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USGS Free Maps

You can download digital versions of USGS 7.5-minute topographic maps for anywhere in the United States completely free at These are the same digital maps on which programs such as TOPO! are based. But there is one big difference...

The files containing the maps are very large files (on the order of 8 MB each). Once downloaded you have to find a way to print the part you are interested in. One option is to open the map file in Photoshop or similar program, and then cut and paste the part you want into a new file. Then print. The process is tedious and there is no simple way to deal with the need for creating maps that span multiple topographic maps.

In summary, this is a great service provided by the USGS. However, you are probably much better off purchasing a copy of TOPO! if you are using it often for a particular state. TOPO! allows you to create custom maps that span multiple topographic maps plus allows you to create routes, measure distances, build elevation profiles and obtain waypoints.

On the flip side, if you are on a tight budget or just need an occasional map for a state, the USGS website is a great way to obtain it for free.

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