Topo maps are now available on the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) website for free! Topo maps are detailed topographical maps of an area that show the contours of the terrain. These maps also include roads, waterways, territory boundaries, and much more. The topo maps available are a fantastic resource for anyone that wants to go out into the great outdoors. Everyone that heads out into the wilderness should have topo maps of where they are going to be and the surrounding areas.
These maps are available in different sizes and quality but most are 7.5 minute degree quadrangles. This offers a high amount of detail which is important when using topo maps.
How To Download Free Topo Maps
- Visit the USGS store.
- Go to the Map Downloader tool.
- Find the area you want on the map. Use search or scroll to where you want on the map.
- Place a marker at the location you would like a map of by clicking the location.
- Select one of the map options for the area that pops up.
- Download the topo map in PDF format from your cart.
These topo maps are great as they are divided into multiple layers . These layers can be independently turned on and off so you can see exactly what you want with these topo maps. This is very useful when you want to narrow down the topo map to just the features you are interested in.
Navigating with a topo map and compass is fun and a great skill to have. However, with today’s technology a good GPS device can make navigation even easier.
Make sure that you print off any topo maps for the areas you will be camping in. This way you can be sure to have a hard copy of the topo map in case of an emergency. You may want to even take the extra step to have them laminated as well. Especially if you print off a nice quality topo map of a camping location that you frequent. Then just keep it with your camping gear so you will always have the topo map handy when needed.