In the last post, I said ordering topographical maps from the USGS can be tedious and expensive. This is still true. However, what I didn’t notice was that it is possible to download high-resolution 7.5 minute PDFs of every USGS map — and it’s free.

Reader SHot70 tipped me off to the Map Locator, an intuitive Google Map mashup that lets you zoom into whatever area you’re looking for, then find what maps are available to you for download or purchase. You can download the maps as PDFs, and if you have a PC, you can download a free copy of the GeoPDF toolbar, which will let you markup the maps with GPS tracks and notes, and let you export the file as a KML or GPX file — if you >em>really want to get down and dirty.

Give it a try next time you head out!

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Casey Schreiner

Founder and Editor at Modern Hiker
In addition to writing about the outdoors since 2006, Casey has also been producing and writing television since 2003.He was the Head Writer on G4's "Attack of the Show," co-writer and host of "The MMO Report," and the Series Producer / Head Writer of pivot's "TakePart Live."His work has received several honors, including Webby, Telly, and CableFAX awards.
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