U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
February 25, 2000
USGS's Most Popular
Maps Now Available Online
engineers and other users of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geographic
data are now only a click away from accessing digital versions of
USGS topographic maps that are now available on the Microsoft TerraServer
Raster Graphics (DRG's) are colored topographic maps that have been
scanned into the computer. Like the USGS Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles
(DOQ) images, which are already available on TerraServer, DRG's
are seamlessly displayed to the user. Topographic maps use contour
lines to portray the shape and elevation of the land. They usually
show both natural features, including mountains, valleys, plains,
lakes, rivers, and vegetation, and constructed features such as
road, boundaries, transmission lines and major buildings. The USGS
currently has more than 57,000 topographic maps at the most popular
scales (1:24,000, 1:100,000 and 1:250,000) that cover the United
"We are very
pleased with the new capability of TerraServer," said Hedy Rossmeissl,
senior program advisor. "The TerraServer has been an outstanding
gateway to our mapping data. The flexibility of viewing images and
the many options for enhancing output will enable users to customize
the information to meet their needs."
As part of
a cooperative research and development agreement, the USGS and Microsoft
have combined their expertise and resources to provide the general
public with on-line access to aerial and map-like views of the earth.
The DRG's provide full coverage of the conterminous United States
and Hawaii. TerraServer visitors can download these aerial photos
and map images at no charge. These digital images are being used
by a wide variety of users, including the real estate industry,
students, engineers and individuals looking at their own town, house
or favorite vacation spot.
The USGS provided
technical assistance to Microsoft on processing the digital version
of the well-known USGS topographic quadrangles. Microsoft took the
USGS data and sectioned, re-sampled and compressed them, creating
millions of image tiles that can be served quickly on the Internet.
four ways to search for map and aerial imagery on TerraServer: searching
by specific place name, using TerraServer's "Advanced Find" search
feature, using the world coverage map or locating a place of interest
by using the list of Famous Places. In addition, TerraServer has
several new features for users, including new zoom levels, simpler
and faster loading of new data and enhanced information about each
image. Users are also able to link place names from the USGS Geographic
Names Information System (GNIS) (
http://mapping.usgs.gov/www/gnis/gnisform.html) to an image.
As the nation's
largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping
agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations
across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information
to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information
is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss
of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the
conservation and the sound economic and physical development of
the nation's natural resources, and to enhance the quality of life
by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.
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Survey, MS119 National Center, Reston, VA 20192, USA
Last Modification: 2-25-2000@2:11pm(KRW)