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Topographic Maps From The U.S. Geological Survey: Historical Maps

Find and use topographic maps from the USGS

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center - Hours

See the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center gallery hours, special hours, and research hours on their website.

Remote Reference and Research Services:

The National Geologic Map Database

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Finding and Downloading Historical USGS Topographic Maps

Historical topographic maps have been published by the USGS since 1884 in varying scales.  Most of these maps can now be found online courtesy of the USGS through topoView, where map images can be downloaded and viewed, and the Historical Topographic Map Explorer, where maps can be downloaded and overlaid to male easy visual comparisons.


The USGS's topoView allows you to find and download historical maps, as well as .KML files to be overlaid in Google Earth.  When searching for maps you have the options to filter your results by scale using the scale menu or by date using the time slider.  


Overlaying Maps with the USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer

  1. Type in a location within the United States or move the map with your mouse to find an area of interest. 
  2. Click on a map to indicate a point of interest.  A timeline of maps will appear, each color-coded to represent a certain scale.
  3. Select maps to compare/overlay. Different scales will include different levels of detail.  To compare similar details it is advantageous to use maps with similar scales.
  4. Once you have selected maps, they will appear in the layer panel on the left side of the screen (you must be zoomed in to see them). Change the transparency of the top layer to see the layer below.