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The National Map: Data Delivery Updates

Upcoming Changes to Downloadable Products from The National Map Viewer

The National Map Viewer delivers many very large datasets for the country, averaging over 20,000 orders a month during 2014. As file sizes continue to significantly grow, such as for high resolution elevation and orthoimagery, the National Geospatial Program (NGP) must control maintenance costs for storing, processing, and delivering data. To control costs and still provide our users with fast delivery, The National Map Viewer is transitioning to pre-packaged, staged products for hosting in the 'cloud'. New 'cloud' based delivery methods offer the USGS significant savings for delivering these growing datasets.

Before implementation of staged data, we processed each dataset to a custom ordered dynamic footprint and file format. This approach required many expensive servers and a complex system architecture that we are unable to sustain with the current projected demand and file sizes. The new approach of processing data into pre-packaged products and storing in the 'cloud', while losing flexibility in format offerings, will provide much faster, more reliable, and larger downloads. With the staged data approach, users will still select custom areas of interest; however, all tiles intersecting their area of interest are delivered.

The move to pre-packaged, staged data required NGP to make tough decisions on the number of formats (or copies) of the data that we can store. For example, NED 1/9 arc-second data is available in only one format (IMG) and tile size (15x15 minute) because of its very large raster storage requirements. For other much smaller vector data sets, we may continue to offer two or three different formats and tile sizes. In each decision we try to use very robust, popular, and interoperable or easily converted formats.

For more information on the transition of each individual product type, review the reference links below. We value your input and feedback on our product offerings as we strive to meet your needs within the limitations of our program's budget. If you have questions or concerns about these changes, please contact us at

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