There are multiple copies of the same map in your Historical Topographic Map Collection that all have the same date. Is there a difference between those maps?

Yes, these are different maps that typically resulted from revisions and reprints. The differences are often minor.

The date used to identify a map can be found in the lower right corner. If there are multiple editions with the same compilation date, look for additional dates in the lower right portion of the map collar that might differentiate them:

  • Date on Map -- The year of base compilation, or the year of a significant revision
  • Imprint Year -- The year the map was printed
  • Photo Inspection Year -- The year when a photo inspection was last done on the map
  • Photo Revision Year -- The year when photos were used to revise a map
  • Field Check Year -- The year map content was verified in the field
  • Survey Year -- The year when a field survey was completed for the mapped area
  • Edit Year -- The year the map was last globally edited or revised

Learn more: Historical Topographic Maps - Preserving the Past

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 9

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...

Why are USGS historical topographic maps referenced to outdated datums?

Many different horizontal reference datums exist, but in the United States only three datums are commonly used: The North American Datum of 1927 ( NAD27 ) uses a starting point at a base station in Meades Ranch, Kansas and the Clarke Ellipsoid to calculate the shape of the Earth. The North American Datum of 1983 ( NAD83 ) was developed when...

How can topographic maps be useful in genealogical research?

Once you've gathered as many facts about family history and customs as possible, turn to maps to uncover more specific information or to solve historical mysteries. In the United States, birth, death, property, and some other kinds of records are normally kept by county governments. If you can name the place where an ancestor lived, new or old...

What do the different north arrows on a USGS topographic map mean?

A diagram at the bottom of most USGS topographic maps shows three north arrows--true north, grid north, and magnetic north--and the angles between them. Some maps, especially very old maps, do not have this diagram. Vertical line with a star at the tip, second angled line with GN at the tip, third angled line with MN at the tip. Example of north arrows from US...

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...

Are there metadata Files for USGS topographic maps?

Yes. GeoPDF files for both Historical topographic maps (produced 1884-2006) and US Topo maps (produced 2009-present) come with an XML metadata file attached to each GeoPDF file. To access the metadata file, download the GeoPDF file, open it in Acrobat Reader, click on the paperclip icon, then select a file from the list that appears (a US Topo Map...

Why are some of the historical topographic maps yellowed and why do some have extra stamps or marks?

The goals of the Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC) project are to find, catalog, and georeference all USGS topographic quadrangle maps published prior to 2007. The overall purpose is to preserve the map archive for scientists, historians, and the public. Library copies of maps (many of which have library stamps) were therefore scanned "...

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...

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

Filter Total Items: 14
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. 
 

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)

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.

1914 USGS legacy topographic map of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama
April 25, 2016

1914 USGS legacy topographic map of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama

 

1914 USGS legacy topographic map of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama area.

Image: USGS Cartographer at Work
January 1, 1957

USGS Cartographer at Work

Stereoscopic control point check.

Image: USGS Cartographer at Work
January 1, 1957

USGS Cartographer at Work

The application of transparent adhesive-backed type to the culture lettering separate of the Miller Peak, AZ 7.5-minute topographic map.

Image: USGS Cartographer at Work
January 1, 1957

USGS Cartographer at Work

Color separation scribing of the contour plate for a USGS topographic map using a freehand scriber. This handheld stylist was designed to hold a phonograph needle that was sharpened to engrave a .003" scribed line.

Image: USGS Cartographer at Work
January 1, 1957

USGS Cartographer at Work

Using a swivel graver with a steel straight edge to scribe a road onto the culture plate of a topographic map.

Image: USGS Cartographer at Work
January 1, 1957

USGS Cartographer at Work

Color separation scribing of the intermediate contours for a USGS topographic map using a freehand scriber.

Image: USGS Cartographer at Work
January 1, 1957

USGS Cartographer at Work

Performing color separation scribing of the culture separate of a USGS topographic map using a swivel graver.

Scan of the 1919 USGS quadrangle of the Fremont Peaks area from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection.

Scan of the 1919 USGS quadrangle of the Fremont Peaks area from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection.

Scan of the 1919 USGS quadrangle of the Fremont Peaks area from the USGS 

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Scan of the 1935 USGS quadrangle of the Turkey Creek area

Scan of the 1935 USGS quadrangle of the Turkey Creek area

Scan of the 1935 USGS quadrangle of the Turkey Creek area (which covers the Saint Landry map) from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection. (1:62, 500

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