What are Cookies?
Some applications may save a “cookie” on your computer's hard disk to provide a temporary history of actions taken. Cookies are small text files that a web site transfers to your computer to allow the site to remember specific information. If you do not want cookies to be transferred to your computer, you may choose to opt out by modifying your browser options. Opting out of cookies in no way diminishes your access to information or services.
Session cookies do not contain Personally Identifiable Information. Once a browser is closed, the cookies disappear. An example of a session cookie used on some USGS Web sites is the ForeSee Results' American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.
Persistent cookies store information on your computer for longer periods of time. USGS may use persistent cookies on some web sites to improve online services. These persistent cookies do not contain personally identifiable information. USGS does not use persistent cookies that contain Personally Identifiable Information unless specifically stated on the Web page and the visitor has provided explicit consent.
Some users don’t like entering their username and password to login to our applications every time they close their browser. To accommodate this, we give the user the option of having their system store their username and password in an encrypted format. When the server application detects the user is not already logged in it uses the cookie to log into the application, instead of prompting the user. This option, called “Remember Me”, is presented on the login page and is enabled by default. Simply uncheck the box if you do not wish to use this feature. This cookie is stored for 7 days and is automatically destroyed if the users logs out or allows their session to expire.
We don’t want to constantly show you critical system notices after you have seen them the first time. To accomplish this, we keep track of which system notifications you have seen and store them in a cookie. After 48 hours this cookie will expire and you will see the message again. This cookie will persist through browsing sessions and is not affected by logging out.