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Geog 160 - Urban Geography

USGS Topographic Maps

USGS Topographic maps show elevation (contour lines), hydrography, geographic place names, and a variety of cultural features.
Current-generation topographic maps are created from digital GIS databases, and are branded "US Topo."
Historic maps originally published as paper documents in the period 1884-2006 are available as scanned images.

Historical USGS 1:31,680 Topos of California in the Library's Digitized Collections
Digitized from the Library's map collection.
Find specific locations using a map-based search via our Map & Aerial Locator Tool, or names of needed map sheets on this index map

USGS Historical Topo Maps
   •  USGS Store: Map Locator
      Locate, view, download (free), or purchase historical and current
      maps through a place name and map-based search

   •  TopoVIew USGS
      Maps "... from the USGS’s US Topo series and earlier Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC).
      Offers a selection of download formats.

United States Historical Topographic Maps (1881-1945).  Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas at Austin
     ♦  California historical topo maps (USGS)
         Pre-1945 maps, scales 1:24,000, 1:31,680, 1:62,500, 1:125,000 and special sheets at other scales
     ♦  Links to US topographic maps on other web sites

The Map Collection has historical quadrangles for California.
Ask for them by name of the quad (e.g., Fresno North)
Scales include 1:24,000, 1:62,500, 1:31,680, 1:125,000 and 1:250,000.

How do I find name of the quadrangle I need?
Index maps show the arrangement, names, and area of coverage of individual maps (quadrangles) within a set.

Index Maps to California Topos (we also have these index maps at the Maps desk.)

   ♦  Index Map to 1:31,680 scale maps sheets

   ♦  Index Maps to 1:24,000, 1:250,000 and 100,000 metric scales:
      (right click to open the image in a new tab, then zoom to find the sheet name,)

    California north half

California south half
Calif topo index map south half                                                                                         

Search Domestic names via the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
Search for a place or feature name and display the full record to get a list of USGS 7.5-minute quads on which the feature is shown.

Topographic map symbols. USGS
4-page pdf.

USGS Topographic Map Symbols
Gif images of an older 2-page USGS pamphlet.

We also have keys to topo map symbols at the Maps Desk