Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Topographic Map Formats

While looking for a map on the US Geological Survey site today I found a new format of topographic maps. Previously it was easy to download a scanned topographic map in pdf format. Today I noticed that for some regions there is a new kind of map called a US Topo. It has a true color aerial photo for a base with all the usual topographic map features on top.

For example, below is a part of the Iron Springs 7.5 minute map showing the Waynesboro Reservoir, which was made in 1995.
Following is the June 2010 version of the same area.
For some maps there is a Digital Maps beta version that doesn't yet have the contour lines. The new maps can be purchased in paper format. Even better is the pdf format. The data in the new maps can be separated in the reader, just like in a GIS. When you install the free TerraGo add-on in Adobe Reader you can make measurements of direction and distance directly on the map. Very Cool! It is all available at http://store.usgs.gov Topographic maps will never be the same again!

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