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Topo Map Downloads

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Topo Map Downloads

Postby copeg » Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:47 pm

These days with electronic topo maps, GPS's, topo map software, etc...this sounds kind of archaic. But for those interested I found this nonprofit site the other day where you can download whole usgs topo maps. Just thought it was kinda cool
http://libremap.org/



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Postby Mike McGuire » Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:47 pm

I don't think it's ready for prime time. Tried the following

state: Alaska
feature name: Denali
feature type: summit
county: Denali

Couldn't find it.

Mike
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Postby copeg » Sat Apr 14, 2007 7:31 am

huh, oh well. It worked for the Sierra Nevada maps I looked up.
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Postby giantbrookie » Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:09 am

I suspect they have not completely set up their internal search such that you can find the map you want based on a feature. It is however nice to be able to obtain a full 7.5' quad--this is much more flexible than the free topozone, for example. It appears most efficient for now to know the quad name. Of course the site seems to imply that actual digital data is available, but I don't see this anywhere yet. All they have right now are scanned topos. Nonetheless, this is not a bad thing to have. What I wish is that somebody would do the same for the old 15' (out of print) series, which are still, to me, the best scale for many hikes.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Topo Map Downloads

Postby oldranger » Sat Apr 14, 2007 11:53 am

I agree with GB that 15 minute series are best (probably since I've been using them since about 1960) but this is a great resource! Thanks for sharing.
Mike
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Postby SSSdave » Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:49 am

Thanks trailblazer, this is something I've been wanting to get at ever since topozone first put maps on the web. Back then I communicated a bit with one of the software engineers that designed that product because their trail measurement tool produced erroneous results in mileage versus known values. That turned out to be un-fixable due to the way they were using the data source. My general experience with topozone tools were that they were somewhat awkward but understandable for the state of such tools of the day. I bought three of their California map CDs and generally used them by screen capturing with mwsnap, saving the result as a jpg, then viewing and moving around, or modifying the image with Photoshop. The topozone web site has improved quite a bit from its early days but many times I'd just as soon save a much larger size map than they offer, then view it with Photoshop. Then Microsoft had maps scanned and put on their terraserver site, but the scan quality often suffered and their tool was rather awkward to use online. Using either of those sites is problematic if one wishes to create maps larger than the small screen display sizes offered. In that case I have had to patch together maps in Photoshop with not all the lines exactly lining up. Since then there have been a number of other mainly commercial map services that have come online usually requiring downloading special software to use and a fee.

This libremap site is on the other hand simple. The map search function is not very flexible and its data source not always obvious as a target. I tried searching on Mount Darwin but could not get any hits. Darwin worked and I noted they changed it to "Darwin, Mount" while some other peaks and mountains are entered without the commas and switch. One way to use the search is to leave all the selects undefined except for the County field. By selecting Fresno County one gets a long list of all the data terms for locations on all maps under that county. From that list one can use <ctrl>f to search for terms that otherwise seem not to work. I downloaded the Mount Darwin 7.5 minute topo that was compressed down to 17 megabytes. The resulting image file was 10672 pixels high by 8315 pixels wide. Thats about the size of one of my large format drum scanned print files. The resolution is at least as good as I can get by scanning a section of a brand new USGS topo with my higher end flatbed scanner. But more useful because one doesn't need to patch together map areas as long as they are fully within a given topo. However for those that span across map boundaries, topozone can be easier to get at those images since they've already mated the edges. I wonder if they did a scan or got the data directly from USGS master scans because if one looks at the lakes, the blue is not pixelized for printing that one will see with a loupe on a USGS topo map but rather continuous tone. ...David
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CA Maps

Postby gdurkee » Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:31 pm

The California Spatial Information Library is also a good source. They've got 7.5, 15 & 30 minute maps all digitized and in trimmed (just the map itself) and untrimmed (an exact scan of a USGS quad). If you have a way to use it (e.g. ArcMap) you can get the accompanying world file for XY coordinates. I think their interface has gotten better, though I don't use it anymore (I go straight to their FTP site, but you've got to know the map id number, since they're not organized by quad name). But try these for California maps:

http://archive.casil.ucdavis.edu/casil/doc/ims.html

http://casil.ucdavis.edu/cgi-bin/gb/geofinder

If you know exactly what you need with less hassle, you can go here:

http://archive.casil.ucdavis.edu/casil/

Eric might chime in with a good source for the map id -- I think it's given in the metadata when you look up a map by quad.

George
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Postby dave54 » Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:10 pm

The problem with the full size topos is not too many of us have printers at home that handle that large a piece of paper. You can tile the printing and tape the pieces together, but that is a second rate solution. Or take the file to a commercial print shop and have them print it out (and charge you $$).

Since retiring and changing careers I don't have ready access to a large plotter. So I have to plead nicely to my former coworkers to sneak a print job for me.

The 1:63,500 maps (1" = 1 mile) of the 15 minute series fit on a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. I have the complete series for Lassen and Plumas NF's on a CD. They are .pdf files and print real clean and sharp on photo paper.
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Postby langenbacher » Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:20 pm

I love maps!
The Libre Map Project site is great - thanks for posting it.

As gdurkee mentiioned, the CASIL is a great resource, too - I like to to use the "mapsurfer" interface at http://casil.ucdavis.edu/mapsurfer/ which lets you zoom in on the place you want to get a map.

Both the above sites seem to have exactly the same 7.5' maps. The two problems I have with them is that they are huge files, and they are rotated about 1 degree, which makes it hard to cut and paste together corner pieces from adjacent maps. I take these maps and calculate the arctangent of the slope of one of the edges and rotate it so it's square, reduce the color depth to 16 colors and save them as PNG's - much smaller file, but a lot of work (a labor of love).

The US forest service puts out 7.5' quads of much greater quality that are not rotated. The resolution is slightly less, but given the limitations of most printers, it won't matter. Unfortunately, only quads that touch a national forest are available. See
http://svinetfc4.fs.fed.us/rastergateway/regions/r5/r5.html

I use a Canon i9100 printer to print 13" x 19" maps, which suffices for my 3 day weekend peak bagging trips.

I have downloaded and processed lots of these maps and posted 80 of them on my web site at http://langenbacher.org/Maps/ , for some of my favorite hiking areas.

And again, don't miss http://climber.org/data/SierraPeaks/AllRegions.html for really cool google earth and google maps links for all the Sierra peaks.
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Postby ERIC » Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:40 pm

Love these threads! Excelent resources. I use them all. But TOPO! is still my favorite.
You might also check this one out: http://seamless.usgs.gov/
You can export (or print to PDF) layers from any view you come up with.

I too have a copy of ArcMap (ArcGIS 9.2 + ArcPad on my Trimble GeoXH) as well as ERDAS IMAGINE, which I mainly use for imagery processing. Lots of great resources out there if you have access to such software. I do have access to a plotter at work - and yes, sure makes things nice and easy compared to print-mosaicing. However, FYI, B&W plotter prints (for large maps such as the 15' scale) are much less $ than color, and most of the important detail remains distinguishable. Just something to think about if you were inclined to go that route.
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Postby ERIC » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:45 pm

Thought you guys might like this one, too. From the designers at Google, something new! Gives you a topographic cross section of your custom hiking route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/
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Postby dave54 » Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:24 pm

Not topo maps, but Forest Service visitor maps are available on line.


http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/forestvisitormaps/index.php
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