Message #339:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Urgent Need for Partnerships to Produce USGS Topographic Maps on CD
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 96 09:59:00 MST
Encoding: 76 TEXT

[ originally posted to: HISTARCH@ASUVM.INRE.ASU.EDU -- The production of 
these CDs for the entire SW should be the highest priority for 
archaeological organizations and institutions.  This will only come about if 
partnerships are formed with the USGS (as noted in the message below), so 
SWA recommends this issue be placed on the agenda of state archaeological 
councils and other organizations -- SASIG Ed. ]

From: Mike Polk

I (Mike Polk) am finally getting back to the list about the results of our 
search for downloadable and/or disk copy USGS Maps that are available.

One of my staff members, Tim King, pursued this issue for us and here are 
his results:

In CRM, USGS Topographic maps are as indispensable as soft-money is to 
politicians.  If you have ever worked on a project covering a wide area, you 
know the expense involved in purchasing multiple copies of these maps.  The 
recent increase in price of these maps, from $2.00 to $5.00 in some cases, 
has created a need for a less expensive means of obtaining these vital 
documents.  The more sophisticated manipulation of graphic data has also 
created a need for digital USGS map information.  Recently, Sagebrush 
Consultants discovered an alternative to purchasing these necessary, yet 
expensive items.

The USGS is in the process of converting the country's topographic  maps 
into Digital Raster Images (DRG's).  Once converted these maps are encoded 
onto CD-ROM's.  Each CD holds 64 7.5 minute maps, two 1:100,000 scale maps, 
and one 1:250,000 scale maps covering one degree latitude by one degree 
longitude. They are available from the USGS for $32.00 a piece. It should be 
noted that these maps are not vector images and cannot be manipulated 
effectively within CAD or GIS applications.

These maps can be manipulated in programs such as Corel Draw, Adobe 
Photoshop and other desktop publishing programs.  In these programs, one can 
add relevant data such as project area limitations, site locations, and 
north arrows.  Small sections can be enlarged and printed in full color to 
aid in field work.  We have all experienced the disappearing forest, or the 
ever-present smudge that looks just like a hot spring on a Xerox copy. 
 Instead of taking original hard copies into the field, one would only need 
to reprint the area they needed.

I recently spoke to Chuck Peterson of the USGS to find out what areas were 
available on CD.  Unfortunately for those of us out West only a minimal 
number of areas have been converted to CD.  As for you east coasters there 
are quite a few areas already covered.  The states that are completely 
covered are Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusettes. Florida and 
Kentucky have 6 CD's each with Georgia having only 3 CD's. In the West, 
western Colorado and  western North Dakota are covered, California has six, 
Nevada-4, Oklahoma-3 and New Mexico-1.  When asked why certain areas have a 
greater amount of areas covered, Mr. Peterson stated that partnerships are 
formed between government agencies to get certain areas done before others. 
 No private industry is involved, though areas with a large amount of 
development seem to have a higher percentage of CD coverage.  Since CRM 
deals with governmental agencies there may be a possibility of having state 
SHPO's combine any excess funds at the end of the year to be ear-marked for 
the converting of more areas onto CD's.

Before you get your hopes up,  Chuck told me that a problem has been found 
in the CD's which has caused a moratorium on their sale until the problem is 
fixed.  He said that should take a month or so.  If you are interested, the 
USGS has a site on the web at from which you can obtain 
a list of the individual addresses for your specific needs.  By the way, all 
1:100,000 and 1:250,000 USGS maps for the United States are free to download 
from the USGS web page.  The maps are listed by state and map title and 
download software is available in the same location as the maps.  First go 
to  then click on MAPPING, then click on ONLINE DATA. 
That takes you to the FTP files where you can download various types of 

Timothy E. King
Assistant Archaeologist
Sagebrush Consultants, L.L.C.