Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Section 508 and Accessibility on the Cooperative Research Units Program

Thank you for visiting the Cooperative Research Units Program (CRU). The CRU is committed, and is making every possible effort, to ensure that all electronic information and technologies developed, procured, maintained, or used by the CRU are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

Section 508 Compliance

Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The NBII is a network of federal, state, local, international, academic, non-profit, and private-sector partners. As a federally managed partnership, the NBII is committed to working with all of our non-federal partners to ensure that information resources they contribute to the NBII comply with Section 508 guidelines.

While most resources developed by the CRU are Section 508-compliant, certain dynamically generated resources are exempt from the requirement under the "Undue Burden Determination" (36 CFR 1194.2).

  • These dynamically generated products typically involve retrieval of data in various formats dependent on user requirements, resulting in a map or other graphic display. These visual representations contain large quantities of information not accessible to people visually impaired. This information may be presented on the Internet or Intranet Web pages, or in Web-based publications issued on compact disc or similar media.
  • Images produced by these products are dynamically generated, resulting in an output image that will vary depending on the selection criteria determined by the user. This makes it impossible to prepare in advance a long description or other text alternative for those images which would provide "substantially equivalent or greater access to and use of" information contained in these pages and products. There are no products yet available that could dynamically generate a text alternative containing information comparable to that found in the image. A text alternative for even a static map image cannot adequately convey the information that is visually perceived.
  • The nature of these types of products is visual - either a representation of geospatial data or database information plotted on a digital spatial coverage, such as a map. Currently there exists no alternate technology for generation of geospatial information in a format that allows access via assistive technology. Modification of these pages and products to comply with these standards would require a fundamental alteration to the nature of the product.
  • The standards applicable to Web pages and electronic publications are found in 1194.22, Web-based intranet and internet information and applications. Web pages and Web-based products and publications using dynamically generated geospatial database and digital information and web-based mapping applications are unable to meet standards in 1194.22(a), (c), (e), (f), (k), (l), (m).
  • As there exists no technology capable of producing dynamically generated geospatial images in an alternative manner accessible to individuals who are visually impaired, compliance with those standards is not possible at this time.

Unless covered by a separate determination, the Web pages and Web-based products can and will meet the remaining individual standards in 1194.22, as applicable.

Recommended Browsers

The CRU Web site uses both JavaScript and DHTML, in addition to HTML, to facilitate site navigation. Some older browsers do not support JavaScript or DHTML.

Use of FireFox 3.0 or higher, Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, or Netscape 4.78 or higher, is strongly recommended in order to best experience the CRU Web site.

Upgrades to newer versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Netscape are available for free.

If you cannot fully access the information on a particular page, please use the "Contact Us" button on the About Us page to get in touch with us. We will do everything possible to provide you with access to the information you need. Please note that this may include providing the information to you in an alternate format.

Accessibility Software

Scientists and staff of our program have made supporting documents available in a variety of formats. For example, some have provided pdf versions of their published manuscripts or Microsoft powerpoint versions of their lectures. To view these documents you may need to download one of the free reader programs below if you do not already have the software installed. The following list provides the software required for each file type (extension) and provides a link to download the software.


Adobe Reader X (.pdf)


PowerPoint Viewer (.ppt, .pptx, .pptm, .pot, .potx, .potm, .pps, .ppsx and .ppsm)


Word Viewer (.doc, .docx, .docm, .rtf, .txt, .wps)


Excel Viewer (.xlsx, .xlsm, .xlsb, .xltx, .xltm, .xls, .xlt, .xlm, and .xlw).


Thank you for your interest in the CRU website.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 94

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 56

University Staff: 237

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 667

Scientific Publications: 1859

Presentations: 4078


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey