Frequently Asked Questions

Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data

The USGS provides the mapping and digital geospatial foundation for the Nation.

Filter Total Items: 239
Lick Run Watershed Map
Land cover data is offered through a bulk data application in EarthExplorer. Go to https://lta.cr.usgs.gov/ee_help for a tutorial. To receive bulk data via external hard drive, we require you to supply the hard drive(s) within our specifications, pay for shipping the drive(s), and provide a paid return label or a carrier account number. Send an e-...
National Land Cover Database (NLCD)
Land cover data from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) is distributed in The National Map Download Client in GeoTIFF format as staged products that are pre-packaged in 3x3 degree tiles. For dynamic extracts of NLCD in additional formats, such as ArcGrid, BIL, GridFloat, or IMG, use the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium...
Map showing the western landscape is defined by extremes in climate, land cover, and habitat type.
See the National Map Land Cover page, which points to the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) page, which serves several vintages of the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). At this writing, NLCD 2011 is the most recent version, but NLCD 2016 is scheduled for release by the end of 2018. The green woodland tint layer of US Topo...
National Land Cover Database
Information is found on the USGS National Land Cover Database website.
Updated 2015 version of the Madison West US Topo quadrangle
There are three ways to get full-scale plots of USGS topographic quadrangle maps, including both Historical Topographic maps (produced 1884-2006) and US Topo maps (produced 2009-present). Order a paper map from the USGS Store. Use the Store’s Map Locator to find the desired map. Download the GeoPDF map file and send it to a local printing...
Planned US Topo map production schedule for the next three- year revision cycle
US Topo maps are remade every three years. The US Topo production schedule follows the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) collection schedule. The linework features shown on the maps are generated from the latest data holdings in The National Map and other standard sources. The overall goal of the project...
GIS data layers visualization
The credit legend in the lower left-hand corner of the collar on a US Topo map provides a short summary of data sources and data currency.   More detailed source information is in an XML metadata file attached to each GeoPDF file. This file contains series-level, quad-level, and layer-level metadata, but US Topo does not preserve or track feature-...
USTOPO
Almost all historical topographic maps and all US Topo maps produced before June of 2017 were georeferenced using software from the company TerraGo. Those maps are all GeoMark enabled.  GeoMark is TerraGo's geospatial data extension to PDF markup. GeoMark allows notes and geometric objects (lines, polygons, etc.) to be added to a GeoPDF and allows...
GIS Project Collage
Most GIS vendors do not yet provide geospatial PDF import capabilities. US Topo maps are derived from GIS data sets and are formatted as PDF for the benefit of non-specialist users. We consider the product to be primarily an output of--rather than an input to--GIS. However, we recognize the demand for symbolized maps in GIS, and we are working on...
Earths and its surroundings
A GeoPDF is a georeferenced PDF file, meaning that it is a Portable Document Format (PDF) file with added information that relates the image to coordinates on a map. GeoPDF files can be used as plain PDF files but have the added capability of some limited mapping functions (turn any map layers on and off, obtain XY coordinates for a location,...
Alaska Topographic Map Contours on Glacier
Yes. Publication of 1:25,000-scale US Topo maps in Alaska began in 2013. The production schedule is determined by availability of IFSAR elevation data and SPOT imagery provided by the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative.  To see what is currently available for the state of Alaska, please visit the National Map Download Client. To see a...
Little River Gorge quadrangle, Great Smoky Mountain National Park
All topographic maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are in the public domain and are not copyrighted except for the following three cases that apply only to US Topo maps (produced 2009-present): Most maps in the period 2010-2016 contain commercially licensed road data (see note below). Orthoimages in Alaska are commercially licensed...