Historic USGS Topographic Map Symbols
Symbolization for Historic USGS Maps at Scales of 1:62,500 (15-minute series) & 1:31,680 (7.5-minute quadrangles): Roads, Railroads, Bridges, Ferries, Cultural, Relief, Hydrology & Ground Cover Features
This photo gallery depicts old topographic map symbols that have been used on the early USGS topographic maps at the scales of 1:62,500 (First Generation) and 1:31,680 beginning in 1898. First Generation topographic sheets were printed in black, brown, and blue inks and used lines to fill areas such as rivers, lakes and coastal waters. In the early 1910s, the USGS topo maps began to appear overprinted with green inks depicting ground vegetative cover (brush, timber, and brush & timber). In the early 1920s, the USGS topographic sheets began to appear overprinted with red inks depicting simple road classification. Marginal notations, also in red, were added to show distance and direction along a road to the next town or city. The styles of the topographic symbols have changed dramatically since the first USGS topo maps were issued.
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