS Steering Committee. It includes sections on Data and Standards, Applications, Education & Outreach, Policy & Guidance, Links and Contacts and supports the USFWS, partners and the public.
Last updated: April 14, 2020