Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Fact Sheet 2013–3093

US Topo—Topographic Maps for the Nation

By William J. Carswell, Jr.

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (6.71 MB)Abstract

US Topo is the next generation of topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Arranged in the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle format, digital US Topo maps are designed to look and feel (and perform) like the traditional paper topographic maps for which the USGS is so well known. In contrast to paper-based maps, US Topo maps provide modern technical advantages that support faster, wider public distribution and enable basic, on-screen geographic analysis for all users.

The US Topo quadrangle map has been redesigned so that map elements are visually distinguishable with the imagery turned on and off, while keeping the file size as small as possible. The US Topo map redesign includes improvements to various display factors, including symbol definitions (color, line thickness, line symbology, area fills), layer order, and annotation fonts. New features for 2013 include the following: a raster shaded relief layer, military boundaries, cemeteries and post offices, and a US Topo cartographic symbols legend as an attachment.

US Topo quadrangle maps are available free on the Web. Each map quadrangle is constructed in GeoPDF® format using key layers of geographic data (orthoimagery, roads, geographic names, topographic contours, and hydrographic features) from The National Map databases.

US Topo quadrangle maps can be printed from personal computers or plotters as complete, full-sized, maps or in customized sections, in a user-desired specific format. Paper copies of the maps can also be purchased from the USGS Store. Download links and a users guide are featured on the US Topo Web site.

US Topo users can turn geographic data layers on and off as needed; they can zoom in and out to highlight specific features or see a broader area. File size for each digital 7.5-minute quadrangle, about 30 megabytes. Associated electronic tools for geographic analysis are available free for download. The US Topo provides the Nation with a topographic product that users can quickly incorporate into decisionmaking, operational or recreational activities.

First posted October 25, 2013

For additional information contact:
National Geospatial Technical Operations Center
U.S. Geological Survey
1400 Independence Road
Rolla, MO 65401-2602

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Carswell, W.J., Jr., 2013, US Topo—Topographic maps for the Nation: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3093, 2 p.,


What Makes US Topo Different from Other Digital Topographic Maps?

What is New about US Topo?

What are Future Plans?

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 29-Nov-2016 17:50:16 EST