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Maps, Aerial Photographs & Satellite Images

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United States Maps and Resources



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)

Ask USGS. 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."

American FactFinder
The site to visit for data from the 1990 Census and the 2000 Census. Provides both reference maps, which show basic boundary information (cities, counties, census tracts, etc.) and thematic maps. The Thematic Map option allows the user to select the geographic area of coverage, select from a limited number of themes, and then view the results. Output options include printing and saving to a file.

Color Landform Atlas of the United States
For all 50 states, access Shaded relief maps, County maps, Black and white maps, PostScript maps, Satellite images, and an 1895 map.

Critical Mass : a Biodiversity Atlas of the United States and Canada
View maps of major habitats and types of species, such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and butterflies. Control map views by political boundaries, total species, endemic species, and zooming in and out.

Geographic Name Information System
Produced by the USGS, National Mapping Information. Contains information about almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States. The Federally recognized name of each feature described in the database is identified, and references are made to a feature's location by State, county, and geographic coordinates. The GNIS is our Nation's official repository of domestic geographic names information. Information about foreign geographic feature names can be obtained from the GEONet Names Server (link below).

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')."

National Atlas of the United States (Graphic Mode) (Text Mode)
Click the Atlas Maps link to design and explore your own map or to view interactive multimedia maps. The map pages require the use of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 or Netscape Navigator 4 with frames enabled. A screen resolution of at least 800 by 600 pixels is highly recommended. Multimedia maps, which require Shockwave, a web browser plug-in that can be downloaded from the site, include such maps as: Active volcanoes, Exotic species, Vegetation growth in 1995, and Terrain relief and elevation.

National Geographic MapMachine
Browse conservation maps and street-level maps and search US topographic maps to create custom maps. Conservation maps are grouped according to the topics Environmental (terrain, habitat types, soil types, etc.), Land Use (land use, agricultural and environmental threats), Natural Hazards (floods, hailstorms, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.), and Weather (snow cover, annual precipitation, and annual temperature). Topographic maps are seamless across quadrangles.

State of the Land (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service)
"This site provides data and analysis on land use, soil erosion and soil quality, water quality, wetlands, and other issues regarding the conservation and use of natural resources." Click on "Maps, Facts, & Figures" Find maps covering such topics as Agricultural productivity, Cropland, Soils, Urbanization, Water supply, Wetlands, and Wildlife habitat.

A Tapestry of Time and Terrain: The Union of Two Maps - Geology and Topography (USGS)
This new map weaves together, in vivid colors and shadings, the topographical and geological components of the lower 48 states, as well as the geologic age of those components. It outlines the geologic story of continental collision and break-up, mountain-building, river erosion and deposition, glaciation, volcanism and other events and processes that have shaped the region over the last 2.6 billion years. Includes descriptions of geologic times and selected features (e.g., the Llano Uplift in Central Texas and the Llano Estacado in the Texas Panhandle). Also available in paper. Ask the Government Documents Librarian for assistance.

TerraServer-USA
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. Joseph J. Kerski (USGS, Rocky Mountain Mapping Center) has written a guide for use with this online resource: Downloading and formatting earth images from TerraServer for recreational, scientific, educational, and GIS use. Other guides are available on the web site.

U.S. Gazetteer
Produced by the United States Census Bureau. Used to identify places to view with the Tiger Map Server and obtain census data from the 1990 Census Lookup server. You can search for places, counties or MCDs by entering the name and state abbreviation (optional), or 5-digit zip code. [If you are interested in 2000 Census data, please use American FactFinder.]

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. Includes links to Census Bureau's Tiger Mapping Service.

USGS Store
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.

United States
A collection of United States maps, from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, The University of Texas at Austin. Includes "U.S. Historical City Maps."

United States Digital Map Library (USGenWeb Archives)
"The United States Digital Map Library is a USGenWeb Archives project, developed in April of 1999 under the coordination of Fred Smoot." The site is hosted by RootsWeb. The collection includes the following projects:

  • State and County Maps
  • United States National Maps
    • Includes North America, 1845; U.S. Meridians and Baselines; Western United States, Circa 1897; Pacific States and Territories; Map of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming (1892); The New Reference Atlas of the World (1910) (includes state maps and 18 city maps).
  • Indian Land Cessions to the United States Treaty Maps
    • "While this project will deal with the maps of the Indian land cessions made by the Nations of our First Peoples, the time period covered will be from the formal establishment of the United States government to the year 1894. There were earlier cessions between the First People and the European colonials."
    • "This American History Project contains all sixty-seven maps from the 1899 paper, Indian Land Cessions in the United States. It was complied by Charles C. Royce. The paper appeared in the 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-97, by J.W. Powell, Director - In Two Parts - Part 2. Printed in Washington, by the Government Printing Office, 1899."

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Revised: January-March 2004, Janetta Paschal, Government Documents/Reference Librarian