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Alaska Mapping Initiative

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USGS Alaska Mapping Initiative

Modernizing Alaska Mapping

The Alaska Mapping Initiative is a U.S. Geological Survey program to support and improve maps and digital map data for Alaska, bringing Alaska topographic map and digital map data quality in line with the conterminous United States.

The goal of the Alaska Mapping Initiative (AMI) is to acquire and enhance foundational digital map layers such as elevation, surface water, and boundaries that will be used to produce new US Topo maps for Alaska. This multi-year mapping initiative will improve The National Map's Alaska data to benefit high-priority applications in safety, planning, research, and resource management.

The USGS is coordinating with the State of Alaska and multiple Federal agencies to accomplish these tasks through the Alaska Geospatial Council and the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee.

New Elevation Layer Being Acquired Statewide for Alaska

New 5-meter elevation data is being collected by airborne radar statewide over Alaska as funding is made available. The new data is acquired using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar technology, and is commonly referred to as ifsar. The new ifsar data replaces decades-old 60-meter elevation data, and is made available free to the public as an element of the national 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). The new data are used in a wide variety of applications, including the creation of contours and shaded relief for new US Topo maps. Comparisons of the new data with the older Alaska elevation data set show that significant errors are being corrected.

New Digital US Topo Map Series Being Created Statewide for Alaska

US Topo quadrangles are digital topographic maps produced by the National Geospatial Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). They are created in the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle format similar to the legacy paper maps, with the addition of an aerial photo or satellite image as a visual base layer. Each map is delivered in PDF format with geospatial extensions (GeoPDF®) for free download and viewing on a computer or mobile device, including layers that can be controlled by the user. Over the next 6 years,11,275 US Topo maps will be created to cover all of Alaska at a 1:25,000 map scale. Maps are created only where satellite imagery and highly detailed elevation data exists.

US Topo maps are accessible for free download from The National Map Viewer and for download and order from the USGS Store. The maps will be made available as they are produced and posted over the next few years. A 'quickstart' user's guide is available for The National Map Viewer with instructions on how to locate and download maps and/or data.

For more information, contact the USGS Alaska Geospatial Liaison, Brian Wright, via email at

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