January 18, 2022

Digitized Maps: California: More than 13,000 Online Maps Provide Historic View of State

From a California Watch Article:

This week, the U.S. Geological Survey added 13,688 historical California topographic maps to its online archive [free], hundreds of which date back to the 1800s. From the Gold Rush town of Downieville in the Sierras to El Cajon in the hills above San Diego Bay, the maps provide a picture of California from before the 20th century through the past decade.


There are more than 3,000 places in California covered by the maps in the archive, with 28 maps of Truckee dating from 1891 through 2000. Situated east of Donner Pass along the Truckee River, the town of Truckee was along the Central Pacific Railroad line in 1891. The 2000 map focuses mostly on the town but still shows the location of the saw mill that appears on the map made more than a century earlier.

“These maps harken back to California’s past, when its awesome topography could make a simple trip for staples a daylong journey in a horse-drawn buckboard,” USGS Director Marcia McNutt said in the announcement. “The uses of these maps for scientists, historians, educators and even by those who simply want to be reminded of a time when life moved a little slower are limited only by our imagination.”

Read the Complete Article

Direct to  USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection

See Also: USGS News Release + Order Info

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.