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About Topographic Maps
Topographic maps use contour lines to show the shape of the earth's surface.
7.5 Minute Topographic Maps
The United States Geological Survey began mapping the country in 1879 and has been the primary civilian mapping agency of the United States ever since. The best known USGS maps are the 1:24,000-scale topographic maps, also known as 7.5-minute quadrangles. In addition to elevation, they show such features as streets, buildings, streams, and woods. This is the only uniform map series that covers the entire area of the United States in considerable detail.
The National Map
The 7.5-minute map series was officially completed in 1992, and in 2001 the program was replaced by The National Map, which is a nationwide collection of integrated data from local, State, Federal, and other sources.
Obtaining Paper Topographic Maps
The UNT Libraries' Government Documents Department has 7.5-minute topographic maps in hardcopy for most of Texas, as well as for Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico. If you would like to see a topographic map for a particular area, ask for the map by quadrangle name at the Government Documents Service Desk.
To obtain free map indexes and catalogs, and to order topographic maps or any of the wide variety of thematic maps available from the USGS, contact:
USGS Information Services
Denver CO 80225
1-888-ASK-USGS or 303-202-4700
Web site: Ask USGS
Visit the USGS home page at www.usgs.gov/
Viewing Topographic Maps Online
US Topo topographic maps are produced by the National Geospatial Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The project was launched in late 2009, and the term “US Topo” refers specifically to quadrangle topographic maps published in 2009 and later. These maps are modeled on the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle maps of the period 1947-1992, but are mass-produced from national GIS databases on a repeating cycle. US Topo maps repackage geographic information system (GIS) data in traditional map form; this benefits non-specialist map users, as well as applications that need traditional maps.
Search USGS topographic maps by address, place, or map name, and download the entire map in digital format or purchase a printed map.
MyTopo Maptech MapServer
The largest online mapping resource for U.S. topographic maps and charts for land, sea, and air. Browse, view, print, and E-mail the maps for free.
Microsoft Research Maps
The Microsoft Research Maps (formerly TerraServer-USA) Web site is one of the world's largest online databases, providing free public access to a vast data store of maps and aerial photographs of the United States. MRS Maps is designed to work with commonly available computer systems and Web browsers over slow speed communications links.
Finding and Ordering USGS Maps
Price lists, order forms, and other information on how to purchase a USGS map.
Libre Map Project
This project makes maps and related GIS data available online for free. It currently contains 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 detailed topographic maps for all 50 states.
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission
The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), a specially modified radar system that flew onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during an 11-day mission in February of 2000, obtained elevation data on a near-global scale to generate the most complete high-resolution digital topographic database of Earth.
Topographic Map Symbols
A guide to interpreting the symbols on USGS topographic maps.
Describes the topographic map, its use, its history, its production, and—in light of new technology and the digital mapping revolution—its potential. [Only for historical reference.}
This interactive database of USGS topographic maps of the entire United States used to be free until it was bought by trails.com. Now it requires payment of a subscription fee to view the maps.