Planning Resource: USGS Topos, high resolution and free

posted Sep 5, 2011, 8:59 AM by Luke Hizer   [ updated Sep 5, 2011, 9:11 AM ]
I assume this has been around for a while, but just stumbled on it while doing some planning. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Map Project offers the ability to download high resolution pdfs for use in planning your outdoor adventures. From their overview:

US Topo is the next generation of digital topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey. Arranged in the traditional 7.5-minute quadrangleformat, 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 that support wider and faster public distribution and enable basic, on-screen geographic analysis for all users.

US Topo maps are available free on the Web. Each map quadrangle is constructed in GeoPDF® format from key layers of geographic data –orthoimagery, roads, geographic names, contours and hydrographic features - found in The National Map, which is a nationwide collection of integrated data from local, State, Federal, and other sources.

The coverage map is available here; the store where you can download the maps (don't let the name full you, it's free) is here. Here's an example of one of the maps for the Mt Queets area in Olympic National Park:

I've also added a link in the maps section of the sidebar.