Appendix A

How to Get a Topographic Map

The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Map Web site provides an easy way to obtain topographic maps for locations in the United States:

  1. Open the National Map Viewer Web site ( The “Layers” menu on the right side of the page allows you to customize the map to show particular features. The tools on the left side of the page allow you to control the scale and location of the map displayed in the center window.

  2. Use the “Find Place” tool to display a map for the area of interest:
  1. Click on the “Find Place” tool. A dialogue box opens that has several options for identifying the area to be displayed. You can zoom into a specified state and/or county, or to a particular address, or to a named feature (such as a mountain), or to a specific point whose latitude and longitude are known, or to an area (“Extent”) enclosed by specified north-south and east-west boundaries.  Once you have made your selection and clicked “Zoom” or “Submit Query,” the map window should re-draw to show the area you have selected.

  2. You can customize the map using the “Layers” menu: To get a topographic map, click the triangle next to “Topographic Maps,” and click in the box next to “USGS Raster Graphics (Topo Maps).” Click the “Refresh Map” button.

  3. Save your map by clicking on the “Print” tool, then clicking “Create Printable Map” in the “Print” dialog box. Click “View Printable Map.” Enter a file name when prompted, being sure to retain the “.pdf” suffix. Click “Save” to download the map file in Adobe pdf format. Open the file with Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, and print the map.


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