Ask A Cartographer

Map services to provide USGS US Topo maps in ArcGIS

February 07 2011 | 2 comments

Are there available map services to provide US Topo maps as base layer? The USGS provides only GeoPDF downloads that need to be converted and we lose resolution of the data.

Mapping Center Answer:

You can do this one of two ways. In ArcGIS 10, when you click the Add Data button, you have two new options -- to Add a Basemap and to Add Data from ArcGIS Online.  One of the options selections when you choose to Add a Basemap is USA Topo Maps.  If you choose to Add Data from ArcGIS Online, then just type either "topo" or "USGS" into the search box and you will see a number of basemaps to select from.

US Topo posted by Kevin Nelstead on Sep 21 2011 2:46PM
"US Topo" is a different product than the standard 1:24,000 topographic quadrangles that the USGS has been producing for decades. The "Add a Basemap" option in ArcGIS 10 provides only the older USGS topo quads, not the newer US Topo quads.

The USGS has information about the US Topo program at
Good distinction posted by Aileen Buckley on Sep 22 2011 5:21PM
This is a good distinction to note, Ken!

If you would like to post a comment, please login.

Contact Us | Legal | Privacy |