Contours are not projected, but are provided in geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) in units of decimal degrees, and horizontally referenced to the North American Datum of 1983. Contour elevation values are vertically referenced to the Nort
The 500- and 100-foot contours were derived from the National Elevation Dataset (NED) one arc-second resolution data, which was sub-sampled to a cell size of three arc-second.  The 50-foot contours were also derived from NED one arc-second data.  Large
Contours cover the conterminous United States at small (578K/289K), medium (144K/72K), and large (36K/18K) scales.
The 500-foot contours are shown at a scale of 578K in base maps, while 100-foot contours are visible at 289K/144K and 50-foot contours are visible at 72K.  Large scale contours from US Topo products are shown from 36K to 18K, and in dynamic base map se
Map sheets were initially published at three primary scales (1:62,500 scale; 1:125,000 scale; and 1:250,000 scale) with contour intervals of 10, 20, 50, 100, or 200 feet depending on the terrain.
Contours from US Topo products are in development as a nationwide service for viewing at large scales from 36K to 18K. US Topo contours were initially made available for download as of February 2013 as staged data in Esri File Geodatabase (FGDB) 10.1 f
Contours will be updated on an as-needed basis. When significant changes in the landscape have occurred (such as mountain top removal mining in Kentucky) and are represented by new elevation data, only those areas will be replaced.
Yes, depression contours are identified with tick marks, but only in large scale contours from 36K to 18K.
A low-pass filter was applied, which provides the basis for obtaining smoother contours.
Contours with a value of zero were deleted, unless there were also contours with negative elevation values in the same area.