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Historical Topographic Maps - Preserving the Past

In 2009, USGS began the release of a new generation of topographic maps (US Topo) in electronic form, and in 2011, complemented them with the release of high-resolution scans of more than 178,000 historical topographic maps of the United States. The topographic map remains an indispensable tool for everyday use in government, science, industry, land management planning, and recreation.

Historic maps are snapshots of the nation's physical and cultural features at a particular time. Maps of the same area can show how an area looked before development and provide a detailed view of changes over time. Historical maps are often useful to scientists, historians, environmentalists, genealogists and others researching a particular geographic location or area.

The goal of The National Map’s Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC), which started in 2011, is to provide a digital repository of USGS 1:250,000 scale and larger maps printed between 1884, the inception of the topographic mapping program, and 2006. The National Geospatial Program (NGP) is accurately cataloging and creating metadata to accompany high-resolution, geo-referenced digital files representing the legacy lithographic maps. These maps are either no longer available for distribution in print or are being replaced by the new generation of US Topo maps

GeoPDF® versions of HTMC maps can be downloaded free of charge from these applications:

The newest generation of USGS GeoPDF® topographic maps, US Topo, are also available online for download through these same three applications.

For tutorial information on download and product use, see the US Topo Users Guide.


Seeking map-loving people to help us test drive a completely different interface to explore our historical collection and download maps! Only the Historical Topographic Map Collection is supported in this ‘TopoView’ application.This viewer supports viewing the map and downloading the map files in GeoPDF, GeoTIFF, JPEG or KMZ formats. However, no capability of purchasing a full size print or bulk download exists at this time. Please be sure to leave us feedback by clicking on the conversation bubbles in the bottom-left corner of TopoView.

For more information contact us.


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Page Last Modified: Monday, 04-Jan-2016 11:50:18 EST