Today, Dec 3, USGS celebrates 125 Years of Topographic Mapping. You may have seen or heard about an exhibit by that name at this year’s ESRI User Conference (press release). The actual party occurs from 1-3 EST today in Reston.
Besides the “looking back” there are announcements of new products (press release). The long awaited digital topo program, initially launched in beta in June as “Digital Maps–Beta” (APB coverage), is now called simply US Topo. The big difference is that the US Topos include the hydro and contour layers. These join the previously delivered layers available in the beta maps: NAIP imagery layers, Census transportation layers, geographic names, and collar info.
US Topo maps in the USGS store now number more than 748; they are all in Kansas, the first US Topo state. They join the 14,116 “Digital Maps–Beta” maps from 17 states (without hydro/contour, though in time the “betas” will be replaced with US Topo versions). Both the betas and the US Topos are now available from the USGS Store for free download in GeoPDF format. Detailed coverage and planned production details are available on the status page.
The navigation to the map you want continues to be a rather clumsy Google Maps implementation. I do appreciate a “show US Topo and Digital Maps - Beta” button which allows visitors to quickly determine which form is available for which areas. After zooming in to an area of interest, you place a marker within the area of interest. Then you click on the marker to learn which maps are available that cover the area (including name, data, coverage[7.5x7.5, 1x2, 30x60] and file size). I downloaded a US Topo of Beeler Kansas (17 Mb). It looked fine in Apple’s Preview but I could not manipulate layers without the extra GeoPDF tools from TerraGo. So, I went to find out if those are yet available for Macs. (Short answer: no.)
Long answer: The USGS points visitors to download additional tools aka TerraGo Desktop, from TerraGo. That software was previously known as the GeoPDF Toolbar. Per TerraGo: “this free solution enables users to view, manipulate and update maps and images within an Adobe Reader environment. Users can measure length and area, change coordinate displays, search for attributes and view layers.”
Perhaps what I need is the TerraGo Toolbar. USGS has an “ad” for that on the “locator” map page. That’s similarly “advertised” on the TerraGo solutions page as a free download. That link leads me to a form into which I am asked for name and e-mail (Why? So TerraGo can contact me? So the USGS can contact me? I’d really like to know!) where I can download, that’s right, TerraGo Desktop - which is Windows only.
I do hope USGS and TerraGo decide on the final name of this Windows-only “toolbar” and make it easier to find and download.