What We Do

Geospatial technology and data are used by nearly all programs within the Service.  Below are just a few examples:

  • The Midwest Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program modernized their environmental DNA work by leveraging web-based geospatial tools, leading to an estimated cost savings of $130,000 per year while also improving data quality and availability and advancing the science of conservation. 
  • The National Wetland Inventory (NWI) monitors the extent and status of wetlands for management, research, policy development, education, and planning.
  • Evaluate, plan, and implement Strategic Habitat Conservation and adaptive management at the landscape level.
  • Conduct biological surveys and manage data including inventory and monitoring, and invasive species invasive species
    An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

    Learn more about invasive species
    control, and Habitat Management Plans.
  • Map realty transactions and land status of FWS managed lands and proposed expansions.
  • Propose, designate, and inform the public about critical habitat for threatened & endangered (T&E) species and deliver official species lists and Section 7 Section 7
    Section 7 Consultation The Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs all Federal agencies to work to conserve endangered and threatened species and to use their authorities to further the purposes of the Act. Section 7 of the Act, called "Interagency Cooperation," is the mechanism by which Federal agencies ensure the actions they take, including those they fund or authorize, do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species.

    Learn more about Section 7
  • Modernizing migratory bird surveys by leveraging artificial intelligence to automatically identify and count the occurrence of birds in aerial imagery.

Our Programs

Data Page

  • FWS National Geospatial Data Assets (NGDA)

    • Cadastral

    • National Wetlands Inventory​​​

      • NWI has developed a series of topical maps to show wetlands and deepwater habitats. This geospatial information is used by Federal, State, and local agencies, academic institutions, and private industry for management, research, policy development, education and planning activities. Digital data can be viewed and downloads are available through the Wetlands Mapper.
  • Critical Habitat Data

    • The Critical Habitat portal is an online service for information regarding Threatened and Endangered Species Proposed and Final Critical Habitat designation across the United States. Not all of the critical habitat data designated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is available from this portal.

Our Projects and Research


  • ECOS
    • Gateway web site that provides access to data systems in the Endangered Species and Fisheries and Habitat Conservation program areas, as well as other USFWS and Government data sources.
  • IPac
    • The IPac system is designed for easy, public access to the natural resources Information for which the USFWS has trust or regulatory responsibility. The IPaC IPaC
      Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) is a project planning tool that streamlines the USFWS environmental review process

      Learn more about IPaC
      system assists people in Planning their activities within the context of natural resource Conservation. IPaC is also designed to assist people through the various regulatory consultation, permitting and approval processes administered by USFWS, helping achieve more effective and efficient results for both the project proponents and natural resources.
  • Critical Habitat Portals
    • The US Fish & Wildlife Service's online service for information regarding Threatened and Endangered Species final Critical Habitat designation across the United States.
  • Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA)
    • To remove the Federal incentive to develop sensitive coastal barriers coastal barriers
      Learn more about coastal barrier landforms.

      Learn more about coastal barriers
      , Congress passed the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 which designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and made these areas ineligible for most new Federal expenditures and financial assistance. The Coastal Barrier Improvement Act (CBIA) of 1990 reauthorized the CBRA; expanded the CBRS to include undeveloped coastal barriers along the Florida Keys, Great Lakes, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands; and added a new category of coastal barriers to the CBRS called "otherwise protected areas.
  • North Pacific Seabird Data Portal
    • Stores data on the location, breeding population size, and species composition of seabird colonies in the North Pacific. Documented colonies total 1,801 in Alaska and 484 in Far East Russia, each with a few pair to 5.75 million birds.
    • NWRS Mapper

Our Laws and Regulations

Recent laws have the potential of creating a smarter and more efficient government by properly managing and openly sharing data, which will enable better decision making.

The Geospatial Data Act of 2018 and the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act of 2019 (also known as the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policy Making Act) have created a new playing field for data creators and users. The old days of leaving to chance or goodwill the availability and usefulness of all our good data have now been replaced by the creation of a regulatory framework. These acts address the importance of sharing data, making it openly available and usable, and applying it to inform decision-making.

FWS GIS Policies