In response to the need for up to date map coverage of the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a national map series named the US Topo.With approximately 48,000 new digital maps currently available for free download, more than 4,300 revised quadrangles representing the states of California, Louisiana and Mississippi have been added to the ever-growing collection.
"Anyone who has ever been misrouted on account of outdated software in a GPS navigator can appreciate that maps are constantly in need of updating because both the human and the physical environment are ever changing," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "Our new US Topo map series allows users to get the latest data, select just the information of interest for download, and did I emphasize FREE?!"
New feature additions and improvements on the updated US Topo include:
- Rivers, lakes steams and other hydrography
- Woodland tint derived from the National Land Cover Dataset
- Fire Stations
- State and County boundaries
- Forest service boundaries
- Commercial roads in lieu of Census roads
- Forest Service roads and road numbers
US Topos are derived from key layers of geographic data found in The National Map which delivers visible content such as high resolution aerial photography, which is not available on older paper-based topographic maps. The US Topo also provides modern technical advantages over the original lithographic map as it supports wider and faster public distribution and enables on-screen geographic analysis for users.
Future enhancements to the US Topo are scheduled to include additional functional capabilities and content, such as a shaded relief layer, Public Land Survey System (PLSS) data, updated structures, enhanced transportation, additional federal boundaries, and Forest Service trails. The USGS expects to produce more than 18,500 revised quadrangles annually, which means each US Topo map is updated every three years in a cyclic fashion.
The new digital electronic topographic maps of California, Louisiana and Mississippi – along with 37 other completed states - are now available for free download from the USGS Store. The quadrangles are delivered in GeoPDF format and may be viewed using Adobe Reader software, also available as a no cost download.