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 and the meridians converge.

At 38 degrees North latitude (which passes through Stockton California and Charlottesville Virginia):

• One degree of latitude equals approximately 364,000 feet (69 miles), one minute equals 6,068 feet (1.15 miles), and one-second equals 101 feet.
• One-degree of longitude equals 288,200 feet (54.6 miles), one minute equals 4,800 feet (0.91 mile), and one second equals 80 feet.

Illustration showing longitude convergence. Latitude distances remain constant.

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Do all USGS 7.5 minute topographic maps show the UTM grid?

Historical Topographic Map Collection (1884-2006) : Through time, policies have changed regarding whether or not a full UTM grid would appear on the 7.5-minute (1:24,000-scale) map series. Beginning in the mid 1950s, the grid was indicated by blue ticks around the map at 1,000-meter spacing. In 1979, the ticks were replaced with a full-line black...

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Date published: July 31, 2017

Mapping Public Lands in the United States

The Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) is the official inventory of public parks and other protected areas in all U.S. states and territories.

Date published: July 19, 2017

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

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June 1, 2017

TopoView - A look at version 2.1

A tutorial by USGS scientist and topoView developer Chris Garrity demonstrating how to use topoView version 2.1. TopoView let's you access and download maps free of charge from the USGS's Historical Topographic Map Collection, published between 1884 and 2006.

Resources:
An Introduction to TopoView (version 1.0)

November 18, 2010

PubTalk 11/2010 — Silicon, Software, and Science

Monitoring the Earth's Landscape with Low-Cost High-Tech

by Rian Bogle, Remote Sensing Specialist

• The USGS is one of the world's largest providers of remote sensing data, employing the best tools and techniques to expand our knowledge of the Earth.
• Working with low-cost field and aerial imaging technologies,
November 18, 2004

PubTalk 11/2004 — From Plane Tables to Pixels

The Revolution in Mapping at the U.S. Geological Survey

by Susan P. Benjamin, Research Geographer

• Mapping the United States in the 19th century was arduous, dangerous work; flash floods, bears, and bandits were just a few hazards
• By the mid-20th century, aerial photography, photogrammetry, and stereophoto pairs, allowed
April 1, 1932

USGS Topographer at Work

Topographer George Stanley Druhot with a plane table and alidade. Recorder R.H. Moore is sitting against the Pierce Arrow in the background. A stadia rod is visible on the second car.