Frequently Asked Questions

Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data

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

Filter Total Items: 200
Road into U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, MD.
This issue is usually about maps on GPS devices, smart phone applications, or commercial online maps. The USGS does not provide road or address information for those products, almost all of which use road data from commercial sources. The USGS has no relationship with those companies. The USGS mission does not include the collection and...
Part of the Washington DC USGS Topo quadrangle
There are different answers to this question for different products. In all cases, we must know what product you are addressing. Please read the following guidelines and email error reports to tnm_help@usgs.gov: US Topo maps (topographic maps published 2009-present) Please include the following information: The map title, state, and date (from the...
Pipeline in Alaska early Spring
The original USGS 7.5-minute (1:24,000 scale) Historical Topographic Maps (produced 1945-1992) included feature classes that are not yet shown on US Topo maps (produced 2009-present). Examples include recreational trails, pipelines, power lines, survey markers, many types of boundaries, and many types of buildings. The USGS no longer does field...
small excerpt of Yosemite Valley topographic map in shades of green and brown
Yes. Topographic maps originally published as paper documents between 1884-2006 have been scanned and published as the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection.  Download our historical topographic maps and our more current US Topo maps (published 2009-present) free of charge using TopoView (GeoPDF, GeoTIFF, JPEG, and KMZ formats) or using the...
Scan of the 1909 USGS quadrangle of the Yosemite, California area, to include El Capitan, from the USGS Historic Topographic Map
Historically, USGS topographic maps were made using data from primary sources including direct field observations. Those maps were compiled, drawn, and edited by hand. By today's standards, those traditional methods are very expensive and time-consuming, and the USGS no longer has funding to make maps that way. A new USGS topographic map series...
Map of current USGS National Water Quality Network sites in the United States
Yes. Bulk delivery is available for maps from the US Topo collection (produced 2009-present) and the Historical Topographic Map Collection (produced 1884-2006). In bulk delivery requests, please specify which of these two product series you want.   Bulk delivery options are currently only available for maps in GeoPDF file format. Options for bulk...
Updated 2015 version of the Green River Lakes quadrangle with orthoimage
The orthoimagery (georectified aerial photography) available through The National Map Download Client and The National Map Services is from the USDA Farm Service Agency's National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP), which is 1 meter resolution. Generally, NAIP imagery is refreshed on a 3-year cycle with approximately one third of the continental...
Updated 2015 version of Saint Landry quadrangle with orthoimage turned on
Imagery services in The National Map (TNM) Viewer use WGS 1984 Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere). The USGS ImageryOnly Service (under Base Maps) is cached (pre-generated) at this projection. Imagery services can be easily reprojected to many other popular projections for use in GIS desktop applications as background services.
2015 version of Boulder City, Nevada quadrangle with orthoimage
There are several imagery services for The National Map. A complete list of service URLs is at The National Map-Service Endpoints. Go to  imagery service URLs to view service parameters, formats, and contact information. Some imagery services are cached and some are dynamic: USGSImageryOnly (under Base Maps), for example, is a tile cache base map...
Updated 2016 version of the East Austin US Topo quadrangle with orthoimage turned on. (1:24,000 scale)
Sources for orthoimagery in The National Map services: World view to 1:2,300,000 - NASA Blue Marble Next Generation (BMNG) 1:1,150,000 to 1:289,000 - A subset of the Global Land Survey 2000 (Landsat) Scales larger than 1:289,000 - primarily the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP). The data is 1-meter pixel resolution flown during "leaf-on...
Orthoimage of a four-way interchange, Los Angeles, CA
Orthoimagery is usually very large in file size, so we stage the data in "tiles" that can be reasonably transported over the Internet. Orthoimagery from the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) that is distributed via The National Map Data Download is in compressed 10:1, JPEG2000 format in 3.75 minute x 3.75 minute tile extents. A larger...
Orthoimage of downtown Nashville, TN
Orthoimagery is offered through a bulk data application in EarthExplorer. Go to the EarthExplorer Help page and select "Bulk Download Tutorial". To receive bulk data via external hard drive, you must 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...