What is GeoMark and do USGS topographic maps have it?

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 these objects to be exported to GIS files.

Users of these products can add and export Geomarkup using free Adobe Reader software and the Terrago Toolbar plugin. Exact behavior of the GeoMark tools varies between versions of Adobe Reader and the TerraGo Toolbar. GeoMark functions might not work on USGS topographic maps if you are using older versions of these software tools. 

USGS topographic maps (US Topos) created after June 2017 are NOT GeoMark enabled because we no longer use Terrago software to produce our maps.

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What does "georeferenced" mean?

Georeferencing means that the internal coordinate system of a digital map or aerial photo can be related to a ground system of geographic coordinates. A georeferenced digital map or image has been tied to a known Earth coordinate system, so users can determine where every point on the map or aerial photo is located on the Earth's surface. The...

How current are US Topo maps?

US Topo maps are updated on a three-year production cycle (maps covering one third of the country are updated each year). The US Topo production schedule follows the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) collection schedule. This does not include US Topos for Alaska, which are on a different schedule . The...

Can I import a US Topo map into my Geographic Information System (GIS)?

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 a...

What is a GeoPDF®?

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,...

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...

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

Filter Total Items: 6
December 18, 2017

Lesson 8a: US Topos Created after June 2017

In this lesson we will demonstrate how to open and manipulate data layers using Adobe Reader DC and Adobe Acrobat Pro. We will also learn how to use basic tools like panning, zooming and making measurements.

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. 

An Introduction to TopoView (version 1.0)

Screen shot of US Topo Story Map
August 18, 2016

US Topo Story Map – Topographic Maps for the Nation

US Topo Story Map – Topographic Maps for the Nation

April 15, 2016

US Topo

video thumbnail: US Topo
February 29, 2012

US Topo

US Topo is the next generation of topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Arranged in the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle format, digital US Topo maps are designed to look and feel (and perform) like the traditional paper topographic maps for which the USGS is so well known. In contrast to paper-based maps, US Topo maps provide modern technical advantages