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To say that there are a few federal agencies involved with the creation of maps would be quite an understatement. While most people probably automatically think of the United States Geological Survey, there are numerous groups within various agencies creating thousands of maps that draw on the strengths of the field of geographic information systems (GIS). This one-stop location allows users to draw on all of these resources in a timely fashion. To start, visitors can use the basic search engine that asks them to fill in the "What" (such as a river or lake) or the "Where" (such as Onalaska, Washington). After filling out one of these forms, the search engine will return all of the available map materials associated with each place. Visitors can then refine their search as they see fit. If all of this seems a bit daunting, visitors can also just browse through any number of special interest maps, such as those related to homeland security, recreation areas, fire mapping, and historical specialties such as those that detail the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Overall, this is a very helpful site, and one that will delight cartographers and anyone else who spends a few moments here.
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