Mapping history buffs take note! Over 178,000 historical topographic maps of the US are now available to the public, at no expense, with a new open source map interface being released by the U.S. Geological Survey this week. Through the new TopoView interface, users can access historical topo maps from as early as 1884, when the nation’s topographic mapping program began, to as late as 2006. Previously, these maps were available only as GeoPDFs available through The National Map and USGS Store, but now, through TopoView, you can view and download the maps in GeoTiff, JPEG and KMZ format. The maps should be a boon to map and history buffs, as the natural and cultural features on the maps are labeled with the names by which they were known in the period that the map was drawn.
The TopoView interface was created by the National Geologic Map Database project in support of the topographic mapping program by the National Geospatial program. A full tutorial on using the interface is available online. The most current maps of the U.S. are still available from The National Map.