US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in The Atoll Research Bulletin 494 (December 2001). Issued by the Smithsonian Institution.


A little-known aspect of the U.S. Geological Survey history is its involvement in preparing terrain intelligence reports during World War II. The Survey's Military Geology Unit was in charge of compiling these reports on areas of possible military operations. Maps were the main part of' these studies; they were compiled from existing maps, geologic and soils literature, aerial and ground photographs, and travelers' accounts. Compiled geologic anti soils maps served as basic data for interpretative maps on such subjects as construction materials. water supply, road and airfield siting and construction, and cross-country movement by tanks.