Posts Tagged ‘topographic’

TopoView Database of Historic USGS Topographic Maps Online

April 28, 2013 2 comments

Ever since those years I worked at the US Geological Survey, I have been hoping that the thousands of USGS historical topographic maps would someday be easily accessible for the geospatial data user.  These maps, representing an enormous investment in documenting the landscape at great detail, were compiled over nearly a 100 year period.  TopoView has just been launched that provides this type of service:

1962 Topographic Map at 1:24,000-scale of Grand Junction, Colorado

1962 Topographic Map at 1:24,000-scale of Grand Junction, Colorado, from the TopoView database.

TopoView is intended to serve the immediate need for the older printed topographic maps to become easily searched, viewed, and downloaded.  The approximately 163,000 maps at different scales including 1:24,000, 1:48,000, 1:63,360, 1:100,000, 1:250,000, and a few others, available through this interface were scanned by the USGS Historical Topographic Mapping Collection project.   They are provided in GeoPDF and in JPG formats.   Users can use the map index interface to access a chosen location, and then browse all of the maps, scales, and formats available for that location.

Currently, the interface is best for viewing and downloading one map at a time, and the Flash interface may hinder users working on the Mac platform.  This  index does not include all historical USGS maps.  I would like to see these maps in formats that are  easier for the GIS community to use.  I also would like to see all of these maps offered as a seamless service in ArcGIS Online.

Nevertheless, I recognize that this is only the first draft of this interface and it still represents a huge leap forward.  It is a wonderful resource for comparing past to present agricultural and urban land use changes, coastal processes, changes in glaciers, the movement of and channelization of rivers, and so much more.

EuroGlobalMap – a new pan-European open data set

March 11, 2013 Leave a comment

EuroGeographics, the membership organisation of the European cadastre, land registry and national mapping authorities, recently announced the release of EuroGlobalMap – a compilation of data provided by 45 European countries and territories. The 1 : 1 million topographic dataset will be available for free under the provisions outlined in a new open data license. The dataset includes administrative boundaries, name locations, transport networks, settlements, elevation, and the water network.


EuroGlobalMap Source: EuroGeographics

According to EuroGeographics’ President, Ingrid Vanden Berghe: “Our members are committed to ensuring that reliable, relevant and up-to-date geo-information is readily available and easily accessible“. Subject to registration, the data are available to download in geodatabase or shapefile format. The Open Data Licence permits end users to reproduce, adapt, distribute and commercially exploit EuroGlobalMap as long as the data source and copyright are acknowledged and appropriately represented. This follows similar licensing arrangements already adopted by other agencies, for example Ordnance Survey GB.