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Finding Maps

Return to Ronald Rettner Earth & Planetary Sciences Library

Printed maps in the EPSc Library are for library use only and are mostly housed in map cases. Various types of maps are available; most of our maps are published by the government and issued to libraries as a part of the Depository Library Program. They are issued by the United States Geological Survey and you can consult the USGS National Mapping Information to learn more. A brief listing of some of the more common types of maps found in the library is given below; please remember that maps are for library use only.

Topographic maps are the most common type of map; they show topography and relief of a particular area of land. These maps normally cover a single 7.5' by 7.5' quadrangle (scale of 1:24,000), but 7.5' by 15' (1:25,000), 15' quadrangle (1:62,500), and selected county maps are also available. Note: most but not all of the conterminous United States is covered by 7.5' quad maps; in some cases coverage is provided only by 15' quadrangles. USGS catalogs are available to determine what types of map coverage are available for what localities. Please consult a librarian if you have any questions.

The library houses a complete collection of topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey. Maps published by the government after 1976 are listed in the online catalog.

Topographic-bathymetric maps are available for certain quadrangles that include lake or ocean coastline; in addition to showing elevation contours and terrain features on land, these maps show depth contours of water-covered areas.

Base maps provide information only about political boundaries and major physical and cultural features.

Geologic maps depict the various geologic provinces and stratigraphic facies on an area; these maps usually show either countries or individual states.

Other kinds of maps are also available: base maps from the Defense Mapping Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, city and state road map series from Rand McNally, orthophotoquad and satellite image maps, and a wide variety of maps and atlases showing information on mineral resources, water resources, land use, and demographics. Please ask for assistance in finding a map.