Introduction to the Topo TNM Style Template and Topo Map Vector Data

Video Transcript
Download Video
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

This is lesson 12-Introduction to the Topo TNM Style Template and the Topo Map Vector Data Products. This lesson consists of a series of videos intended to introduce the user to the Topo TNM Style Template and the Topo Map Vector Data products. We will discuss the how and why they are needed and used. We will show you where to download the Template and the various products. Finally, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to set the Template up for use.

Please note that some of our URLs in the video have changed. All URLs beginning with '' have been updated to ''. These URLs should reroute automatically, but if you have an issue replace '' with ''.  If you have questions, please visit


Date Taken:

Length: 00:10:30

Location Taken: Augusta, ME, US


This is lesson 12, Introduction to the Topo TNM Style Template and Topo Map Vector Data Products

This lesson consists of a series of videos intended to introduce the user to the Topo TNM Style Template and the Topo Map Vector Data products.  We will discuss the how and why they are needed and used.  We will show you where to download the Template and the various products.  Finally, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to set the Template up for use.

The Topo TNM Style Template can readily be used with the Topo Map Vector Data and other data available for download from The National Map.  The Template and the National Map data are intended to be used together to quickly provide the GIS user with a fully customizable map in the style of US Topo maps using the most current National Map data.

This Template was developed in keeping with the 24,000-scale, 7.5-minute layout and cartographic design of published US Topo Maps.  It is intended for use in any geographic location where data is available for download from the National Map.  The Template is provided as an Esri-specific solution for the benefit of USGS earth scientists and other scientific professionals who have a requirement for symbolized and annotated topographic base map layers to support advanced GIS analysis and mapping.  Symbolized map layers, links to Web Map Services, labeling rules, grids, standard map layout and marginalia information are included in the Template.  Ancillary data for tailoring the Template is provided along with the Template in an Esri file geodatabase.  The USGS recognizes that this solution only meets the needs of end users dependent upon Esri products.  Research continues into alternative formats.

Let’s discuss and download the style template and topo vector data products

Before we get started, please note that this video will not discuss the red exclamation points you see next to the boxes of the data layers in the style template.  Resolving these data sources will be explained in a subsequent video on how to configure the Style Template.

Symbolized layers within the Style Template can be linked to data downloaded from The National Map and include Map Layers from The National Map vector data themes of transportation, hydrography, elevation contours, TNM Derived Names, boundaries, Structures and Land cover  or woodland tint                                

The National Map Derived Names dataset is a multi-point feature class derived from the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The GNIS is the official repository of domestic geographic names data; the official vehicle for geographic names used by all departments of the Federal Government; and the source for applying geographic names to Federal electronic and printed products of all types.

TNM Derived Names is a filtered and enriched dataset intended specifically to be used in the Style Template for symbolizing and labeling named features. This data is provided only in conjunction with Topo Map Vector Data products. Due to the filtering process they do not include all GNIS names available in the standard GNIS dataset.  We will demonstrate this later in the video.

It is also worth noting that even though PLSS is classified as a “boundary,” we have it as a separate layer separate from Boundaries.  Also note that we also use LAT/LONG and MGRS grids in the data frame.

The Web Map Service layers in the Style template includes orthoimagery.  Please note that the Imagery 1-meter is a dynamic web service for scales larger than 1:18,000 and the USGS Imagery Only Base Map is a cached web service for scales smaller than 1:18,000

Shaded relief services  produced by the USGS, and a National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) Web Map Service produced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service are also included.

An ancillary file geodatabase, provided along with the Style Template, contains a Military Grid Reference System feature class and a data table used for coordinate reference in addition to geographic latitude and longitude coordinates. For more information, see the link shown on screen

The ancillary file geodatabase also contains a data table containing 7.5-minute map cell names The adjoining quad names will be populated from this data table.

Additionally, UTM Zones and other information for use in tailoring the Style template to a specific 7.5-minute map can be found within the ancillary file geodatabase.

Please note that this video is demonstrating the style template as it would appear when opened, the companion video to this one will demonstrate how to set up the style template once the data has been downloaded.

This Style Template themes may be linked to any data source downloaded from The National Map.  However, for best results in symbolization and labeling, it is recommended that you use the Topo Map Vector Data products.  These products are being produced and are available now for download from TNM Download Client. 

The Style Template is intended to depict geographic features on the surface of the earth. It has been developed by the USGS for GIS and cartographic experts who have a requirement to analyze geospatial data and to develop custom maps based upon a template in a GIS-ready format that conforms to US Topo Map specifications. The intended use of the Style template is different than that for the published US Topo Maps. The Style Template is intended for end users to create specialized, tailored maps. It is not intended to precisely duplicate the published maps.


The Style template may be used for tasks that may include (but are not limited to) adding or removing data layers; changing symbology; creating and editing annotation features; perform GIS analysis using base data layers and user-generated data layers; and updating or adding text information and marginalia.

Now that you understand the style template, Let’s discuss the Topo Map Vector Data products. 

In 2013 The National Map began transitioning to completely pre-defined, staged products for download. Rather than wait for products to be generated, users are presented with a list of pre-generated staged products matching the criteria they specify which are in turn immediately available for download. This is seen as a more cost-effective way to distribute products and will provide a higher volume download capability for users.

The Topo Map Vector Data Product is one specific type of staged product available from The National Map. These products are staged at a 7.5-minute footprint to correspond with the US Topo Map 7.5-minute extent. They contain feature classes from all TNM Vector data themes, including Elevation Contours, Government Units (Boundaries), Landcover (woodland tint) polygons, Structures, Transportation, Hydrography, and TNM Derived Names. The 7.5-minute map cell feature class is also included. The Topo Map Vector Data Product is intended for a variety of GIS and cartographic applications, including use with the Topo TNM Style Template.

We also need to clarify the differences between the product that can be derived using the Template and the published US Topo. 

The Template is designed to be used with base data that is available for download via The TNM Viewer.  Specifically, the Topo Map Vector Data product is the Staged Product intended for use with the Template. Thus, there will be a number of differences between the Template used with the downloadable Topo Map Vector Data Product and the original published US Topo maps as follows.

The publication date of the vector feature data used in the published US Topo Maps will likely be different from that of the data published along with the Topo Map Vector Data Product. The difference in source data vintage may result in differences in content, cartographic representation, and labeling.

The next lesson shows you how to download the Topo TNM Style Template and topo map vector products