USGS Topographic Map Overlay

This overlay contains seamless topographic/land cover data for the entire Earth and a USGS Topographic Map overlay for the entire US, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Different map scales automatically load as you zoom in with the most detailed maps being available for the US.  Hill shading has been added to the maps giving them a 3D appearance.

USGS Topographic Maps

Download With Google Earth

Credits

ESRI ArcGIS Online Services

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26 comments to USGS Topographic Map Overlay

  • Andrew Morang

    Amazing tool! This is incredibly useful for research on topography, morphological changes, urban changes, etc. The quality of the map georeferencing is excellent. Note: sometimes you have to press “Refresh” to get the map overlay to regenerate.

  • Anonymous

    @Andrew Morang
    These are the same maps/data as the topo.com series from NGS. They did do a decent job of georeferencing them.

  • Ben

    The maps are very nice, but they keep disappearing every time I click on something. Anytime I click on something under “layers” or “places”, the topo maps just totally vanish. The only way I can find to get them back is to either click on the Nat Geo Topo thing under places or hit refresh. Both of those cause Google Earth to zoom all the way out, causing me to lose my place and I have to start over again. When I’m clicking to zoom in, it’s very hard to not click on some of the icons, which causes a window to open up, and the topo maps to disappear. Is there anyway I can get the maps back without starting over?

  • Jon

    I’m sure it’s a great tool indeed, just one problem: it doesn’t work. I installed this addition to google maps, then double clicked on the National Geographic Topo listed under temporary places, making sure it was checked so Google Maps would -in theory- display it. The result was that Google Maps zoomed all the way out, but when I zoomed back in again there were was no topographical overlay, just an array of “DG” icons with dates next to them which, when clicked on, do absolutely nothing. No topographical data ever appears, no matter where I click or how long I wait. It just doesn’t seem to do anything. Perhaps some further instructions should have been included with this post.

  • Ben

    Updated Google Earth. Problem solved.

  • Brian

    I can’t get it to work either. But I don’t use Google Earth a whole lot so I really have no idea how to use the kmz file that downloads. A little bit of instruction would go a long way. I double click the kmz file and google earth launches and it is listed in the Temp Places, but like the person above, clicking it does nothing but zoom out. And nothing is displayed. Not one topo line. No blue grid. Nothing. Very frustrating. No Help file or instructions on the page and no way to contact the person who created it. Sucks.

    • topomatt

      Click on the “Download with Google Earth” button. Then you should see “USGS Topographic Maps” listed under Temporary Places. Check the box next to “USGS Topographic Maps” to turn on the index showing the outlines of each map. Click on the area you are interested in, which will pop up a balloon with a big “View Map” button. Click on that and wait a few seconds and map should appear.

      If this doesn’t work, make sure you have current version of Google Earth. If it still doesn’t work, there’s probably not much else I can do as I don’t have the resources to provide individual tech support.

  • ema

    I love this tool, it is very useful. In the Information section under the Temporary Places the pop-up says that for advanced users there are ways to download the maps to your hard drive. I was hoping to print a copy of the topo to draw on to help me with my work, is there a way to either save it so I can print it or to print it from Google Earth? Thanks!

    • topomatt

      I love this tool, it is very useful. In the Information section under the Temporary Places the pop-up says that for advanced users there are ways to download the maps to your hard drive. I was hoping to print a copy of the topo to draw on to help me with my work, is there a way to either save it so I can print it or to print it from Google Earth? Thanks!

      If you want to download and print a topo map, you are probably better off getting it in a different format. You can download PDFs of the maps from the USGS at no charge.

  • van

    i get the blue boxes but get a balloon that says

    TX
    o30095d2
    7.5 x 7.5
    DRG

    I click the balloon and the message goes to another page and says

    ops!

    The link that sent you here appears to be broken. It may be formatted incorrectly.

    Google Earth will try again using legacy mode. If the page does not automatically load after a few seconds, please click the link below. Learn more »

    http://www.topomaparchive.com/maps/Topos_Current/30095/o30095d2.kmz

    when I click the link , it just goes back to the original map

    I have checked for updates and none are available

    FYI I am using firefox

    any ideas?

    thanks

    Van

    • topomatt

      The link that sent you here appears to be broken. It may be formatted incorrectly.

      Google Earth will try again using legacy mode. If the page does not automatically load after a few seconds, please click the link below. Learn more »

      http://www.topomaparchive.com/maps/Topos_Current/30095/o30095d2.kmz

      when I click the link , it just goes back to the original map

      Click on the link, which will take you back to the original map. After a minute or two (depending on your internet connection speed) the topo map should load. It won’t look like anything is happening, but it’s downloading the map. Just be patient.

  • van

    so do you get the same error message as I do about a broken link?
    I have waited ten mins or more and still cannot get the USGS overlay map on google earth.

    regards

  • James

    I would love to put this on a tool on my website using the google earth api, but I cant get it to work. Have you tried it in the google earth api and can you get it to work?

  • Jim

    Does one really need the topo overlay with google earth? The google earth edition that I have displays the elevation and lat/lon coordinates of any point of interest on earth.

    • topomatt

      .I get about 200 people a day searching for the Topo Maps, so there must be some interest. USGS topo maps provide a lot more information than just elevation and lat/lon. For example, they display elevation contours, locations of structures, etc

  • Allison

    Has something gone wring with the topo map layer? Yesterday, it worked just fine; today however, if I click on a map I’m getting the “URL not found” error. I saw the note from January 2010 about going into the General tab in Options and unchecking the “Show web results in external browser” box, but that hasn’t changed anything. I used the topo layer yesterday with no problems.

    Could it an issue with using an older version of Google Earth? I had to go back to the older version some time ago because the topos didn’t work on the upgraded version (this was early 2010)–if they now work with newer versions of Google Earth, though, I’ll happily upgrade. I really need my topos, please.

  • Allison

    Sorry–I should mention that the version of GE I’m using is 5.1.3533.1731, because that was the last cversion that (to my knowledge) was compatible with the topo map layer. The next upgrade after this version didn’t work with the topos, ro I reverted to this version. I’ve been afraid to try the mosre recent versions since then, because my installer file for this older version has been lost.

  • Melissa

    I am having the same trouble as Allison, using version 5.2.1.1588. I tried to upgrade to a newer version of GE (per your 10/7 post), but the latest versions do not support a Mac OS X 10.4 operating system. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Melissa, did you try downloading the main KML file again? It should work with Google Earth 5 also, but some of the links have changed so you will probably need to update the KML file.

    • Melissa

      Hi, thanks for responding. Yes, I did reload the main KML file again. No such luck. When the balloon message for the quad comes up I click on the place where “view map” used to be displayed. It takes me to a webpage that reads “The requested URL is not found on this server”. Please help. I NEED my topos. Thanks so much!!!

  • Dana hammer

    This is amazing, however I and dense when it comes to this stuff. When switching back and forth from google earth and the topo overlay I noticed that or it seems that the topo map is from the past showing structures and towns that are no longer standing. Can you tell me what year I am looking at? Thank you!

    Most of the map data is from the late 1970s through about 1990.

  • Bill

    So does this let you show the UTM lines and numbers? I only see the topo, which is great but I already have that. I am looking for something that I can print that will actually show me the grid too.

    Try here for UTM grid line overlay
    http://www.gelib.com/worldwide-utm-grid.htm

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