USGS Historical Maps Go Digital


USGS offers free digital downloads of its legacy topographic map series, which includes all scales and all editions originally published for the entire continental United States.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has publicly released more than 161,000 digitally scanned historical maps spanning more than 130 years and covering the coterminous lower 48 states.

These chronological historical maps are an important national resource, as they provide the long-term record and documentation of the natural, physical and cultural landscape. The history documented by this collection and the analysis of distribution and spatial patterns is invaluable throughout many disciplines. Genealogists, historians, anthropologists, archeologists and others can use the collection for research as well as a framework on which a variety of information can be presented in relation to the national landscape.

“Just as parents might keep a photo album to record their children as they grew, these historical maps are the cartographer’s physical quantification of how the land changed as the nation grew over the last 130 years,” explains USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “This historical collection contains immense scientific value as we shaped the land that shaped us.”

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