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USGS publishes Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization

Print publication now available

The Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization, FGDC-STD-013-2006, was published and released as a print document in October, 2008.   Available online in PDF format since August, 2006, a printed version was found to be a useful supplement because of the standard’s length and the complexity and high resolution of many symbols.

The Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization provides the Nation's producers and users of geologic map information a single modern standard for the digital cartographic representation of geologic features. Use of this standard will give maps and related products a consistent appearance. The standard provides descriptions, examples, cartographic specifications, and notes on usage for a wide variety of symbols that might be used on a digital geologic map or related product (for example, cross sections). It includes a CMYK color chart, a chart of commonly used geologic map patterns, a geologic age symbol font, bar scales, mean declination arrows, and quadrangle location maps.

The standard is designed for producers and users digital geologic map information. It applies to geologic map information published by the Federal government in both offset-print and plot-on-demand formats. It is also suitable for electronic publications (for example, in a Portable Document Format (PDF) file) and display on computer monitors. The standard is scale-independent, meaning that the symbols are appropriate for geologic maps at any scale. Non-Federal agencies and private companies that produce geologic-map information are urged to adopt this standard as well.

In addition to the print publication, the Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization is also available in the following formats:

1. PDF format, which is best for viewing and plotting

2. PostScript format, for use in Adobe Illustrator and other graphic-design software

3. An ESRI version is under development. A beta version is anticipated for testing in Spring, 2009

The FGDC Geologic Data Subcommittee sponsored development of the Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization.  The FGDC endorsed the standard in August 2006.

The USGS maintains the Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16 designates the USGS as the lead agency for geologic data. The Geologic Mapping Act of 1992 (and subsequent reauthorizations) stipulates standards development under the auspices of the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB). Under this authority, the NGMDB will function on behalf of the USGS as coordinator of this maintenance activity (see http://ngmdb.usgs.gov/info/standards/). Maintenance will be conducted in cooperation primarily with the Association of American State Geologists (AASG), which is the USGS's partner in the Geologic Mapping Act.

The Map Symbol Committee provides technical advice to preparers of the Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization. Committee membership comes from the NGMDB, USGS scientific staff and Publications Groups, the AASG, and the academic community. The NGMDB relies on the Map Symbol Committee to help maintain the Standard. The Map Symbol Committee will review comments and suggestions for revisions, additions, and deletions to the standard. A log of revisions to each section of the Standard is maintained.

Users and producers are invited to submit comments and suggestions for updates or other improvements to the Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization by email to: mapsymbol [at] flagmail.wr.usgs.gov.

For more information about the Digital Cartographic Standard for Geologic Map Symbolization, please contact David Soller (drsoller [at] usgs.gov) at (703) 648-6907.

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2008 04:29 PM
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