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**Reference Desk Hours**
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Topographic maps show the physical geography of an area, often including elevation of the terrain and depth of water. These maps can also include elements of the built environment. They are often published as map sets or series consisting of many individual sheets. Topographic map sets form the core of the map collection in the Earth Sciences & Map Library, covering every country in various scales, time periods, and languages. Our collections of USGS topographic quadrangles and U.S. Army Map Service (AMS) series are particularly strong.
Search & find USGS topographic maps
USGS topographic quadrangles (“7.5 and 15 minute topo quads”) are filed alphabetically by quad name within each state in three sections of the map collection: California topos, Eastern U.S. topos, and Western U.S. topos.
To identify the quad name for your location of interest, you can use the following resources:
To see what years we have for a particular quad, use the More Searches option in OskiCat to search LC Call Number for G3700 svar .U6 [XX] [Quad Name], where XX is the two-letter state code (e.g., G3700 svar .U6 CA Oakland West).
USGS Map Locator: Use this geographic search to find recent editions of topo quads and other maps. The next generation of topo quads (US Topo), for 2009 and later editions, are only available online. Historical topo quads are also being scanned and made available over time.
Search & find international topographic maps
OskiCat: use the Advanced Keyword Search to search for subject keywords [country topographic maps] (e.g., Poland topographic maps). Topographic map sets can be particularly helpful when you cannot find an individual sheet map for a city or area of interest at the desired scale. When viewing the OskiCat record for a topographic map set:
You may also find country coverage in various world map sets such as International map of the world 1:1,000,000, Joint operations graphic 1:250,000, Karta mira 1:2,500,000 (at NRLF), and GSGS World map 1:500,000 (at NRLF).
More topographic map resources