The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is 2 years into a 3-year cycle to create new digital topographic map products for the conterminous United States from data acquired and maintained as part of The National Map databases. These products are in the traditional, USGS topographic quadrangle, 7.5-minute (latitude and longitude) cell format. The 3-year cycle was conceived to follow the acquisition of National Aerial Imagery Program (NAIP) orthorectified imagery, a key layer in the new product. In fiscal year (FY) 2009 (ending September 30, 2009), the first year of the 3-year cycle, the USGS produced 13,200 products. These initial products of the “Digital MapBeta” series had limited feature content, including only the NAIP image, some roads, geographic names, and grid and collar information. The products were created in layered georegistered Portable Document Format (PDF) files, allowing users with freely available Adobe® Reader® software to view, print, and perform simple Geographic Information System-like functions. In FY 2010 (ending September 30, 2010), the USGS produced 20,380 products. These products of the “US Topo” series added hydrography (surface water features), contours, and some boundaries. In FY 2011 (ending September 30, 2011), the USGS will complete the initial coverage with US Topo products and will add additional feature content to the maps. The design, development, and production associated with the US Topo products provide management and technical challenges for the USGS and its public and private sector partners. One challenge is the acquisition and maintenance of nationally consistent base map data from multiple sources. Another is the use of these data to create a consistent, current series of cartographic products that can be used by the broad spectrum of traditional topographic map users. Although the USGS and its partners have overcome many of these challenges, many, such as establishing and funding a sustainable base data-maintenance program, remain to be resolved for the long term.
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Creation of next generation U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps