How do I find, download, or order topographic maps?

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been the primary civilian mapping agency of the United States since 1879. The best known USGS maps are the 1:24,000-scale topographic maps, also known as 7.5-minute quadrangles.

Download all dates and scales of USGS topographic maps free of charge from the following applications or order paper copies of all dates through the USGS Store. This includes both current US Topo maps (computer generated every 3 years since 2009) and Historical topographic maps (produced by hand until 2009). Most applications have an option for toggling on map indices showing an outline of all the maps, though you must zoom in to see the lines:

  • Map Locator on the USGS Store -- Search and download free digital maps in GeoPDF format or order paper maps. This is the only USGS site for ordering paper maps.

  • TopoView -- The largest selection of digital options. Download free digital maps in GeoPDF, GeoTIFF, JPG, and KMZ formats.

  • Advanced users can also use The National Map and the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) to download digital topographic maps.

The online USGS Store is the only site for ordering paper topographic maps. Use the Store’s Map Locator.

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Where can I find indexes of USGS topographic maps?

View map indices on these interactive maps (you must zoom in to see the index lines and map names) : Map Locator on the USGS Store - Click the icon on the left that looks like two pieces of paper and select “1:24,000”. TopoView - Click on any of the round map scale indicators on the right side of the map. The National Map Viewer - Click on the...

What is a topographic map?

The distinctive characteristic of a topographic map is the use of elevation contour lines to show the shape of the Earth's surface. Elevation contours are imaginary lines connecting points having the same elevation on the surface of the land above or below a reference surface, which is usually mean sea level. Contours make it possible to show the...

How much distance does a degree, minute, and second cover on your maps?

The distances vary. A degree, minute, or second of latitude remains fairly constant from the equator to the poles; however a degree, minute, or second of longitude can vary greatly as one approaches the poles (because of the convergence of the meridians). At 38 degrees North latitude: One degree of latitude equals approximately 364,000 feet (69...

How do I get a full-scale plot of a 1:24,000-scale (7.5-minute) topographic map?

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...

How current are US Topo maps?

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...

Are USGS topographic maps copyrighted?

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...

How accurate are US Topo maps, and why don't they have an accuracy statement?

US Topo maps are as accurate as the data sources used to make them, but because these sources are many and varied, it is not possible to make a single simple statement that the map as a whole meets a particular level of accuracy. US Topo maps, therefore, do not have a traditional accuracy statement in the map collar. Accuracy information for...

Can I still get the older topographic maps?

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 Top o maps (published 2009-present) free of charge using TopoView (GeoPDF, GeoTIFF, JPEG, and KMZ formats) or using the...

How do US Topo maps differ from historical USGS topographic maps?

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...
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Date published: July 19, 2017

Historical Maps at Your Fingertips

Earlier this month, the USGS launched “TopoView 2.1”, an enhancement to the current popular TopoView mapping service that lets users discover, interact, and download historical USGS topographic maps scans.

Date published: July 5, 2017

Finding Yourself Outdoors

Updated USGS digital topographic maps feature more trails and other recreation points of interest

Date published: August 18, 2016

Story Map - Topographic Maps for the Nation

The USGS National Geospatial Program has released an interactive Story Map giving viewers an overview of the US Topo map program

Date published: December 17, 2015

Mapping the National Parks

The national parks of the United States are often compared to, and indeed inspire, works of art. In fact, the USGS has been regularly contributing new and updated works of art for the national parks—maps.

Filter Total Items: 4
December 18, 2017

Lesson 9a: Accessing US Topo and Historical USGS Topographic Maps

In this lesson, we will discuss the USGS Store and how it can be used to access the US Topo and historical USGS Topographic maps. Specifically, this lesson will talk about the USGS Store, both where it’s accessed and what’s available at the store, as well as how you can locate and download free topographic maps through the store. 
 

1951 USGS legacy topographic map of the Monson West, ME
April 25, 2016

1951 USGS legacy topographic map of the Monson West, ME

1951 USGS legacy topographic map of the Monson West (Maine) quadrangle, 1:62,500 scale.

December 2, 2009

History of USGS Topographic Mapping

On December 3, 2009, more than 300 people gathered at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) headquarters in Reston, Virginia, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of USGS topographic mapping. The ceremony opened with a special production by Duke Ellington School of the Arts

December 2, 2009

Reflections on National Topographic Mapping

On December 3, 2009, more than 300 people gathered at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) headquarters in Reston, Virginia, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of USGS topographic mapping. The ceremony opened with a special production by Duke Ellington School of the Arts