• New Old USGS Maps

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by rmutter
Call this a blast from the past.

Some of you may remember that, fifteen years or so ago, I made available several hundred old U. S. Geological Survey maps pieced together from scans stored on the University of New Hampshire's library website. I posted several notes about the maps on railroad.net back then, and there was some interest in them.

Fast forward to 2020. By then, I had discovered the USGS TopoView website. The USGS did a good thing by creating the website. But alas, they waited too long; a lot of their maps have deteriorated to near illegibility. The older they are, the more likely it is that they're torn, stained, or faded.

By last August, I was just about terminally bored, thanks to the COVID-19 crisis. I decided that attempting to clean up and enhance some of the TopoView map images would be a useful way to fill some idle time.

The result, about a thousand maps, may be found at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... 1cOym7-g2 . The area of coverage is about the same as it was fiteen years ago: ten northeastern states. (Actually, it's about nine and a half. Maine is incomplete.) Each of those states has its own directory. A few dozen other maps representing other areas are also available. All but a handful are 1:62500 scale, with publication dates ranging from 1885 to about 1940. You can study them on the website, or download them if it's more convenient.
  by artman
One resource I use a lot to track down old railbeds is the USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer at:

You select the place you want to view and pick a location on the map. The Explorer then shows all topo maps that exist for that location. Once you select one, it overlays over the current map. You can adjust the transparency of the overlays to clearly see what was and what is. i love this tool
  by neman2
Great resource, thank you!