Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Explore a Century of Your Land's Use with a New USGS Mapping Site

Step back through the ages on your forest, online, for free. The full catalog of USGS topographic surveys is now on one web site and searchable by city.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), with the help of ESRI, has launched a Historical Topographic Map Explorer, allowing cartography lovers and land owners to easily pore through the agency's expansive collection.

The new interactive tool gives users access to more than 178,000 of the USGS's maps dating back to 1884, and makes them easily searchable by nearest city.

USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer image

Unlike USGS topographic maps produced this century, older generation maps are considered more accurate because they're based on land surveys, field checks and, in the latter 20th century, 
aerial photos. Historical maps show old road locations, homesteads, fire lookouts, mills and cultural sites that are long gone. However the scale of older maps generally is smaller and offers less detail than today's quad mapping software.

This article in The Atlantic describes the new mapping site.

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