Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Techniques and Methods 11–B6

National Geospatial Program

Specification for the U.S. Geological Survey Historical Topographic Map Collection

By Gregory J. Allord, Jennifer L. Walter, Kristin A. Fishburn, and Gale A. Shea

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (13.9 MB)Introduction

This document provides the detailed requirements for producing, archiving, and disseminating a comprehensive digital collection of topographic maps for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC). The HTMC is a digital archive of about 190,000 printed topographic maps published by the USGS from the inception of the topographic mapping program in 1884 until the last paper topographic map using lithographic printing technology was published in 2006. The HTMC provides a comprehensive digital repository of all scales and all editions of USGS printed topographic maps that is easily discovered, browsed, and downloaded by the public at no cost. The HTMC provides ready access to maps that are no longer available for distribution in print. A digital file representing the original paper historical topographic map is produced for each historical map in the HTMC in georeferenced PDF (GeoPDF) format (a portable document format [PDF] with a geospatial extension).

First posted December 1, 2014

For additional information contact:

National Geospatial Technical Operations Center NGTOC
U.S. Geological Survey
P.O. Box 25046, MS 510
Denver, CO 80225

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. More information about viewing, downloading, and printing report files can be found here.

Suggested citation:

Allord, G.J., Walter, J.L., Fishburn, K.A., and Shea, G.A., 2014, Specification for the U.S. Geological Survey Historical Topographic Map Collection: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 6, chap. B11, 65 p.,

ISSN 2328-7705 (online)




Source Data




Product Development

References Cited


Useful Web Sites

Appendix A. Relational Database Structure for HTMC Metadata Fields

Appendix B. HTMC Metadata Glossary

Appendix C. HTMC Metadata Report Fields

Appendix D. Example CSV Downloadable Metadata File

Appendix E. FGDC Compliant Metadata Example

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: Friday, 02-Dec-2016 15:51:56 EST