The Geospatial Advisory Committee
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and
productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs
of present and future generations. Geospatial data is an important source of
resource information that is used by land managers to map and monitor the condition
of our National Forests and Grasslands.
The Forest Service has used geospatial data to manage and care for the land
since the creation of the agency in 1905. Over time, the format of this data
and the way it is applied has changed. Maps, once the primary means of recording
needed geographic data, have been supplemented by aerial photography, satellite
imagery, digital spatial data, and tabular databases. Technologies such as
geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), remote
sensing, automated cartography, and advanced database environments have allowed
for new and innovative ways of gathering, using, and viewing geographic data
to support natural resource management applications.
Geographic data, in digital and map form, is an essential part of the Forest
Service corporate information resource. Managers, resource specialists, scientists,
and others use geographic information daily for a range of vital applications,
from ecosystem management and Forest planning to advanced bio-research, transportation
planning, and fire modeling.