Link to USGS Home Page

Note: The information on this page is being retained for technical and historical reference only. The site is not under active maintenance and may include expired information and outdated links.

USGS Data Available in SDTS

The USGS offers a vast amount of spatial data in SDTS. This transition to standardized transfer formats, containing robust metadata, complies with Federal mandate.

A large amount of USGS Digital Line Graph (DLG) and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data are available for immediate download, at no charge. Normally, there is a fee associated with USGS data orders, but SDTS is being made available to foster development of software that can use the data. Visit the US GeoData web site to find out what data sets are available for download today.

Before downloading data, we highly recommend you read the detailed instructions about locating, downloading, and unpacking SDTS data. The document is entitled, Retrieving and Unpacking SDTS Data.

The implementation of SDTS capability for each data series is ongoing. If you are familiar with the USGS custom ASCII file formats, read this important notice.


USGS Water Resources Data Sets

The Water Resources Division of the USGS also offers SDTS data sets online, for downloading, at no charge. These SDTS data sets were produced using the TVP export capabilities of ESRI Arc/Info. Metadata compliant to the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata is available through their web pages, but is not included inside of the SDTS transfer, at this time.

Visit the List of Spatial Data for Water page to see what data sets are available. Please note that SDTS is not always available.


Important Notice about USGS custom ASCII formats...

Prior to transfer standards for geospatial data, the USGS defined custom ASCII formats for each different digital data series. To move away from custom formats and the burdensome requirements for custom software, the USGS now offers its digital data series in SDTS.

The USGS recognizes and is sympathetic to those developments outside of USGS that are based on the USGS custom ASCII formats. Please note that USGS custom ASCII formats will continue to be available as long as there is a demand. However, you are encouraged to upgrade your systems and procedures to take advantage of the SDTS version, as a step toward improving data reuse in the geospatial industry.

The SDTS transfer data set contains more metadata such as descriptions of production processes, explanation of data completeness, definitions of attributes, etc., in addition to all of the information from the original ASCII format. SDTS contains more information than the custom USGS format. An SDTS transfer data set contains information meant to be processed automatically by software, as well as information meant to be read by the data consumer.

Sales policies for native-format data have not changed. To promote SDTS as a GIS format, USGS SDTS data is available over the Internet at no charge for an unspecified period of time. USGS data and products are not generally free; SDTS data is an exception.

USGS Pricing Policy of SDTS Data


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