National Geographic Quad View
October 13, 2016
Google Maps and other map tools each have their unique features, but some are better than others at helping you find your way. However, most of these online map tools have the same basic function and information. While they can help you if you are lost, they are not that useful for topography. National Geographic comes to our rescue with free topographic PDFs. Check them out at PDF Quads.
Here are the details straight from the famous nature magazine:
National Geographic has built an easy to use web interface that allows anyone to quickly find any quad in the country for downloading and printing. Each quad has been pre-processed to print on a standard home, letter size printer. These are the same quads that were printed by USGS for decades on giant bus-sized pressed but are now available in multi-page PDFs that can be printed just about anywhere. They are pre-packaged using the standard 7.5 minute, 1:24,000 base but with some twists.
How can there be twists in a topographic map? They are not really that surprising, just explanations about how the images are printed out. Page one is an overview map that, pages two through five are standard topographic maps sized to print on regular paper, and hill shading is added to provide the maps with more detail.
Everyone does not use topography maps, but a precise tool is invaluable to those who do.