Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Why don’t the boundaries on US Topo maps match and why are some missing?

Improving boundaries for USGS topographic maps is an ongoing effort. Boundaries have been added to computer-generated US Topo maps (published 2009-present) as digital versions become available:  

  • 2009-2010 – The U.S. national boundary was the only boundary shown. 

  • 2011 – State and county boundaries added using TIGER/Line data from the U.S. Census Bureau

  • 2011 – U.S. Forest Service areas added. 

  • 2013 – National Park Service lands, Fish and Wildlife Service lands, and military reservations added.  

  • 2013 – Bureau of Land Management boundaries added ONLY to US Topos in Alaska. 

  • 2015-2016 – National Cemetery Administration boundaries added. 

Unlike hand-drawn Historical USGS Topographic Maps (published 1884-2006), boundaries on computer-generated US Topo and OnDemand Topo maps don't always align perfectly when boundary lines from several sources are combined. Where boundaries differ significantly between agencies, those agencies will collaborate to reconcile them. 

USGS topographic maps are general reference publications and can’t be used as legally authoritative sources for boundary information or litigation.