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Monday, December 14, 2009

USGS Goes to Digital Topo Quads - FREE!

topo map sample
topo map sample

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from the United States Geological Survey

The United States Geological Survey has long recognized that the time lag between production of their paper maps and known updates was way too long. The standard 7.5' Topo Quads used to be updated every 25 years! Nowadays, people want data updated every 25 minutes!

Soon, you can have just that. Simple go to the USGS web site and use their map interface to locate the map you want. You can view the map in satellite, topo or hybrid mode, and with or without a quad division overlay.

Then, best of all, you can download the file instantly, for free! You also have the option to order a paper map for $8 a quad.

The USGS says, "Arranged in the traditional 7.5-minute quadrangle format, digital US Topo maps are designed to look and feel like the traditional paper topographic maps for which the USGS is so well known. At the same time, US Topo maps provide modern technical advantages [including data layering] that support wider and faster public distribution and enable basic, on-screen geographic analysis for all users."

So far, these digital layers have been produced for 17 states. None of these are North Country Trail states, but every NCT state except Michigan is scheduled for 2010.

See USGS Map Production status

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