The folks at National Geographic just did a solid favor for all the adventurous outdoor photographers out there. They put every US Geological Survey (USGS) topographical map from across the United States on one easy-to-navigate site and made them easy to print out at home.
The National Geographic website solves both of these issues. First, the homepage greets you with a searchable, interactive map: all you have to do is search for or zoom in on the area you’re looking for. Then, once you find your quad, just click on it and a printable PDF loads right up.
It’s incredibly easy. I pulled this one up in a matter of seconds.
The printable PDF you get from Nat Geo is broken down into 5 pages. Page 1 (seen above) is the quad in context; Pages 2-5 are the USGS Quads with one quarter on each page so you can print the whole thing on your office printer instead of going to a print shop.
Finally, National Geographic added one more touch to their version: hill shading was added to each quarter so you can better visualize the topography.
This isn’t going to be useful for all photographers, but if you’re a landscape or nature photographer in the United States who likes to rough it, it makes finding and printing these incredibly detailed USGS maps a breeze.
Check out the website for yourself here.