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US Topo

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Narrator:  Our greatest resource to understanding our geography has always been maps. Sprawling urban areas, growing infrastructure, and changing shorelines drive the need for up to date maps and geographic data.

Michael Cooley:  Topographic maps have been used by outdoor enthusiasts, land planners, land managers, emergency response  they've used these maps and depending on them for decades.

Narrator:  Today, the U.S. Topo a product of the National Map brings a new way of looking at maps.

Major William Schouviller:  For me the US Topo is different from the commercially available maps and their viewers through this precision.

Dr. Cynthia Brewer:  US Topo is trusted, the content is the primary source of publicly available geographic data.

Man 3:  US Topo can be provided in a digital format or it can be used as a hard copy.

Michael:  The U.S. Geological Survey has a long history of topographic mapping.

Narrator:  From 1947 to 1992 the USGS created over 55,000 seven point five minute quadrangle maps for the lower United States and periodically revised them.

Michael:  The National Geospatial program is responsible for mapping the nation. Mapping our nation is a very laborintensive process. USGS is embracing new technologies to continue our high standards of quality while improving efficiencies and lowering cost.

Narrator:  We have seamlessly combined a traditional look and feel with new features to provide greater value to the user.

Cynthia:  The use of imagery adds a new dimension to map reading and interpretation, it lets you bring in the layer with up to date conditions so that you can superimpose or interleave with existing data and understand changes in the landscape. Imagery introduces unique map design issues  multiscale, onscreen. It's quite different than designing for a printed map. At Penn State University, students and researchers are doing some groundbreaking work with USGS to make the very best cartographic designs for US Topo.

William:  US Marine Corp is an integral part of the Homeland Defense and First Responder community. In our opinion, it's critical that the US Topo be updated every three years to provide that base map for response to natural and manmade disasters. The ability to download maps to our laptop computers and handheld devices allows us to deploy in a matter of hours as opposed to days. This helps save lives of both the victims as well as the first responders.

Charles Dull:  US Forest Service and USGS have been working together dating back to the 1920s when we first began producing topographic maps of our nation's national forest and grasslands. Today, we're working together to produce US Topo, a product that covers 193 million acres of national forest and grasslands. The US Forest Service collects the information on Forest Service roads, boundaries, geographic names, elevation. We provide that information to the USGS and they produce the US Topo.

Michael:  We do customer surveys of key mapping communities. This feedback and ongoing communication with our users guides us to improving the US Topo.

Cynthia:  The look of US Topo is like the traditional paper USGS maps. I think that's really going to improve over time as new features are added and the design is refined.

William:  The idea that every feature and attribute has a precise location to it so that I can find that feature on the ground later is very important. We use the national grid system. It's a locational based system we used in the US Topo to allow the first responder to find locations when the standard locational data such as street signs or landmarks are missing.

Charles:  It's a great example of our two agencies working together to meet our missions for service to protect and manage the nation's national resources and the USGS and their production of the National Map.

Laurie Jasso:  Via the USGS store or National Map viewer, tens of thousands of US Topo maps per year are downloaded for free by users. Once downloaded, these high quality maps can be printed to scale.

Narrator:  Our vision does not end there. Taking maps into the digital realm is an evolution.

Michael:  We continually assess and look at data for Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Territories. As US Topo evolves, we will be updating and adding new features.

Narrator:  The potential of these maps is far reaching. The incorporation of additional data layers offers exciting new possibilities to explore and understand changes in our landscape.

Michael:  We understand the importance of a robust map and we're incorporating additional data layers from the National Map.

William:  As we start adding specific features and specific buildings in, such as police stations and hospitals, schools  it will be a critical tool for that first responder.

Cynthia:  US Topo is the first step in an electronic national topographic map for the future. The National Map data that are used to build the US Topo maps are available for public download and that's a powerful benefit.

Narrator:  Visit to see how you can partner with us for the future. [music]



Title: US Topo


US Topo is the next generation of topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Arranged in the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle format, digital US Topo maps are designed to look and feel (and perform) like the traditional paper topographic maps for which the USGS is so well known. In contrast to paper-based maps, US Topo maps provide modern technical advantages that support faster, wider public distribution and enable basic, on-screen geographic analysis for all users.

US Topo maps are available free on the Web. Each map quadrangle is constructed in GeoPDF® format from key layers of geographic data (orthoimagery, roads, geographic names, topographic contours, and hydrographic features) found in The National Map.

US Topo quadrangles can be printed from personal computers or plotters as complete, full-sized, maps or in customized sections, in a user-desired specific format. Paper copies of the maps can also be purchased from the USGS Store ( Download links and a users guide are featured on the US Topo Web site.

US Topo users can turn geographic data layers on and off as needed; they can zoom in and out to highlight specific features or see a broader area. File size for each digital 7.5-minute quadrangle, about 15-20 megabytes, is suitable for most users. Associated electronic tools for geographic analysis are available free for download.

Location: USA

Date Taken: 3/1/2012

Length: 5:52

Video Producer: James Maxwell , U.S. Geological Survey

Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.

Additional Video Credits:

Flip Flop Productions

File Details:

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Tags: GeoPDF NGP TNM TheNationalMap TheNextGenerationOfTopographicMaps TopoMaps USGS


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