In 2014, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri collaborated to bring the ever-increasing collection of US historical topographic maps to everyone through the USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer. This app brings to life more than 178,000 maps dating from 1882 to 2006. Previously available only as printed lithographic copies, the legacy quadrangles are now available as web viewable images and free, downloadable digital files. The USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer allows users to explore the historical maps, save the current view as a web map, and download the maps as high-resolution georeferenced images in GeoTIFF format for use in web mapping applications and GIS. Learn more about the app in the item description on ArcGIS Online.
The historical maps are part of the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection ― a project that was launched in 2011. The collection includes all scales and all
editions of the topographic maps published by the USGS since the inception of the topographic mapping program in 1879. The maps have been prepared at scales
ranging from 1:10,000 to 1:250,000. Some scales have broad coverage across the United States, while others may have only one map.
The USGS scanned each map as is to capture the content and condition of each map sheet. All maps were georeferenced, and metadata was captured as part of the
process. Using ArcGIS, the scanned maps were made into
the USGS Historical Topographic Maps image service that
can be viewed on the web and provides links to allow users to download individual scanned images. Learn more about the image service in the item description in ArcGIS Online.
"We are so pleased to see these historic topographic maps being made more accessible to the nation," said Kevin Gallagher, associate director of
Core Science Systems for the USGS. "We recognize the fundamental role of government in acquiring mapping information and putting it in the public domain.
At the same time, we recognize the tremendous benefits of the private industry adding value through innovative approaches to access and distribution."
The USGS had published this symbol key to help you identify the symbols used on their topographic maps.
"We are pleased to partner with the USGS on this app to bring this national treasure to life," said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. "This application provides an easy way for anyone to explore the historic map collection by both place and time. The ArcGIS platform supports the building and sharing of amazing maps and content such as this collection.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments about the map collection or the online app.