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Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data

The USGS provides the mapping and digital geospatial foundation for the Nation.

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How do I download hydrography data products?

Download USGS hydrography data (datasets representing U.S. surface water for mapping and modeling applications) using The National Map Downloader or using download links that are listed at Access National Hydrography Products.Learn more:The National Map Training VideosNational Hydrography Dataset User GuideFor streamflow data, see: Where can I get real-time and historical streamflow information?

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How do I download hydrography data products?

Download USGS hydrography data (datasets representing U.S. surface water for mapping and modeling applications) using The National Map Downloader or using download links that are listed at Access National Hydrography Products.Learn more:The National Map Training VideosNational Hydrography Dataset User GuideFor streamflow data, see: Where can I get real-time and historical streamflow information?

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Where can I find land cover data for the U.S.?

Information on land cover data from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) can be found on the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) website. The MRLC website serves several vintages of the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). At this writing, NLCD 2016 is the most recent version.

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Where can I find land cover data for the U.S.?

Information on land cover data from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) can be found on the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) website. The MRLC website serves several vintages of the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). At this writing, NLCD 2016 is the most recent version.

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How can I find the source and vintage of each US Topo data layer?

The credit legend in the lower left-hand corner of the collar on a US Topo map includes a short summary of data sources and data currency. More detailed source information is in an XML metadata file attached to each GeoPDF file. This file contains series-level, quad-level, and layer-level metadata, but US Topo does not preserve or track feature-level metadata. Open the GeoPDF map file in Acrobat...

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How can I find the source and vintage of each US Topo data layer?

The credit legend in the lower left-hand corner of the collar on a US Topo map includes a short summary of data sources and data currency. More detailed source information is in an XML metadata file attached to each GeoPDF file. This file contains series-level, quad-level, and layer-level metadata, but US Topo does not preserve or track feature-level metadata. Open the GeoPDF map file in Acrobat...

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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 linework features shown on the maps are generated from...

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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 linework features shown on the maps are generated from...

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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 business.Download the GeoPDF map file and plot it on your own...

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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 business.Download the GeoPDF map file and plot it on your own...

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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...

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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...

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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 companion product that will provide most US Topo...

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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 companion product that will provide most US Topo...

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Are US Topo products available for Alaska?

Yes. Publication of 1:25,000-scale US Topo maps in Alaska began in 2013. The production schedule is determined by availability of IFSAR elevation data and SPOT imagery provided by the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative. To see an index map of publication dates for US Topos in Alaska, go to the National Map Downloader. Put a checkmark next to “US Topo” then select “Show Availability”...

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Are US Topo products available for Alaska?

Yes. Publication of 1:25,000-scale US Topo maps in Alaska began in 2013. The production schedule is determined by availability of IFSAR elevation data and SPOT imagery provided by the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative. To see an index map of publication dates for US Topos in Alaska, go to the National Map Downloader. Put a checkmark next to “US Topo” then select “Show Availability”...

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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, measure length, and more).The USGS currently produces...

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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, measure length, and more).The USGS currently produces...

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Are USGS topographic maps copyrighted?

All topographic maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are in the public domain and are not copyrighted except for the following three cases that apply only to US Topo maps (produced 2009-present):Most maps in the period 2010-2016 contain commercially licensed road data (see note below).Orthoimages in Alaska are commercially licensed.Orthoimages in Hawaii were commercially licensed...

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Are USGS topographic maps copyrighted?

All topographic maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are in the public domain and are not copyrighted except for the following three cases that apply only to US Topo maps (produced 2009-present):Most maps in the period 2010-2016 contain commercially licensed road data (see note below).Orthoimages in Alaska are commercially licensed.Orthoimages in Hawaii were commercially licensed...

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Why was the PDF file format selected for US Topo maps?

US Topo maps are intended to serve map users who are not GIS specialists. The priority design objectives were to create a traditional topographic map as a digital document that could be displayed on a typical computer without specialized software and printed at map scale without specialized software or expertise. We believe PDF is the only format in common use that satisfies these requirements...

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Why was the PDF file format selected for US Topo maps?

US Topo maps are intended to serve map users who are not GIS specialists. The priority design objectives were to create a traditional topographic map as a digital document that could be displayed on a typical computer without specialized software and printed at map scale without specialized software or expertise. We believe PDF is the only format in common use that satisfies these requirements...

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Why are mountain peak elevations not shown on US Topo maps?

Historical USGS topographic maps (produced until 2006) included spot elevation labels on mountain peaks, local high points, and sometimes well defined points such as crossroads. These elevations were usually measured either by field survey triangulation or photogrammetric triangulation. Their average accuracy was on the rough order of +/- 10 feet, though accuracy varied with method, terrain, and...

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Why are mountain peak elevations not shown on US Topo maps?

Historical USGS topographic maps (produced until 2006) included spot elevation labels on mountain peaks, local high points, and sometimes well defined points such as crossroads. These elevations were usually measured either by field survey triangulation or photogrammetric triangulation. Their average accuracy was on the rough order of +/- 10 feet, though accuracy varied with method, terrain, and...

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