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Historic USGS topos being made available online

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Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

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The U.S. Geological Survey will make all (over 200,000) historic topographic maps from 1884 to 2006 available on-line as free downloads in PDF format! From the press release:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Historical Quadrangle Scanning Project (HQSP) is in the process of releasing all editions and all scales of more than 200,000 historic topographic maps of the United States dating from 1884-2006.

For more than 130 years, the USGS topographic mapping program has accurately portrayed the complex geography of our Nation. The historical topographic map collection contains all editions and all scales of USGS topographic quadrangles. Files are high resolution (600 DPI) scanned images of all maps from the USGS legacy collection.

The historical topographic map collection includes all States and U.S. territories mapped by the USGS. The HQSP creates a master catalogue and digital archive for all topographic maps and provides easy access to the public to download this historical data to accompany topographic maps that are no longer available for distribution as lithographic prints.

Historical maps are available to the public at no cost in GeoPDF format from the USGS Store. These maps are georeferenced and can be used in conjunction with the new USGS digital topographic map, the US Topo.

(Unfortunately, the store doesn't work in Firefox for Mac.) Still, this is exciting news for those of us doing historical cartography.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics




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Very neat. They've been working on this for some time. The other nice thing is, I think they are re-scanning even the maps that have been scanned before to a better resolution, since today's computers are slightly more up to par than that of mid-1990's.

Some people may complain a little about the geopdf format, but the software (other than adobe) seems to be catching up just fine.

Ted Florence

Ted Florence

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Further to this exciting announcement, Avenza would like all CartoTalkers to be reminded (or newly informed if they didn't know already) that all these maps, as well as any other geospatial PDFs, GeoPDFs and Geotiffs can be used in a mobile fashion on Apple iOS devices (iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches) via the free Avenza PDF Maps app.

As advertised , such geo-enabled maps and images will function with the onboard GPS and locational abilities of these devices to the extent that users can use them to find locations, navigate, add and export waypoints, measure distances and areas and much more.

See also the newly posted GISUser interview and demo I did last week a the ESRI UC in San Diego:

So truly now, the geospatial PDF experience does not end on the desktop or laptop.

Additionally, for all US Government members out there, Avenza has been invited to formally present this solution at the upcoming Geospatial PDF Working Group meeting in Washington next month. http://www.agc.army....conference.html
Anyone in the US Government is invited to attend, whether military or not. Just go to the aforementioned webpage for details.

Cheers to all

Ted Florence

Avenza Systems Inc.

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