Topographical Maps

Topographic maps are among the most widely used of all maps. Their most distinguishing features are the contour lines that show the shape and elevation of the land. Topographic maps also show both natural and manmade features, including mountains, valleys, rivers, vegetation, roads, boundaries and major buildings.

Computer technology has changed the way maps are made and used. Maps are now being digitized. Digital Raster Graphics (DRG) are scanned images of the USGS topographic maps. Like printed maps, DRGs can be purchased from the USGS; in addition, there are websites that make these maps available on the Internet. Some of these sites are listed here:

Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey: USGS Store

  • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) produces topographic maps for the entire United States. The best known maps are the 1:24,000-scale maps known as 7.5 minute quadrangle maps. Each maps covers an area of 7.5 minutes of longitude.
  • In addition to the 7.5 minute maps, USGS also produces complete topographic coverage of the U.S. at scales of 1:100,000 and 1:250,000.

Inside Idaho is a clearing house for digital geospatial data made available through the University of Idaho. Choose "Interactive GIS," then "Image Viewer" to view and print topographic maps for Idaho.

Trails.com features topographic maps for the entire U.S. which can be searched by place names instead of quadrangle names.

TerraServer provides access to maps and aerial photographs of the United States. Search in two ways, by selecting a location or by entering a place name.

Public Lands Information Center provides virtual maps of Idaho's Public Lands.

Boise State University's Albertsons Library has a collection of topographic maps for all the 50 states.

Boise Public Library has a collection of Idaho USGS topographic maps (7.5 minute quadrangles) and a selected collection of Idaho topographic maps (1:100,000 scale) produced by the Idaho Department of Transportation.

The Idaho State Archives have USGS topographic maps for Idaho (15 and 7.5 minute series.)

The Idaho State Library receives USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps as a depository item. They do not have a complete collection.

Last updated: May 23, 2014 - 1:21pm by farrit