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Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
FREE 24K USGS MAPS!! FULL QUALITY on 06/12/2006 21:08:27 MDT Print View

So I found that the 24K USGS maps are available free online. Not through services like TopoZone, etc. but you can download the full scan like you would get through NG Topo! Each state that I have looked for has a website that makes the original USGS scans available. Here are a few states a found with a quick search:

New York

West Virginia


Googling "24K DRG <state name here>" where <state name here> is the name of the state you are looking for seems to find the website on the first page. Ignore the commercial sites and look for sites with .EDU or .GOV extensions.

The files are the original USGS scans. DRG is the name they use for the scans. However, it is alot of data to download.


Edited by bobg on 06/12/2006 21:33:22 MDT.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: FREE 24K USGS MAPS!! FULL QUALITY on 06/12/2006 23:51:23 MDT Print View

>However, it is alot of data to download.

And a real pain in the rear to patch together. I've bought NG Topo! for the states in which I regularly hike because the other features (drawing routes, posting waypoints, etc.) are worth the money. Otherwise, any TerraServer client (or TerraServer itself) will give you 7.5' topo quads for the whole US, equivalent to what you can get from DeLorme's state products (some quads are out of date). Mac users might want to check out Terrabrowser: it can print TerraServer maps at varying resolutions. <>

Here are a few more states:


Washington & Oregon:





Some other resources:

US map sources:

USGS seamless maps:

National park maps:

The only public mapping resource I've found for Canada is Garmin's Canada MapSource.

Edited by Otter on 06/13/2006 12:47:26 MDT.

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
Re: FREE 24K USGS MAPS!! FULL QUALITY on 06/13/2006 08:47:26 MDT Print View


The Microsft TerraServer topo maps appear to be the 100k series, not the 24k series. Same thing on the USGS Seamless maps. The 100k don't really have enough detail for hiking. The download links above give you the 24k maps. Too bad TerraServer doesn't have the 24k maps.


Edited by bobg on 06/13/2006 09:34:09 MDT.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: FREE 24K USGS MAPS!! FULL QUALITY on 06/13/2006 09:46:29 MDT Print View

I've used this free USDA source for WA, ID, and MT, but it looks like it may cover the whole US. (haven't confirmed this.) I download the 24K maps, and use Oziexplorer
to print them off on National Geographic waterproof paper. I also use Oziexplorer to manage my GPS waypoints with the maps.

The learning curve on selecting, importing, and manipulating the data is kind of steep, and I'm sure there are "better" ways to do all this, but overall I've been happy with this setup -- you can't beat the free maps.



Edited by MikeMartin on 06/13/2006 09:50:25 MDT.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: FREE 24K USGS MAPS!! FULL QUALITY on 06/13/2006 10:49:53 MDT Print View

>The Microsft TerraServer topo maps appear to be the 100k series, not the 24k series.

You may have to zoom in more. I've compared both the USGS Seamless and TerraServer maps with my NG Topo! quads and they are exactly the same at the 1:24,000/7.5' scale. This URL will drop you into a 7.5' map of where I spent a blizzardy night in my hammock earlier this year while ski-packing.

On USGS Seamless, after you have zoomed in to 1:2,810,005 or closer, check the Orthoimagery:DRG Mosaicked Image box. It will switch to 1:24,000 when you zoom to the 1:21,953 scale. (I have no idea if those scales are used everywhere or if they depend on previous viewing, but they should be close.)

Edited by Otter on 06/13/2006 11:19:19 MDT.

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
Re: Re: FREE 24K USGS MAPS!! FULL QUALITY on 06/13/2006 11:36:24 MDT Print View

That did the trick. Thanks Doug. Too bad there isn't a program of the quality of Topo! that just uses one of the online data sources.

Joe Harwell
(Joe_H) - F
FREE USDA SOURCE on 07/15/2006 08:29:11 MDT Print View

Hey all,

I'm in Virginia and i've been attempting to find the maps on the USDA page. Thus far i've only been able to obtain a map index and a lot of really high quality aerial photos. I was wondering if the maps you pulled from that site are the 7.5 min quad sheets or something different.

Thanks in advance.


Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
Free Topo/Photo map software on 07/15/2006 10:42:04 MDT Print View

USAPhotomaps... I've been using it for 3 years.

The software is free.

It will download 24K series topos, as well as low, medium, and high res ortho overhead photos. It will also download sattelite radar elevation data.

It does route creation, interfaces with GPSs, and is loaded with features. Fast and easy to use versus online stuff.

Between USAPhotomaps and the National Geographic Trail maps, I never need to buy anything else. I can just print out what I need. (OK sometimes I still buy quads because I just love maps)

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
virginia quads website on 07/15/2006 17:56:37 MDT Print View

Here you go:

Joe Harwell
(Joe_H) - F
Thanks on 07/24/2006 05:24:26 MDT Print View

Thank you VERY much. That is exactly what i was looking for.

Your googling skills are clearly superior to mine.


Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Entire US Topo 24K Quads for FREE on 09/09/2006 11:38:36 MDT Print View

Check this out. Somebody bought the entire USGS quad database, which is for sale from USGS for $1600 and is in the public domain, and is putting it on-line for free downloading. Should be available soon.

28 states are already on-line from previous efforts, but the USGS database is a fresh copy that will make the entire US available. The nice thing is that it should also be maintained, assuming people donate a few $ to support that effort.

Edited by Otter on 09/09/2006 11:41:23 MDT.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Entire US Topo 24K Quads for FREE on 11/11/2006 18:26:47 MST Print View

The Libre Map Project: up-to-date 24K USGS DRG topo quads for the entire US. Searchable! Free, of course.

Aaron Wallace
(basilbop) - F
For Garmin Mapping GPS Units... on 11/12/2006 11:00:58 MST Print View

On a slightly different topic, if you have one of the fancy Garmin mapping GPS units and want better *topo* maps or more coverage than is available from Garmin, you can roll your own using free data and tools:

There are many pre-built maps at this site:

I still prefer printed maps with a well-waypointed, lightweight GPS unit (Geko/Foretrex), but it's getting to a point where you can have maps on your GPS unit that are comparable in detail to the USGS 24k quads--at least in terms of topography and hydrology. Too bad the screens are so small.

BTW, Garmin sells 1:24k maps for the National Parks--you can preview these on their website. If you need an area covered by these, the quality will probably be better than what will take hours for you to build on your own. Unfortunately, I don't understand why Garmin covers *only* the National Parks; why include Yosemite and Kings Canyon but not the Emigrant/Hoover/Ansel Adams/John Muir wilderness areas that surround them?