Instant Maps Online
TIGER (US Census Bureau)
USGS Maps & Mapping Data
For information on the following topics, see the seperate USGS page.
- Map types available
- Map costs (some are free)
- Online maps & mapping data available
- Numbering systems used by USGS
- Viewing & conversion programs
1:24K SDTS format 7½' x 7½'
"Quads" by state
1:100K SDTS format 30' x 60' by
1:100K Optional format 30' x 60' by state
Making Your Own Maps
If you're feeling really ambitious, and you're fairly comfortable with your PC, you can make your own maps using online mapping data from the USGS's DLG (Digital Line Graph) files. But be forewarned -- it's a lengthly process, and you'll need to learn a lot before you end up with a finished map.
By making your own maps, you are free to customize them to your desires. If you want "old" maps, you can use just the "water" & "contour" files. To that you could add the state & county boundry data, railroads, highways, even powerlines -- it's up to you.
The size and colors of your map will be limited by what you have for a plotter or printer. The rest depends mostly on how much effort you're willing to devote to making the map.
Note that the DLG files are "lines" only, and there's no text (names of places, streams, rivers, etc.) -- those you'll have to obtain seperately and either write in by hand or use a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program to insert.
For more on the "how-to's" of making your own map, see the details on the "home brew" page.
Hard To Find Places
Places That No Longer Exist
If you need to locate a hard-to-find place, or one that you suspect may no longer exist, first
query the GNIS database (Geographic Names Information System). If you don't find it there, then you can write to:
U.S. Board of Geographic Names
523 National Center
Reston, Va. 22092