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Map Collections at USU Libraries: Map Types

Looking for maps in USU Libraries collections? See all of your options in one place with this guide.

Types of Maps

USGS Topographic Maps 

The vast majority of maps in USU Libraries collections are USGS topographic maps. This map series predominated mapping in the 20th century. The original topographic mapping program dated from 1945-1992. Beginning in 2008, USGS introduced a new program to refresh the topographic map series for the entire country on a three year cycle. Historic and current topographic maps are available through a USGS website, TopoView. 

National Forest Maps 

National Forest maps include topographic maps of National Forest areas, recreational guides, visitor maps, and special area maps for recreational opportunities. These maps can be found in the USU Libraries catalog. Search by the name of the forest. 

Historic Maps

Historic maps vary based on their production and subject. They are stored in closed stacks and are accessible via the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room. See the SCA Maps inventory on the Finding Maps page of this LibGuide. 

Soil Survey Maps

Soil surveys produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) contain a wealth of information about locations throughout the United States. Current soil survey maps are accessible through NRCS's website, Web Soil Survey 2.0. Historic soil surveys are accessible online or in the Government Information collection. See the Government Information map inventory on the Finding Maps page of this LibGuide. 

Map Scales

Map scales demonstrate the relationship between distance on a map and the corresponding distance on the ground. The following scales are common in USU Libraries collections:

Scale Inches to Miles Common Series Name
1:24,000  1 in. = .379 mi. 7.5 Minute Quad
1:62,500  1 in. = .986 mi. 15 Minute Quad
1:100,000 1 in. = 1.578 mi 30 x 60 Minute Quad
1:250,000 1 in. = 4 mi. U.S. 1:250,000 Series
1:500,000 1 in. = 7.891 mi.  
1:1,000,000 1 in. = 15.783 mi.  

Map Background & Tools

Government Information Librarian

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Jen Kirk
Merril-Cazier Library, Lower Level, Room 012
(435) 797-8033

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