The United States Geological Survey provides map making, topographical, and general cartographic support to the U.S. Government. It’s been around for 125 years, and is the only scientific agency in the U.S. Department of the Interior. Here’s the “What We Do” from their website:
As the Nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers.
USGS maps are a fascinating and highly useful resource for those who can get them–and that access just got a whole lot easier.
I came across this fascinating tool via Catholicgauze this afternoon: USGS has made a map generator tool available for free on their website. The USGS Map Locator and Downloader uses a Google Maps interface to allow users to find a specific location, and then automatically generate USGS maps of that location. Users can produce USGS topographical maps of their locations in high-quality GeoPDF format.
I’ve added the Map Locator and Generator to the “Map Links” section of this site. This really is a spectacular tool for people looking for accurate, good-quality, official maps.