USGS - science for a changing world
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Core Science Analytics and Synthesis - USGS-NPS Vegetation Characterization Program

Tools and Resources
Resources Used By The USGS-NPS Vegetation Characterization Program

Tools Used By The USGS-NPS Vegetation Characterization Program
  • Metamaker

  • Plot Database
      The Plots Database is a set of software tools developed under contract from the USGS Center for Biological Informatics by The Nature Conservancy for field data collection and analysis. This software may potentially be used as the tool for aiding in the expansion and refinement of the lower levels of the National Vegetation Classification Standard.(Future plans include making this software available as an interactive web based program.)

      The database prepared for the USGS-NPS Vegetation Characterization Program is posted in the form of a zipped file that can be opened on your personnel computer and easily extracted.

      After downloading the zipped file (the file is called, extract all the files from the zipped file into a directory on your computer. For instructions on how to get started with the PLOTS database, simply refer to the PDF manual that comes as part of the zipped file.

      For help, there is interactive documentation within the help menu.

      If you have any difficulty with the installation of this software, please contact Mike Mulligan at USGS CSS CSAS (303) 202-4242 or or Tammy Cook with NPS at (970) 267-7201 or

      Comments and suggestions about its operation, use and desired capabilities are welcomed. Please send such comments to Tammy Cook with NPS ( with a cc: to Mike Mulligan (

      Finally, for frequent users of the PLOTS database, we have set up a listserve to help connect other users and quickly get advice and hear about other data management tools available to help supplement PLOTS. To sign up for the listserve, go to

      Plots Database 3.2

    • Geographic Resource Analysis Support System (GRASS) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool for data management, image processing, graphics production, spatial modelling, and visualization of many types of data. There are several sources of information relating to GRASS, including:

      The GRASS Information Center at the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

      Blackland GRASS A Commercial program which allows any 32-bit INTEL-PC user (WIN 95/NT) to access a GRASS database and manipulate data much like the UNIX GRASS program.

  • OGC
    • Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) is an approach to creating geoprocessing interoperability within the distributed architecture of the Internet, despite incompatible formats and data structures.