Topographic Maps and Resources
Topographic maps are filed alphabetically by name in the map cases in the basement. In the finding lists above map names followed by “(Tom Green)” are filed separately in the “Tom Green County Topographic Maps” drawer. Second copies of the Tom Green County maps may be found with the main map collection. The Tom Green maps are cataloged and appear in RamCat. Maps for many surrounding counties have also been cataloged. A search in RamCat for the subject Texas—Maps, Topographic will retrieve a complete list of those maps which have been cataloged at this time. For assistance: ask a librarian at the Research Assistance Desk.
The web sites listed below either will aid in finding topographic map quadrangle names or in obtaining topographic maps online. Several sites provide a seamless method of viewing quadrangles. One site offers a glimpse into the future of mapping made possible by the data obtained by a NASA shuttle mission in 2000.
National Geographic MapMaker
View and customize maps. Explore and discover information about countries and territories around the world. Select layers to create a map specific to your need. Customize the colors and add text, photos, and videos.
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission
This shuttle mission in 2000 acquired enough data to obtain the most complete near-global high-resolution database of earth’s topography. See the site for more information on this project and its importance to the future of mapping.
Formerly Microsoft TerraServer “[t]he TerraServer-USA Web site is one of the world’s largest online databases, providing free public access to a vast data store of maps and aerial photographs of the United States. TerraServer is designed to work with commonly available computer systems and Web browsers over slow speed communications links.” TerraServer-USA contains digitized topographical maps of the United States provided by the US Geological Survey. The USGS digitized topographical maps cover 100% of the conterminous United States and Hawaii. Images can be downloaded.
USGS National Mapping Information
“Query Form for the United States and Its Territories” retrieves detailed information (if any) about a specific place or point of interest (even libraries and parks) in the U.S. Includes: Elevation, Population, Description, History Notes, Variant Names, and USGS 7.5’ Map Names.
Replaces “Map Finder.” Start by “entering” the USGS Store. This site is helpful if you already know the name of the quadrangle or the USGS product number. If you don’t know the map name, use the “GNIS” search option, which links to the National Mapping Information “Query Form for the United States and Its Territories” to get the quadrangle map name. Entries for each map include a thumbnail image (in .jpeg, if available); coordinates; and dates of version, survey, revisions, and printing. County names are not included. You can order copies of maps online from this site.
The following “publications” present information on the future of mapping, examples of maps produced using computer technology and several types of map formats, and additional information.
Landforms of the conterminous United States: a digital shaded-relief portrayal: visualizing the landscape (USGS)
When the necessary information is available in digital format a computer can represent landforms as they actually are. “This map is the largest single-sheet graphic of relief forms of the United States since the classic hand-drawn oblique map of the same area by Raisz (1939) … The new map clearly shows the regional terrain textures on which physiographic divisions of the United States were largely based on Fenneman and Johnson, 1946.” (from section ‘The new digital shaded-relief map’).”
The National Map: topographic mapping for the 21st century [Final report (PDF, 38 pp.)] [Issues and actions (PDF, 41 pp.)]
This is not a map resource, but a report on future mapping activities. “This report defines a vision for The National Map, a database of continuously maintained base geographic information for the United States and its territories that will serve as the Nation’s topographic map for the 21st century. Improvements will include greatly increased attention to keeping the information current, seamless national digital data coverage to avoid problems now caused by map boundaries, higher resolution and positional accuracy to better support user requirements, thorough data integration to improve the internal consistency of the data, and dramatically increased reliance on partnerships and commercially available data.” (Final report, Executive summary, p. 1)
The National Map - Texas pilot project (USGS Fact Sheet 119-01, November 2001) [HTML]
Topographic Map Symbols (USGS)
What is a topographic map? — Reading topographic maps — Topographic map information — Map symbols
USGS Maps, Online Edition
“Discover a small sample of the millions of maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in its mission to map the Nation and survey its resources. This booklet gives a brief overview of the types of maps sold and distributed by the USGS through its Earth Science Information Centers (ESIC) and also available from business partners located in most States. The USGS provides a wide variety of maps, from topographic maps showing the geographic relief and thematic maps displaying the geology and water resources of the United States, to special studies of the moon and planets.”
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Updated: May 2019, Kimberly Wirth, Coordinator of Information Literacy/Research Librarian