May 28, 2022

The Last Piece of the Puzzle: USGS Historical Maps

A brief look at USGS Historical Maps and info about how to access them online (free).

From the Article:

For almost 130 years the USGS topographic mapping program has accurately depicted the complex geography of our Nation.  Physical and cultural features change over time.  Maps are updated and new editions are printed.  For decades most of these rare old maps were long since forgotten and out of circulation.

No single complete set of the almost 180,000 USGS topographic maps even existed.  Only those researchers with access to the USGS Topographic Map Archive located in Reston, Va., had an opportunity to take a glimpse at these time capsules of cartographic information.


So far over 155,000 maps have been scanned with only a handful of states remaining.  The status graphic, a visual representation of what maps have been uploaded, is updated frequently. Additional historical documents supporting early topographic mapping will be added to the collection down the road.

Read the Complete Article

Visit the USGS Map Store to Access Historical Maps

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.